Cognitive-behavioral (CBT thought record) psychotherapy is a popular and effective form of psychotherapy. The basic theory on which it is based is that the way we think (cognitive abilities) affects what we do (our behavior) and the way we feel (our emotions). This means that if we want to change the way we feel, then we need to make changes in the way we think and act.
The role of thoughts – the common logic
Our minds are always ready to notice causes and effects. There are examples all around us. If we let go of an object in our hands, it will fall to the floor. If we press the switch it will turn on the light. Just like that, If we throw water on something then it will get wet. If you look at the very young children who explore the world, you will see them learning from the effects of their actions. As time goes on, and we grow more aged. The cause-and-effect rule has become perfectly understandable and is part of “common sense.”
However, there is a problem with this: a simple linear cause-and-effect relationship does not work very well for our emotions. “Common sense,” tells us that a particular situation leads us to feel certain emotions necessarily. For example, you walk down the street, and a friend passes you by without greeting you, which ‘should’ be a cause for concern. Yet not all of us are bothered by it so much. Some could trust the friend to have a good reason, others are aware of their desire to greet him or her and make an assertive decision and greets the friend himself next time.
This example may seem superficial, but it shows that ‘common sense’ can’t sufficiently show us how the world works. If events always lead to immediate emotions, then we should all be affected in the same way by a situation. We would like the same movies. Of course, this is not what we see. Some like football others don’t, some like philosophy others don’t, some enjoy their mind, others don’t. And if you ask a group of people to sing in front of an audience, some will be excited, and others will be terrified.
The importance of interpretation of CBT Thought Record
The model of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT thought record) argues that it is not the events that bother us. On the opposite, it is the way we interpret and perceive events. The importance we give them that evokes our emotions. This explains why, while two people experience the same situation, they react in entirely different ways. Let’s look at the following with the example of the non-greeting friend again:
The first interpretation (“I did something wrong”) personifies the facts, and the result is feelings of anxiety. The second interpretation (“He didn’t see me”) interprets the friend’s behavior more neutral, leading to a different feeling.
Let us consider another example of how the interpretation of events determines what we feel about them, such as a promotion at work. One explanation may be, “Finally, my talent has been recognized”. And another “I will not be able to cope.” It will seem that I am irrelevant. ” The first interpretation is exciting; offering a promotion is considered a welcome opportunity. The second interpretation is contrary. The person to whom the advertisement was provided makes catastrophic scenarios in his mind about what will happen, and the result is that he feels anxious.
This idea of в. В. Interpreting events is not new. About 2,000 years ago, the Acquired said:
“People are upset not by what happens to them, but by their opinion of what is happening.”
Shakespeare said something similar:
“There is nothing immeasurable or bad about it.”
This explains why some people feel satisfied when you allow them to make a presentation in front of an audience (“My abilities will be recognized”). In contrast, others think horror only at the idea (“I will be ridiculed, and everyone will laugh with me”). He may explain why some people feel intense stress (because they have a habit of interpreting situations threateningly) or feel sad (because they have a habit of seeing events negatively).
The good thing is that although we cannot always change the facts (or the people around us), we can change the way we interpret what happens. The perception of a situation and the point of view we choose determines how we feel:
ʺEverything can be removed from one person but not the last from human freedoms. To choose your attitude in the conditions presented each time, to choose your way.ʺ
The CBT thought record trending view on how we think
Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy argues that many problems are the result of misinterpreting events. But why do we do this? To answer this question, we need to reminisce about our thinking. An essential piece of information is that the thoughts in our minds are not all slow, careful, deliberate, or accurate; our brain is lazy! (Not from Forward Thinkers of course.) When dealing with a problem, we can choose to respond carefully to all possible solutions. And then consider the pros and cons of a situation. Or perhaps we need to react quickly and automatically to deal with it. The key elements you need to know are:
- We all have automated thoughts in our minds
- These automated thoughts are based on assumptions and ‘standard’ interpretations
- Automated thoughts are typically plausible, but they can also be inaccurate
How is our thinking affected?
Psychiatrists and psychotherapists have identified striking or common ways in which our thinking. These are general patterns a specific person can have, affecting how you feel. Some examples are:
- All or nothing (or black-and-white or polarized way of thinking): this way of thinking is extreme. Something will be 100% good or 100% wrong.
- Catastrophizing (or predicting the future): thinking of the worst-case scenario.
- Psychic filter: you only pay attention to specific events, “this can’t happen.”
- Discard (or cancel) anything positive: you overlook the positive information or turn it into negative.
