Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Helping our patients deal with “negative” or unhelpful thoughts or feelings
When we have a “negative thought”, in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), we suggest a thought challenge and consider an alternative “positive thought”. We try to dispute the thought or change the thought, to change our feelings.
Anecdotally, I find this tends to resonate better for “heady or more emotionally detached” folks perhaps.
For some, especially “hearty or more emotionally fused” folks, this may not work as well.
So what are the alternatives?
1. Try to hold or “wrap up” the uncomfortable feeling with another feeling/value like kindness, courage, or compassion, and use that to guide our actions. Ideally, it’s a specific value that one has authentically. When one “activates” one’s values, it usually resonates at a more emotional level rather than just intellectually.
2. Try to create distance or space for the feeling, observe it mindfully and with curiosity, and process that feeling. What is it telling me? Is it reliable? Is it not? Is it helpful? Is it not?
3. Try to create distance or space for the feeling, observe it mindfully and with curiosity, and take value based actions despite the uncomfortable feeling.
I wonder if any of the above resonates for you or for your patients?