Overcome negative thoughts with the cognitive-behavioral approach

Negative thoughts are a part of many people’s lives, and although they are not strong enough to be a serious problem, they can be a source of professional help.

In this article we will see how it is possible to overcome negative thoughts through one of the most effective models of psychological intervention: cognitive-behavioral.

    What is the cognitive-behavioral model?

    The cognitive-behavioral approach is a paradigm in psychology which aims to intervene in both mental processes and behavior which can be easily objectified by observation, since it is assumed that both elements are fundamental parts of the experience. human.

    Thus, for example, when faced with psychological problems, professionals who rely on the cognitive-behavioral model understand that to facilitate change for the better, it is necessary to promote transformation. both in the way the person thinks and in the way they interact with the environmentSince the two processes, combined, reinforce each other and allow the person helped to make a qualitative leap in their lifestyle, adopt a more constructive state of mind and have better resources to solve their problems.

    What are negative thoughts?

    The concept of “negative thoughts” is not part of the technical jargon used by psychologists, although it is useful for expressing certain ideas in a simplified way that is easy for everyone to understand. It generally refers to ideas and beliefs that appear more or less repeatedly in the consciousness of the person experiencing themAnd that leads to taking an unconstructive, pessimistic attitude toward something that is seen as a problem.

    Here is one thing to point out: negative thoughts are not just because they are associated with painful or unpleasant emotions or feelings. While in practice it is true that they usually go hand in hand with discomfort, mainly anxiety or sadness, these experiences are not something that in themselves inevitably leads us to adopt an attitude that works against us.

    So in negative thoughts there are two things: emotional pain, on the one hand, and the propensity to cope with that discomfort through some type of behavior that not only does not help resolve what is happening to us. , but which also hinders our change for the better.

    The cognitive-behavioral approach applied to negative thoughts

    These are the key ideas that define how psychologists use the cognitive-behavioral model to help people with negative thoughts.

    1. Examine problematic beliefs

    Almost all human beings develop a belief system through which they interpret what is happening to them and what is happening in the world at large. Many of these beliefs are useful for having an informed view of what is going on around us, but others predispose us to repeat behaviors that harm us over and over again and yet we cannot stop reproducing ourselves.

    Therefore, psychologists are experts in the cognitive-behavioral approach we help people review their own beliefs, Many of which are so old and so important to us that we hadn’t even noticed their existence, hence the question of how fair and proper they are to us.

    2. Analyze the person’s context

    Objectivable behaviors (for example, always going to the same bar on weekends) and people’s ideas and beliefs (for example, what one thinks of what it is to have fun) are united, they correspond.

    This is why we, psychologists, work through the cognitive-behavioral approach we do not limit ourselves to always offering the same solutions as those who use a magic potion it works for everyone. Instead, we first study the particular case of the person and his habits and the environments to which he is exposed, to provide solutions adapted to this.

      3. Helps manage discomfort

      When it comes to negative thoughts, it is important not to harbor the idea that the person speaking to the psychologist should expect to completely get rid of this feeling that is causing them pain. Such expectations are not only frustrating; others, prevent progress, Because it makes failure what really is progress.

      The key is not to block out feelings or emotions, but to learn to tolerate a certain level of discomfort that is offset by the ability to manage the focus of attention, i.e. the process. by which we decide the focus. Our conscience.

      4. Learn to use the environment as a tool

      One of the basic principles of the cognitive-behavioral model is that changes for the better don’t just come from introspectionThat is, through reflection and in general the examination of ideas. We need to combine this aspect focused on mental content, on the one hand, with the adoption of habits in our interaction with the environment and with others. In this way, we will promote changes in our mind and consciousness using what surrounds us as a tool.

      A practical example: while we usually feel anxious right before we start studying for an exam, some people have a hard time hiding their cell phones in a drawer, keeping food out of the way, and having a sheet of paper with it. the schedule of studies in view.

      In other words, we are created environment in which we do not fall into behaviors that constantly cause negative thoughts to appear in us (“What am I going to miss on my social media?”) And it makes it easier to take action to direct our emotions towards a task that really makes us feel better.

      5. Use of relaxation techniques

      Relaxation techniques help us detach ourselves from that experience in which a worrying thought wanders our mind over and over again, not letting us focus on anything else. they are relatively simple exercises that we can use at key times to break the vicious cycle of negative thinking.

      Do you want to benefit from professional psychological support?

      If you want to benefit from psychological support based on the cognitive-behavioral model to learn how to manage negative thoughts, I invite you to contact me. I am a psychologist and consultant with many years of experience in the application of this type of psychological intervention, and I take care of people in individual sessions as well as in couple therapy and in company intervention. You can count on my services in my center located in Madrid, or through online video call sessions.

      To see my contact details, go to this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Foroushani PS, Schneider J, Assareh N (August 2011). Meta-review of the efficacy of computerized CBT in the treatment of depression. BMC Psychiatry. 11 (1): 131.
      • Hofmann, SG (2011). An introduction to modern CBT. Psychological solutions to mental health problems. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
      • Robertson, D. (2010). The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Stoicism as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy. London: Karnac.
      • Rodríguez Biglieri, R. and Vetere, G. (2011). Manual of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. Buenos Aires: Polemos.
      • Wampold, BE, Flückiger, C., Del Re, AC, Yulish, NE, Frost, ND, Pace, BT, et al. (2017). Searching for the Truth: A Critical Review of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Meta-analysis. Research in psychotherapy. 27 (1): pages 14 to 32.

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