So in addition to this photo being HILARIOUS—I think it’s a great visual of CBT. Hold on—I’ll explain.
Last post I discussed the importance of CBT, cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By exploring patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive actions and the beliefs that direct these thoughts, people with mental illness can modify their patterns of thinking to improve coping (NAMI).
CBT is a great tool for many mental illness, for me it’s been particularily helpful for managing my anxiety and “getting rid of the garbage” I discussed several posts ago. For those of us “lucky” enough to deal with mental illness, anxiety in particular, we often have many scary thoughts predicting the worst possible outcomes—regardless of the likelihood of the predictions coming true. When ignored or improperly dealt with, they can begin to take on a life of their own. Similar to the child in the photo, we can see this huge ball coming straight at our heads, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. It’s terrifying and dehabilitating….
BUT there’s hope! With CBT, we can transfer ourselves to the second photo. One great tool is the “Dysfunctional Thought Record” I’ve attached below. It can help you identify a situation/thought, examine it for realism, and compose alternative responses.
When I’m feeling particularily anxious, I will do one of these to help me regain a sense of reality. So I tend to do them at least three times a week. While you can do them alone—sometimes you might need an outside perspective to help provide the alternative responses. It’s great if you have someone you can trust to look at it, otherwise taking it with you to therapy is always a good option.
I have one final piece of advicethat is not covered on the DTR I attached, write down the alternative response you identify. Unfortunately, completing the DTR will rarely eliminate the anxious thoughts for good, instead they might intermittedly continue to bother you. Use the alterenative response you identify to combat the thoughts as they continue to pop into your head.
So like that baby now realizes, when that ball starts coming towards your head—remind yourself, that it can’t hit you. And if you can—laugh at the ridiculousness of the thought!
Anyone else use this tool? If so, what’s your experience with it?
Try it—and let me know if you have any questions or need an outside perspective—maybe we can muddle through the waters together.