A client last week reminded me of an incredibly important tool that I was first introduced to during my internship and have since internalized but not in this kind of codified reference package.
Unhelpful thinking styles, or inferential distortions as they are also called, are thought patterns that have the potential to cause negative emotions and behaviors. People who suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD) often exhibit these negative thought patterns.
One of the goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is to identify unhelpful thinking styles and modify the thinking process. As part of CBT, the feelings that result from these thinking styles are examined.
There’s also a very handy reference worksheet for these ten concepts you can download and post in your office, home, classroom, or anywhere you want to be aware of your own or others’ ways of interacting with you and their own world.
Still tackling the backlog clearance; there may be a long slog of what we used to call “link sausage” posts that are less about original content on my part and more about sharing interesting or thought-provoking (or maybe even useful) resources for people interested in noodling about on their own psychological or emotional development.
Things I often tackle with clients trying to observe and manage or change their own behavioural patterns, include looking at how we resort to short-term hits of happiness (“hedonic pleasures”, but I’ll get more into hedonia in a later post) in lieu of ? sometimes to the complete disadvantage of ? longer term, bigger-picture desires or goals. When this becomes a self-destructive pattern, as with addictions and pursuit of addictive highs in any form, narcotic, alcoholic, process-oriented, then we have to dig deeper into figuring out the underlying triggers to those cycles. People are so adept at masking their own unhappinesses, however, that this becomes a significant body of the work that some people are facing when trying to make improvements in themselves and their lives.
Two links that help shed a little light on these patterns, the first from AMerican Scholar:
Certainly, our march from one level of gratification to the next has imposed huge costs?most recently in a credit binge that nearly sank the global economy. But the issue here isn?t only one of overindulgence or a wayward consumer culture. Even as the economy slowly recovers, many people still feel out of balance and unsteady. It?s as if the quest for constant, seamless self-expression has become so deeply embedded that, according to social scientists like Robert Putnam, it is undermining the essential structures of everyday life. In everything from relationships to politics to business, the emerging norms and expectations of our self-centered culture are making it steadily harder to behave in thoughtful, civic, social ways. We struggle to make lasting commitments. We?re uncomfortable with people or ideas that don?t relate directly and immediately to us. Empathy weakens, and with it, our confidence in the idea, essential to a working democracy, that we have anything in common.
The second article, from Forbes, looks at how people become detached in their own lives, in ways that leave long- and short-term emotional voids that we all move instinctively to fill… but when moving unconsciously, we get trapped in short-term fills rather than long-term solutions (the other articles linked by the author at the top of this one are also definitely worth the read):
In this series of articles, I?ve covered hallmarks of highly respected achievers, ten reasons why we fail, and reasons why some of us love what we do. Now I?m going to veer a bit existential and examine eight reasons why so many of us feel lost in our lives, with a few suggestions peppered in along the way to help get our oars back into the water.