CBT. Questioning your thoughts.
CBT. We often remember the situation we were in and how we felt - but forget our thoughts. Which are the most important part. Feelings are based on reason. Thoughts are learned opinions rather that facts. That means they can be examined, questioned and changed.
Let me paint you a picture,
You start to feel bad.
What you should do is to write down the situation (I failed a test - I relapsed from my ed/self harm) then your thoughts (I am a failure - I’m right back where I started) and how you feel and the strengh of it. (Self hate 8 - Guilt 10) Once you have written down your negative thoughts, ask yourself these questions to help you find the sensible answers.
1. Is there any evidence that supports this thought? Is this thought correct?
2. Am I confusing my thoughts with my feelings or facts?
3. Am I jumping to conclusions?
4. Are other explanations possible? Is this the only possible explanation?
5. Are these thoughts useful and helpful - or are they in my way?
6. What are the pros and cons of thinking this way?
7. Am I asking questions that have no answer?
8. Am I thinking in black and white?
9. Am I generalizing by using questionable terms like always, never, nobody, everybody, everything and nothing?
10. Am I judging myself from a one time event?
11. Am I focusing on my weaknesses because of how I feel and forgetting about my qualities?
12. Am I blaming myself from something that isn’t my fault or responsibilty?
13. Am I taking things too personally and trying to read minds?
14. Am I expecting perfection?
15. Do I only noticing the dark sides?
16. Am I overestimating the chances of disaster?
17. Am I putting too much meaning into this event?
18. Is there anything I can do to change my position?
19. Am I predicting the future without testing it out?
20. What are the sensible arguiments against my thoughts?
21. If I look at my thoughts objectivly, what arguiment seem the most sensible?
I will set an example so you get the general idea and can start to practice.
Situation - Relapsed from my self harm.
Thoughts - I’m right back where I started. Why do I always have to ruin everything. I should have tried harder to resist the urge. I’m a failure. Everything I do sucks.
Feelings - Regret 9 Guilt 8 Dissapointed 10
Are these thoughts helpful or are they in my way? Am I judging myself from a one time event? Am I generalizing by using questionable terms like always, never, nobody, everybody, everything and nothing? Am I exagerating because of the way I feel?
Sensible answers: These thoughts are not helpful or inspiring. I will only feel worse if I think like this. That does not mean I’m stupid for thinking like this - I’m only acknowledging my thoughts so I can move past them. I am not right back where I started - I have come a long way. I am generalizing by using the terms always and everything. It’s not fair of me to label myself from this one event. It’s not true that I am a failure. I have done many things well. Relapse is very common and very normal - it does not mean I will start to use this behavior as often as I did, that is jumping to conclusions and predicting the future. I sometimes do things I regret just like everybody else. That is okay. I am human. I am limited. Why shouldn’t I be able to get back on track like I have done in the past?
Feelings - Hope 9 Balance 7 Regret 6
Insight into CBT. I’m a newly graduated therapist and I mostly work with teenagers for depression and anxiety. I give advice and direction over the internet. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck,