Think about a positive change you would like to make in your life. What is it? Maybe it is personal—improving a friendship that has fallen apart or creating more time for your hobbies. Maybe it is psychological—reaching out for help with anxiety or depression. Maybe it is professional—landing that dream job or a big promotion. We all have things we would like to change in our lives, and we all have obstacles holding us back in some way. For most of us, the biggest obstacle is not outside of us, but it is ourselves—our own thoughts and perspective. Have you ever looked at a challenge and thought, “this is not going to end well.” Or what about, “Why does this always happen in my life? No fair!” We have all done it—engaged untrue, negative thoughts. While it might seem harsh to say that we are holding ourselves back, it is good news because people cannot always change their circumstances, but they can change their own thoughts and perspectives. Often, the biggest life changes start with internal changes. Changing negative thoughts to positive ones is not as simple as changing the channel on a television, and many people are reaching out for help. They are getting that help from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can
change his future by merely changing his attitude.” —Oprah Winfrey
In research studies, cognitive behavioral therapy brought substantial and sustainable change into client’s lives by first addressing their thoughts. CBT proved an effective treatment for many physical, relational, mental, social, and psychological challenges, and in fact, it brought measurable relief to anxiety and depression clients. One of the biggest reasons for its success is that CBT equips clients with emotional and cognitive skills that they use long after therapy ends.
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Maumelle offer cognitive behavioral therapy, and we have seen first-hand the power that a changed attitude can bring.
CBT: What Is It?
As a therapeutic method, cognitive behavioral therapy is intensely practical. In any given session, clients and therapists will work through a real situation the client is facing. Examples of such issues may include…
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mood swings
- Self-destructive habits
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- General health issues
- Child and adolescent issues
- Anger management
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Relationship issues
CBT does not focus upon these issues directly. Instead it focuses upon how a client is responding to them. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Is their perspective true and positive? For example, Evan struggles with insomnia. He comes to his appointment for CBT and tells his therapist that he did not sleep the previous night. As they process the lack of sleep, Evan says, “I do not think I will ever have a normal sleep pattern again.” They talk about this perspective. Evan’s therapist explains that just because someone feels a certain way about a situation, that does not mean their feelings accurately reflect reality. Together, they think about what has actually been happening with Evan’s insomnia. Over the past few months, Evan has actually been improving significantly. He has been working hard at prioritizing his sleep routine. While Evan has had some tough nights, overall, he is improving. Evan is able to see a more positive perspective on his situation and leaves therapy feeling less anxious about his insomnia.
Cognitive Distortions: Untrue, Negative Thoughts
Interpreting a situation inaccurately can lead to uncomfortable emotions and unhelpful actions. Interrupting these cognitive distortions before they escalate into actions means being able to recognize them. A few examples of cognitive distortions follow:
- Polarized or “black and white” thinking—putting every life situation into an either-or category. There is no room for shades or grey or in-betweens.
- Blaming—finding fault anywhere and everywhere. Often, blame is misplaced, and often, it is unhelpful to the current circumstances.
- Catastrophizing—expecting devastation, calamity, and failure. Any normal setback or obstacles becomes a sign of the catastrophe to come.
- Control fallacies—taking too much control over a situation (feeling guilty for one’s spouse’s addiction) or abdicating legitimate control within a situation (blaming luck, fate, or a higher power for one’s own choices).
- Filtering—negating anything positive so that one only sees the negative within the world.
- Overgeneralization—taking a lesson from one experience and applying it universally, even to other situations that are not logically connected.
- Emotional reasoning—equating one’s internal emotional reality with an external situation. Many competent people feel incompetent from time to time.
- Personalization—taking other people’s actions as a direct reflection of oneself. For example, if a friend cannot meet for coffee, then that means I am a boring person (when in reality, that friend may just be busy with work).
Appointments for CBT Counseling at Thriveworks Maumelle
Think back to the positive change you thought of a few moments ago. What would it look like to have help changing your thought patterns so that goal could become a reality? If you are ready to meet with a therapist, know that Thriveworks Maumelle offers cognitive behavioral therapy, and we have appointments available.
When you contact our office, a real person will answer your call (no voicemail, no automated response). New clients often have their appointment the following day. Weekend and evening appointments are offered, and most insurance plans are accepted.
Let’s work together for a positive change. Call Thriveworks Maumelle today.