“Stop Automatic Thoughts: Awareness is the first step in developing rational thinking”
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was created out of reaction to both psychodynamic thought and the field of Behavioural Psychology. Early researchers acknowledged the connection between thoughts and emotions. However, unlike their predecessors, early CBT adopters (Aaron T. Beck, M.D.) asserted that thoughts, when established as a set of patterns over time, had the power to affect mood. In fact, thoughts are often a significant contributor to clinical presentations of Major Depressive Disorder.
Understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
In today’s episode, the first in a series about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, we discuss cognitive distortions as the antecedents to poor mood outcomes. It is understood that everyone participates in cognitive distortions at one level or another. When we use a particular distortion, or a combination there of too often, the result is an increased sense of anxiety with decreased mood.
The distortions are as follows (and covered in detail within the episode):
- All-or-Nothing Thinking
- Mental Filter
- Disqualifying the Positive
- Jumping to Conclusions
- Emotional Reasoning
- Should Statements
- Labeling and Mislabeling
Next week, we will discuss how to battle cognitive distortions using the Triple Column Technique. You will learn the art of replacing distortions with rational thoughts. We will also discuss how to identify distortions that have become deeply automatic – The longer we use a particular distortion, the less aware we are that they are in use. Awareness is the key first step to battling our maladaptive thought patters.
Dr. David Burns and Feeling Good
No discussion about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be complete without reference to the work by Dr. David Burns. We strongly encourage every person entering adulthood to have a copy of this book. It is both a foundational document on Cognitive Behavioural Psychology, and easily considered on of life’s manuals.