Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) looks at the interaction between thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
If we have ways of experiencing the world that lead us into problems with colleagues, relationship difficulties, or traps us with negative thoughts about ourselves, it may be worth trying to explore what’s going on.
For example, imagine arriving at work and someone doesn’t return your friendly, ‘Morning’, and walks straight past you. Your reaction might be to think, ‘What have I done wrong?’ or ‘Why doesn’t he like me?’ or even, ‘What’s his problem? I’ll never speak to him again!’ responses that might be categorised as anxious or angry. Or, your response might be more along the lines of ‘He’s got a lot on his mind. I’ll give him a call later and ask him what it’s about’.
The first set of responses are clearly damaging in terms of social confidence, or relationships. However, notice that these three very different responses are all to the same experience. The explanation may lie in how we experience the world, and in particular the motivations and attitudes of other people. CBT aims to understand these patterns, link them to thoughts we might have about ourselves, our self-esteem etc, and find new and better ways forward. It is highly collaborative, you working with your therapist to see where the best gains can be made for you.
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