Cognitive Therapy Techniques
These simple cognitive therapy techniques can be used by anyone for tackling the problem of unwanted unpleasant emotions.
Remember, stress is more often a result of HOW you see a situation rather what is actually happening.
So you have done the test to see what emotional traps you could fall into as a result of distorted thinking.
And you have worked out where your negative thoughts come from, plus you know how to protect yourself from damaging, distorted thinking.
You are well on your way to using DIY cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with anxiety, depression and emotional stress. By the way, these skills are excellent for helping children to become aware of their emotions.
BUT, negative thinking does creep in and unpleasant emotions can overtake you! Then what?
Cognitive therapy techniques suggest tackling the problem of negative thinking in seven easy steps.
Dr. Mark Sisti, of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in NYC, explains that cognitive therapy is "quick and easy, and once people understand the basic concepts, almost anyone can practice it." It may seem too simple but give it a try for any problem and see what happens!
Seven Steps to Feeling Better
Step 1: Write everything down
The mere action of writing detaches you from the emotion and the negative thought. Jotting things down provides perspective - enables you to see the bigger picture. You can detect distorted thinking more easily. If you are in a situation where you cannot make a quick scribble, say it out aloud.
Step 2: Identify the upsetting event
What is really bothering you? Is it the fact that your car wouldn't start? Or is it that you got grease on your shirt whilst looking under the hood? Or is it that you knew your car needed a service and you haven't got around to doing it? Or is it that the delay made you late for your child's soccer game?
Step 3: Identify your negative emotions
You might be feeling annoyed by the car, frustrated about the soiled shirt, angry at yourself for not seeing to the car service or guilty about being late for the soccer game. Name each separate each emotion. A really useful cognitive therapy technique!
Step 4: Identify the negative thoughts that accompany your negative emotions
About failing to service the car - "I always procrastinate. I never see to things in time." About dirtying your shirt - "I'm a slob. I always look a mess and never look okay." About being late for the soccer game - "My child will be upset. She will think I don't care and the other adults will think I am a bad parent."
Step 5: Identify distortions and substitue rational responses
About the car - "I don't ALWAYS procrastinate. I have a lot of things to see to and manage to juggle my job and family and still accomplish just about everything that has to be done." About the dirty shirt - "I'm really not a slob. I am usually careful about my appearance and am well-groomed, which is why things like this upset me." About the lateness for the game - "I know
my daughter loves me. She knows that if I am late, it is beyond my control. If she is upset then her friends' parents are there to comfort her. I have done the same for their kids and not thought of them as bad parents. No one will think the worst about me."
Step 6: Reconsider your upset
Are you still heading for a panic attack? Are you full of anxiety? Probably not. Yes, you are still annoyed about the car, but you are not overcome with distorted ideas about it and negative emotions. You manage to keep a grip on reality.
Step 7: Plan corrective action
"As soon as the game is over I am going to organise my day tomorrow to include a check-up on the car. If I don't have a car for the day then I will make sure my kid has a lift home from school." This cognitive therapy technique is essential for managing stress. Sort it out!
Use cognitive therapy techniques to help them sort out over-reactions and troubled emotions instead of adding to the hype and increasing the stress and anxiety.
Read this interesting research on the benefits of being happy.
I cannot stress enough the value of cognitive therapy techniques as a recipe for maintaining a healthy emotional balance. Put your mind to it and 'think yourself better.' You will feel better.
These techniques have been proved to be most effective in managing depression and anxiety! And they are cheap and have no side-effects!
We do live in a changing world that is sometimes difficult to deal with, BUT most depressing, stressful and anxiety-producing events are not inherently awful.
It is the way we react to them that makes them feel awful.
Cognitive therapy techniques force you to step back. get some perspective and see the bigger picture.
Use cognitive therapy as a DIY step-by-step stress relief programme when negative thoughts threaten to get out of control!
By Abraham Low is the book that is used at Recovery Inc. meetings. This book has many examples of different people with different scenarios and, through reading the examples, the reader can learn to spot their own bad thinking and replace promptly with a more healthy truth. The book includes a specific lingo that is also taught at their meetings, this is meant to help those learning CBT to learn firsthand by means of repetition. I found the content helpful.
By David D. Burns, M.D.. is the pioneering work on popular cognitive therapy. During a crisis period in his life, Dr. Burns tried a simple technique learned from his colleague, Aaron Beck. It involved writing down negative thoughts and exaiming them for "truth". He observed that this technique could benefit not just those with major psychiatric disorders but anyone dealing with an emotional challenge. He went on to write this book. I found this book to be so informative and interesting as a "text book" on cognitive therapy.
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