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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Recently, I underwent a refresher course on Youth Mental Health First Aid, as I am a certified instructor with MHFA England.  During the morning, something caught my attention that I thought was worth sharing.  

'It is not things in themselves which trouble us, but the opinions we have about these things.' Epictetus 55-135 AD.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) involves learning to overcome unhelpful, distorted thinking patterns and underlying beliefs that can lead to poor mental health.  It challenges these thought process and tries to replace them with healthier and more beneficial thoughts.

What struck me was a list entitled: Ten common types of thinking distortions that make coping more difficult.  Certainly, the list includes things that many of us have from time to time.

(From Tanner and Ball, 1989, Beating the Blues)

1) Black and white thinking - all or nothing
2) Setting unrealistic expectations - living by fixed rules
3) Selective thinking - looking on the dark side
4) Converting positives into negatives - being a cynic
5) Overgeneralising - here we go again!
6) Magnifying or exaggerating unpleasantness - making mountains out of molehills
7) Catastrophising - whatever goes wrong will go wrong in a big way
8) Personalising - it's all my fault
9) Mistaking feelings for facts - I feel therefore I am
10) Jumping to negative conclusions

This list just goes to show how the ABC model of behaviour can be interrupted and distorted by unhelpful thought processes.

A - Adversity or activity
B - Beliefs
C - Consequences

If we have these distortions it is no wonder we can struggle to cope!  This is especially so for young people, who don't have the life experience to be able to counter some of these thought processes.

There are lessons on there for all of us, myself included, and I'm going to take some time looking at which of these I possess.  I'll let you know how I get on!

Mr Shroff



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