Current thinking encourages us to
Identify problematic behaviors
Link them to Precipitating events that have lead to
Recognizing that thoughts lead to Painful Emotions and Unhappiness
Instead of the other way around
Is the key to finding solutions through new behavior.
CBT COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a practical brief therapy approach–or part of an ongoing treatment process, that is solution-focused and goal-oriented, designed to change patterns of behavior and thinking. Working with what’s underneath people’s problems in this way, can help change the way they feel so that problems are eliminated.
Let me tell you about Katie and Cole, (names & situation changed to protect confidentiality) a troubled couple that came to me for treatment. Katie seemed angry when she said, “Cole just doesn’t make me happy. He never tells me that I’m beautiful, he doesn’t initiate sex, he doesn’t love me enough. I deserve more.” Then, she broke down and sobbed into her hands.
Cole’s face turned gray and he mumbled, “I do love her, but she’s so…she’s the one who doesn’t love me, I think. She’s always critical, mean, and makes me feel totally bad about myself.”
They each perceived that the other didn’t care or respect them enough. They were sabotaging their relationship by being too aggressive or too passive. They were two sides of the same coin. I challenged their perceptions. The “nevers” and “always” and helped them to each recognize their own individual tapes that ran the gears of their behavior toward each other. Cole came to realize that he heard his mother’s voice criticizing him or his father when he was a boy, whenever Katie berated him. Katie had gathered evidence since the onset of their relationship that mistakenly proved to her that her husband was weak–when in fact he was turned off. She didn’t get the love she wanted because she was imitating her mother and not giving the love and regard that he needed. He was withholding because of ancient history, rather than appreciating Katie for who she was–a uniquely powerful woman. Their thinking and behavior was at the root of their problems. How they perceived situations formulated their reactions. Modifying these factors in our work together, led to vast improvement in their moods, outlook and marriage.