Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps people to identify automatic thoughts that are causing distressing emotions as well as certain behaviours. We all have daily thoughts that run through our minds, some random unimportant thoughts, some neutral, some positive and of course, some negative too. But when someone is depressed or anxious, their thought process becomes overrun by negative, distorted and unrealistic thoughts that cause them a lot of emotional distress. The good news is that thoughts do NOT necessarily equal reality. This is an important statement to remember as a starting point to address the thoughts.
For example, a person may have distorted thoughts that their friend hasn’t reached out to them socially for a long time because they don’t value the friendship (distorted thought) and because they have other, more important friends in which to associate (distorted thought). Because the person believes that these thoughts are true, they may become angry (emotion) and resentful (emotion) and then start acting in a rejecting way towards the friend by then ignoring them (behaviour), deleting them from social media (behaviour) or by calling them up and lashing out at them (behaviour)! All this time, the situation could have been handled more appropriately if the person had addressed their thoughts and discovered that they were not based in reality.
Have a great week!