Sunday, June 6, 2021

Helping our patients break the cycle of unhelpful beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

In Cognitive Behavior Therapy CBT, beliefs/thoughts impact feelings, feelings impact behaviors, behaviors reinforces beliefs/thoughts, and so it continues.

To break this cycle, in counseling, we try to intercept it at the following levels.

1. Challenge the existing beliefs and thoughts with new compelling evidence and a “reality check”.

2. Hold or “wrap up” the existing feeling with a new and more compelling feeling that are value based, such as kindness, duty, fairness, integrity, or compassion. Alternatively, create space for the existing feeling or the complex “emotional soup”.

3. Change our behaviours. It can be something as simple as exercise, gardening, doing something novel, a change in posture or tone of voice. In ACT, we try to facilitate value based actions, and do what is meaningful to us.

4. A combination of the above.

The question is, what’s your favorite “go to tool”, to break the common perpetuating cycle of unhelpful beliefs/thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for your patients?

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