Cognitive Behaviour Therapy taught me a lot. I’ve had two courses of CBT which, among other things, taught me the value of challenging “automatic negative thoughts” – the worst-case interpretations of situations that bedevilled me in depressive bouts.
The example I’ve heard many times is this: you leave a message on your friend’s voicemail, asking that he call you back. 24 hours later he hasn’t. You decide that your friend doesn’t like you. Maybe even nobody likes you. Maybe there’s something badly wrong with you … it’s called “catastrophising”.
So why didn’t your friend call back? Maybe he was too tired. Or ill. Maybe he didn’t get the message. Maybe his mother was on her deathbed. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he had 10 other voicemails to deal with etc. You just don’t know. (20 years ago, one very old friend dropped all contact with me for over 9 months. I didn’t know why and wondered what I’d done wrong until, out of the blue he called me and explained: his wife had had a breakdown and looking after her was a 24/7 job for months.)
Learning to challenge “automatic negative thoughts”, indeed making a habit of it, has been incredibly valuable to me. Could it do the same for you?
“Oldie but Goldie”
A Moodscope member.
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