Saturday, May 21, 2005

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy summarized

The first step is to diagnose my moods. This is important in monitoring improvement. Periodic testing will reveal a change in the scores that will act as a positive reinforcement when improving, and will alert that a correction is required when declining.

Then I feel that it is important to understand the principles of Cognitive Therapy.

A. ALL moods are created by cognitions or thoughts.
B. When I am feeling depressed, my thoughts are distorted, and my thinking process is dysfunctional.
C. Finally, it is the negative thoughts that cause my emotional turmoil and these are ALWAYS containers of gross distortions.

D. The implication is that my depression is probably not based on accurate perceptions of reality but is often the product of mental slippage. The degree to which these principles are accepted will determine the efficacy of a CBT program. Interestingly. So it is not the sense of 'I' that is dysfunctional, but rather the thinking and cognitions. The feelings of depression arise on their own from mis-thinking and mis-cognitions. By accepting these principles, the 'I' is clearly distinguished from the depression thoughts and cognitions.

Having taken the leap of faith required by Cognitive Therapy, the procedure is clearly articulated.

The first step: to identify the cognitive distortion at work.

It might be an overgeneralization, an unrealistic standard, a case of disqualifying the positive or another of the ten cognitive disorders provided by Dr Burns.

The second step: to compose a rational response, an objective rebuttal.

The third step: Design a coping strategy to address the difficulty, providing a path to a sense of reward which redirects attention.

These CBT techniques parallel many spiritual disciplines. In essence a choice is made as to where to apply faith: do I believe the circumstance, or my spiritual commitment?

These techniques help to exercise choice and strengthen spiritual life.


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