People often ask how you can make changes - and if you manage to make them at all, how do you make them stick?
Karen recently qualified in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, commonly known as CBT. She has been amazed to learn how powerful and effective it is in helping people make deep and lasting changes to overcome habitual thinking patterns. CBT is used by the NHS and other organisations with great success.
CBT is based on the fact that our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs affect our emotions, which also have a trigger effect on physical symptoms and ultimately our behaviours and actions.
So for example if you think you are a poor public speaker you can begin to feel the emotion of anxiety when asked to speak. This can trigger physical symptoms like sweating or shaking. You may then stammer when you speak in front of an audience.
You can then begin to really believe that you are a poor public speaker. Your anxiety grows. You may even get headaches and worse symptoms such as migraines. You may then avoid public speaking at all costs and even eventually develop a phobia.(Public speaking is the number one fear in the UK and USA apparently).
People can then use all sorts of distorted thinking to reinforce the negative view:
catastrophising or awfulising - exaggerating the probability or severity of a threat
all or nothing thinking - black and white thinking - polarised into extremes
fortune telling - predicting negative outcomes prematurely - 'I'll never be a good speaker'
mind reading - assuming we know others' thoughts - 'they think I'm stupid'
mental filtering - 'people are only nice to me because they feel sorry for me'
These are just a few of the more recognisable traits of faulty thinking that you might recognise in others, or even in yourself.
However a CBT coach can challenge this faulty thinking using 'Socratic' questioning to establish whether these views are valid and true beliefs. There are a number of different techniques that can transform the negative thought patterns and create more positive helpful ones.
So for example, by creating an alternative belief system about your capability as a public speaker anxiety is lessened, physical symptoms are reduced and avoidance behaviour can be conquered.