Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think, to feel and act better, even if the situation does not change. It is a form of therapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. CBT aims to help the client to become aware of thought distortions which are causing psychological distress, and of behavioral patterns which are reinforcing it, and to correct them. The therapist will make every effort to understand experiences from the client’s point of view, and the client and therapist will work collaboratively, exploring the client’s thoughts, assumptions and inferences. The therapist helps the client learn to test these by checking them against reality and against other assumptions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their clients want out of life (their goals) and then help their clients achieve those goals. The therapist’s role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client’s role is to express concerns, learn, and implement that learning.

The goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of reacting. When people understand how and why they are doing well, they know what to do to continue doing well.

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Standing in Your Own Power: How to Handle Stress with Dignity and Grace

Stress isn’t always the bad guy that it’s made out to be. The hormones created by stress can actually strengthen neural connections in our brain, and can help us be more productive and focused. Furthermore, stress motivates us to succeed and makes us more resilient.  But when stress strikes, most of us don’t think about its positive side-effects. Instead, we think……this really sucks. Something that differentiates the mediocre from the extraordinary is strength and resilience, and the way we manage stress is a great indication of those two qualities. When I come upon a stressful situation, my goal is to be as intentional as possible with my thoughts, and the way I perceive and process the circumstances. I ask myself these three questions to help me stand in my own power and handle stress with dignity…and sometimes even with a little grace.

1. What can I control here? And the answer is never people or circumstances. You are only in control of your own actions and your own response to a circumstance. Others are responsible for their actions and responses.

2. What can you do to smooth out the situation? When you react to a stressful situation in a way that positively influences others, you have the power to turn chaos into a learning experience, for you and others. Act authentically and consider the personalities involved. How can you guide things to a place where the situation can be diffused or resolved? And if you can’t, don’t stress about it. Refer to question #1 about control.

3. Where can I find acceptance? Sometimes there’s simply nothing we can do to influence a stressful situation. That’s where grace comes into play. Being able to recognize when efforts are futile and take a step back from the situation altogether is a true sign of strength and resilience. It’s not easy, but once you hone your ability to accept situations that you can’t change, you’ll find the most amazing sense of serenity…even in a world of chaos.

There are self-care techniques that can help us be mindful and intentional during stressful situations. Some are fitness, meditation, getting plenty of rest, and eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet, and being authentic and true to ourselves. Those who manage stress are not only more effective leaders, but they are also happier, healthier, and more productive. Start adding self-care practices into your daily routine, and try to be more mindful the next time you’re in a high-stress situation by asking yourself the questions above. You’ll be surprised at the contrast between how you respond instinctively versus how you respond after a moment of thought!

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