Thursday, October 8, 2020

Helping our patients to switch from “should and must” thinking to “it would be nice” thinking

One of the common strategies in counseling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is to switch the “should and must” thinker into the “it would be nice” thinker, and back again depending on context. Of course, “should and must thinking” is great for giving us the focus and motivation to act, and at the same time, can be a great source of pain and suffering if we don’t ever succeed, due to our unrealistic expectations. 

Examples are:

Life should be fair versus it would be nice if life is fair.

People should always be nice versus it would be nice if people are nice.

People should have common sense versus it would be nice if people have common sense.

People should always do the right thing versus it would be nice if people do the right thing. 

“It would be nice” helps us to accept what is IS, but still thrive for it. We understand that life is not fair, but we can still try and thrive for it. 

Doesn’t work all the time, but it would be nice if we, and our patients can give it a try.

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