CBT Tools – TEAM Cognitive Behavior Therapy
If you are a Counselor or mental health Clinician and want to learn more about how TEAM CBT can help you be a more effective clinician, then you have come to the right place.
“If you are in a position where good outcomes are expected from you and clients resist treatment as much as they want it then this is the training for you. It will radically change your outlook, teach you to master effective communication and those extremely hard moments of therapeutic risk. It will also teach you how to be sure you are working on what the client wants to address not you. So you can stop working so hard to convince your client of the right path or intervention.”
We offer a 3 month training and consultation group that meets every other Friday from 2-4pm at Lions Heart offices near Sacramento State University. The cost is $180 for the three months.
CBT tools are a very useful part of counseling, For instance, when we have a Sad Thought, or Experience, it often leads to a Sad Feeling. Since most of our thoughts arise from nothingness this happens to us all the time. In fact we have little direct control over these thoughts and feelings, or so it appears. Often times, we will then cope, or try to feel better, by Escaping our Distress through Anger, Control, Cravings, or Numbing Out. This coping strategy benefits us by providing Temporary Relief but also leads to unwanted Consequences. We then imagine that this distressing experience will continue or get worse. We call this Catastrophizing.
An example can help make this seem a little more straight forward. Imagine a woman, lets call her Janet. Janet has low self esteem and is hoping to meet someone while she is out at a bar with girl friends. Janet is a bit overweight, 15 pounds or so. Janet, unfortunately thinks of her self as fat and struggles with binge eating and drinking to cope with distressing thoughts.
While sitting at the bar Janet sees a man she is attracted to, lets call him Tim. Tim makes eye contact with Janet and she feels a connection. Then all of a sudden, Janet’s phone comes to life, she just received a text from her friend Bob, who she sees from time to time. Bob is lonely and wants to get together with Janet tonight, but she is busy and a little bit buzzed from a couple of glasses of wine. She wants to ignore the text, but instead responds by saying she is busy. Bob knows this tone and says she is out trolling for men again and makes a rude comment about her weight.
Now, Janet has just experienced a sad and frustrating event – Bob’s comment about her trolling for men and being overweight.This leads to the sad feeling of being lonely and unwanted. Janet has a choice according to the model above. She can either explore this distressing thought and feeling or she can escape by numbing out with another drink and ordering some of those tasty appetizers she saw on the menu – comfort food. The more Janet chooses to cope with this habit the more ingrained it becomes into her response to distressing thoughts and experiences.
But there is another Choice. We can use CBT tools to choose to Explore the distressing thoughts and feelings. We do this by slowing down the process of pushing away painful thoughts and emotions, through inquiry and openness. This is really challenging and the last thing we want to do. Paradoxically, it is often the only thing that will help.
CBT Tools – Cognitive Distortions
Through this process we can become aware of our thought and start to Identify Patterns. These are commonly called Cognitive Distortions in CBT. These patterns are helpful in that they quickly allow us to assess risk and reward to determine how to handle a situation. The problem is many of these patterns have distorted thoughts that were formed when we were younger or in powerless and traumatizing situations. These patterns are ingrained and highly resistant to change at times. The next step in the process is to Confront these patterns.
There are many CBT tools and techniques to confront these patterns. One common technique is to question the evidence for the thought, feeling or belief. We might ask the belief:
what evidence is there that this is true?
Is this always true?
Has there ever been a time where this wasn’t the case?
How is holding this belief helping me?
We can imagine putting the thought on the witness stand and questioning it’s credibility. This process is much more powerful when questioned by another person, or a trained therapist. It also helps to write down these thoughts to make them concrete and step out of the repetitive loop. As we deepen our questioning the thought may start to fade away of it’s own weight and convoluted nature. When this happens we start to develop mastery over these thoughts and related emotions. We sense the possibility of creating space to understand what these beliefs and emotions are here to teach us and then to respond appropriately.
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Information provided on this site does not constitute a patient therapist relationship, and should be used under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. Information presented on this page was written by James Meyer, LCSW Lead Counselor and founder of Lions Heart Counseling Sacramento.