Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—Counseling in Westborough, MA
Have you ever made one mistake and thought, “aaahhh, I can’t do anything right!” Or has a friend cancelled on you at the last minutes and you told yourself, “I must not be very fun to hang out with.” It’s okay to admit it. We have all thought negative things at times in our lives. They a common enough that mental health professionals have given these untrue, negative thoughts a name: cognitive distortions. Even though they are common, these cognitive distortions do not help people. In fact, these thoughts can make an already difficult situation more challenging. The good news is that people have significant control over their own thought patterns. It is not as easy as flipping a switch to turn on the lights, but people can flip their negative thoughts into positive ones. Many people are learning how through participating in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience,
independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” —Stephen Covey
People have significant power to make choose, respond, and change, and CBT can show them how. Often, the process begins by confronting those cognitive distortions. When people change their thinking, they can often change their lives. CBT gives people instructions for doing just that. Through CBT, many people…
- Learn just how much they can control their own emotions, thoughts, and actions.
- Develop a mutual relationship with their therapist wherein they are the experts on their own feelings but the therapist is the expert on cognitive distortions and healthy thinking. Working together, clients often experience deep growth.
- Zeroed in on a particularly difficult circumstance. With their therapists, they often formulate a more positive understanding of it and more positive actions to take in response to it.
- Developed emotional and cognitive skills that serve them well long after CBT has finished.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is offered at Thriveworks Westborough, and our staff has helped many clients make meaningful changes in their lives through changing their negative and untrue thinking.
What Are Cognitive Distortions?
Cognitive distortions are those untrue and negative spins people can put upon reality, and they can wreak havoc in people’s lives. Thoughts, feelings, and actions are all interconnected. All too often, unhelpful thoughts about a situation lead to unhelpful actions within a situation. But people can stop cognitive distortions before they escalate if they know what to look for. The following lists common cognitive distortions. Do you recognize any?
- Overgeneralization uses one experience to make a universal principle that is applied in situations that may or may not be connected.
- Emotional reasoning equates one’s internal feelings with the external reality. Just because someone feels guilty, this feeling does not automatically mean they have done something wrong.
- Polarized thinking draws strict lines of black-and-white and either-or. There is no room for grey, shades, or in-betweens.
- Blaming sees the world according to fault. Every situation must have someone to blame.
- Catastrophizing sees the worst coming. Every setback or hurdle is a sign of impending doom.
- Control fallacy either people over-exert control, like when a codependent spouse tries to make her husband stop drinking, or people feel out-of-control, blaming luck, fate, or the universe for their own choices.
- Filtering disregards anything good, positive, or beneficial. These are strained out so that people only see the negative.
- Fallacy of fairness occurs when people compare and contrast their lives with others, using an arbitrary measure of fairness.
How Might Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help?
One example of how cognitive behavioral therapy works is the three-column technique. This is but one technique that therapists can use to achieve CBT’s overall goal: to adjust cognitive distortions so that people have more truthful, positive thinking patterns. In the three-column technique, clients draw three columns on a blank piece of paper.
- In the first column, clients record the circumstances of a particular situation they are dealing with. They may write that their child came home with a bad grade in school.
- In the second column, clients will record what they are thinking about this situation. In this example, a client may write that they think that they have failed their child, and they feel like a bad parent. In this column, clients will also write the cognitive distortion this thinking may have. In this case, it would be overgeneralization and the control fallacy.
- In the third column, clients will write a different response, one that more accurately reflects reality. This client may write that their child is overall a good student, and that one grade does not determine a person’s intelligence. They may also write that their child is a teenager and responsible for studying. They have done their best to teach their child good study habits, but it is the child’s responsibility to complete a particular assignment.
Thriveworks Westborough—Appointments for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Therapists use CBT as they form treatment plans for a number of mental health challenges, including,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anger management
- Mood swings
- Relationship issues
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- General health issues
- Self-destructive habits
- Child and adolescent issues
If you are ready to try cognitive behavioral therapy, Thriveworks Westborough has counselors who are ready to help. When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We do not maintain a waitlist, but we do offer weekend and evening sessions. We also accept most insurance plans. Call Thriveworks Westborough today.