From time to time, we are weighed down with something that is heavy: a worry, a relationship, or a nagging issue that keeps us tied to it over and over again.
Would you like to know one way I teach clients to get rid of these burdens?
I use cognitive therapy. Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Here’s why it becomes the best friend of so many effective therapists:
- It’s effective
- The results are long term
- It’s simple (but not easy)
- It’s applicable in some way with nearly every issue
When you can learn to identify your thoughts about your life, your future, and the events around you, you unlock a lot of the mystery that surrounds your feelings: happiness, anxiety, depression, confidence, etc.
In other words, life can be seen as a series of events that are neither good nor bad; it is instead what we tell ourselves about these events that gives them meaning and “makes” us happy, sad, jealous, etc.
Here are some examples:
- The A’s and the Red Sox play a baseball game. The A’s win. Are you happy or sad?
- You got a B- on your math test. Are you pleased or disappointed?
- The phone rings. It’s your mother. Are you glad?
These are all just events…but depending on which team you are rooting for, what you expect from yourself on a math test, and your relationship with your mom at any given time-these will determine your mood-NOT the event itself.
To further illustrate this point: your mother could call me and I would have totally different feelings about the phone call than you would. Therefore, it’s not your mother; it’s YOU and your thoughts about her!
This is a pretty simple view of cognitive therapy, but we get into the really interesting stuff when examining some of the automatic thoughts a client has about some of their problems. We discover outdated beliefs about who they are and the people around them. These beliefs are often limiting their potential in some way. We realize how powerful every single thought can be, and how much control we really have.