Therapy: ABCs of CBT

I love therapy!!! #ThatIsAll #micdrop

I kid, I kid. Ok let’s talk about my last session, shall we?

In last Monday’s session of therapy, I had SO much to discuss. Immediately following our previous session, I thought of a ton of things I wanted to discuss that I couldn’t think of while I was in session. I mentioned that the session ended up being a bit quiet, but it was ok. It gave me a chance to think about things and process. Last week, we talked so much that, I’m writing this blog so I can process (and remember) everything.

ABCs of CBT
Activating event
Belief/thought
emotional/behavioral Consequence

We discussed another CBT (cognitive-behavioral technique) that is geared towards catching our thoughts and helping us build awareness about how we think. It helps us see patterns and links and over time, we see how our thoughts can be irrational, illogical and unhelpful. Once we identify these patterns and thoughts, we can then seek to replace them with positive self talk.

We started out talking about the anxiety I feel when I’m in a new environment or around new people. This is a topic I’ve already discussed with her (and on here). I wanted to go further with this, as it’s not just the environment/people that brings me anxiety, but it’s also the anticipation of the event. This is very frustrating. I’ve mentioned that there are some things that I feel very embarrassed to admit. Well, this is another one. Unless you have anxiety like me, I assume most people don’t get to the level of anxiety I do when I’m anticipating a new situation. For example, imagine going to an event, say a dinner party at someone’s home. I think most people just go and attempt to have a good time. I assume most people don’t really give much thought beforehand, other than finding out the location, thinking about what to wear or thinking about a gift (if necessary). Another example might be a doctor’s appointment. Most people just go and assume things will turn out well (unless you’re going because you’re sick). Now, of course, in all of these situations, there may be mild anxiety, but for the most part, it’s just another day/event.

For me, all of those situations typically make me physically ill in some way.  😦

The ABCs worksheet is something she forgot to give me in our previous session, so we’re backtracking a little bit. The worksheet delves a little deeper into working on/through irrational thoughts. It helps me ask deeper questions about the thought(s) and essentially assists me in working through thoughts that can’t be easily solved by the previous techniques she gave me.

Can we say, “Hallelujah“?!

I’ve been attempting to use the tools she’s given me, but I’ve been feeling like I needed more help. So this worksheet was right on time and I feel like this will definitely help move me a little bit quicker to where I want to be.

So the worksheet ended up being my first homework assignment.

My other homework was to work on being transparent.

Where did this come from? Well, this came up from a few things we discussed. Essentially, my anxiety has sparked a few issues, one of which is feeling like I can’t be my true self. And my true self wants to hide a lot of times out of fear of being disliked, shunned and/or alone. This is another one of those things that a bit embarrassing to discuss, but I said I’d share more and more with you all as I got a little more into therapy.

Ok, let’s start with this… you know we all continue to change as we get older, right? We may not think we do, but we do. I’ve seen close friends change (yes, YOU if you’re my friend reading this!) and I’ve seen it within myself. I am coming to terms with the fact that I’m different and have changed. And it’s this change that brings me great anxiety. But my therapist said, “Being someone you aren’t will not help you or the people around you.” She said some other things, but basically I need to be more transparent and be myself.

It was real talk that I needed to hear. Our conversation really got me to thinking about the fact that I’ve changed. Life experiences change us!

Think back 10 years ago. Do you think you’re still the same person you were back then? Do you believe in the same things you did then that you do now? Maybe. But I challenge you to really delve into your life and explore every piece of it. Chances are, you’ve changed. You may not have made huge, sweeping changes in your life, but the changes are there.

Who I am now, is not who I was 10 or 15 years ago. Life happened! For me, not working for several years has shown me some things that I don’t think I would’ve ever seen if I had kept working. Suffering from the loss of a child has changed me. Being married has changed me. Living away from my family has changed me. Living in different cities has changed me. I see life so differently now…I feel like I’m starting to figure out a little bit of its mystery. And I’ve been tapping into my spirituality more and more over the past few years, which has definitely changed me!

Figuring out my life has been both exciting and of course, anxiety-inducing. My homework to be more transparent is going to be the toughest thing for me to work on. It’s so mental and emotional because I’ve practically trained myself to hide my thoughts and feelings (based on my changes) and now I have to shed this mask that I’ve created.

But what does all of this transparency mean? One thing I’ve been learning (through some books, the Bible and other texts) is that we have to be mindful of the things in our lives that don’t serve us and let them go. If any of you have been reading about mindfulness and self-care, then you know what I mean. To be mindful of anything that doesn’t serve you simply means looking out for your overall well-being (mentally, emotionally & physically). I think we all tend to hold onto things and/or people that don’t help us grow, learn, love, and essentially become better.

So I think naturally, anything (habit, practice, etc) or anyone that isn’t helping me to be a better person, to grow, will fall away as I become more transparent.

Kinda deep, right? Or not. 🙂

Ok, sorry to end this a little abruptly, but that’s all I’ve got for you! Sorry this took a little longer to get out. I was stumped on writing this transparency part. Surprisingly, I wasn’t anxious to write it. I just didn’t know how to write it so that it made sense. I hope it made sense! If not, I will probably talk about it again another time. Perhaps written in another way, it’ll make sense.

Quick thanks to all of you who’ve reached out in the comments here or via email. I love chatting with you all and thanks for being supportive on this journey with me. ❤

-t

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s