- Reading the thought: you jump to conclusions, you are sure of what others are thinking. Or you tend to predict the future negatively.
- Low tolerance for frustration: you often say, “No, this is very difficult ʺ, “This is unbearable,” “I can’t do it.”
- Shrinkage: You don’t care what happens.
- Emotional logic: you assume that because you feel some emotions, your instinct will come true.
- Labeling: yourself or others (ʺI’m a nothingʺ “My ideas don’t matter”).
- Personalization: you take everything personally: You take on many or few responsibilities.
The idea that our descriptions affect our emotions has important implications. It means that there is always another way to see any situation, even if it is not immediately apparent. If there is still another way to see things, it means that you have the choice of how to interpret the facts. And if you choose to understand a situation, then there is another way to react emotionally to the job.
There is always another way to see a situation
We have all heard the story of optimism and pessimism. When we are pessimistic, we see the glass half empty while when we are optimistic, and it is half full. This story shows the prejudices with which people create their interpretations of situations in different ways.
There are always diverse ways to look at a situation, and that has a real impact on how we feel. Consider the following examples:
Ioanna won a 100m road race. She felt well until she realized that her time was 10 seconds slower than the world record.
Dimitris accidentally dropped his fork while eating his meal at a restaurant. He thought everyone was looking at him, and he felt stupid. No one noticed.
Katerina failed the exams. She thought, “Okay, this is a chance to do better next time.”
Develop flexibility in thinking
Overcoming your prejudices and starting to see things differently may not happen overnight. Still, it is the beginning of some wisdom. A good way to start practicing your skills is to try to see a situation from a different perspective. The more flexible you are spiritual, the easier it is to deal with the difficulties of life. Some forms of psychotherapy have an explicit goal of enhancing mental flexibility.
To improve your skills, you can ask yourself the following questions when faced with a topic that concerns you:
- “What would a friend tell me about that?”
- “Will I remember this problem ten years from now?”
- “How can I see this situation differently?”
- “How would I react if I wasn’t scared?”
To improve these skills, try to do something like an experiment, recording what is bothering you. And giving answers to them. See your answers. Don’t worry if they are “rescuers,” see it as an experiment, and just notice what happens when you face difficulties and approach them from different angles.
Steps in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT thought record)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy includes the following steps:
- Recognition of problematic situations and conditions in your life: these may include conditions such as medical problems, divorce, mourning, or symptoms of a mental disorder. You and your psychotherapist will take the time to decide what your questions are and the goals you want to focus on.
- Awareness/recording of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about these problems. After first identifying the issues that concern you, the psychotherapist will ask you to express your opinions on them. This may include what you tell yourself about an experience, your interpretations of these situations, your beliefs about yourself, other people, and facts. Your therapist may recommend that you have a diary.
- Recognition of negative thoughts and beliefs. To help you identify patterns of thought and behavior that may be contributing to your problem, your therapist may ask you to observe your physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions in different situations.
- Reconstruct negative thoughts and beliefs. Your therapist will encourage you to ask yourself if your attitude is based on facts or misconceptions about what is happening. This step can be difficult, as you may have some roots in yourself and your life. With practice, positive thinking and new behaviors will become a habit and will not require so much effort.
CBT philosophical roots
The cultural and historical roots from CBT lie in classical Greek philosophy. The stoics are known to underline the possible differentiation between the factual world ‘outside’ and the inner ‘response’ to it. The expression ‘Water under the bridge’ arises from that philosophy as well. All events can happen and be noticed without fully being affected by them. The advice goes to notice all events and feelings as if you are standing on a bridge and they are the water flushing underneath. Only when it is a happy feeling – some stoa advice – jump in!
How to cultivate wisdom with CBT thought record
In the development of wisdom, the principle of CBT is only the beginning. A healthy practice of a CBT therapist is a major accomplishment of humanity. A place where we learned to help each other to overcome problems like depression and anxiety. The development of something like wisdom for a person with a healthy state of mind begins with understanding and recognizing those principles. And that is quite a step too – compared to the averagely cultivated mind. But there is more.
I order to grow your mind further there are so many other things that can be done. Cultivate practical wisdom, gain self-awareness, build critical thinking skills, master the connective powers of criticism, learn to conceptualize ideas and intuition, gain a sense of personal freedom, understand the deeper workings of the brain, work on your vision. And still, there is work to do.
Within the Black Sheep Community we build thought leadership. From being a Forward Thinker having Black Sheep Experiences we grow into thought leaders together. Why? Not because of ego. But because the world needs thinkers too! We aim to change the world one thought at the time. Does that speak to you? Welcome! (It is free)