I have manic depression. As a result I was introduced to cognitive behavioral therapy by my psychologist. If you have mood disorders such as depression, anxiety or something major going on in your life such as a divorce you may be interested in cognitive behavioral therapy.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is psychotherapy based on using your thinking to affect the way you feel and act as opposed as using your feelings.
What are some common thinking errors where CBT may be useful?
One of the most prominent thinking errors is “all or nothing thinking.” The person does not consider any other level than the best or the worst. Also there is the act of “over-generalizing.” If something went wrong the last time you tried it, you will fail at it again.
I often anticipate catastrophe. “If something can go wrong it will.” Many of us mistake our feelings for facts and we also put ourselves down. We also use a lot of “should” and “ought-to” thinking.
Cognitive behavioral therapy asks you to change your thinking in several ways. However you should know it is much easier said than done.
For example, don’t overact when things happen. It helps at times to consider the worst thing that could happen. When you speak to yourself and to others use hopeful statements. It is true that you will get what you give. It is important to be a positive supporter of you. Forgive yourself when you err and encourage yourself.
Over my life as I have travelled these 61 years I have witnessed in my life and others the reality of the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If you think you will fail and you dwell on it you will sometimes cause it. It is a little scary but there is a fear of success just like there is a fear of failure.
When we consider cognitive behavioral therapy we must consider irrational beliefs versus rational beliefs.
Irrational thinking says you “must have approval.” Rational thinking says you appreciate being loved but you don’t have “constant approval.” Irrational thinking says everything must be done well. Reality says you learn from your errors.
When our youngest son was a little over three-years-old he loved to color. However as soon as he went outside of a line he threw a fit. He ultimately learned to accept the fact he was human.
When we don’t think straight we think our past is who we are when in fact our present has an impact on us.
Our mental health is every bit as important as physical problems and in fact can ruin your life even quicker. However cognitive behavioral therapy can make a difference.
It is important to know how to control your thoughts to get the maximum positive reaction to those curves that life can throw you and perhaps even more importantly be able to tell the difference between real and imaginary problems.
“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,” Booklet, Mayo Clinic, 2003
Insider Medicine Website, Video, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Anxiety in Older Adults”