Saturday, October 13, 2007

3 Principles of Cognitive Therapy

I’m a principles and practices kind of a guy, so I always like to know the underlying beliefs behind a system. In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes about three underlying principles in cognitive therapy.

  1. All your moods are created by your "cognitions," or thoughts.
  2. When you are feeling depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.
  3. The negative thoughts which cause your emotional turmoil nearly always contain gross distortions.
I’m not sure how the first principle explains moods from bio-chemistry (e.g. a sugar-high). Maybe the first assumption is that there are no bio-chemistry overrides currently in your system. In that case, then all your moods are created by your thoughts.

This gets interesting. YOU control your mood by controlling what you think. No matter what happens in your life, you control the gap between stimulus and response. How you filter or perceive the world then becomes the biggest factor in how you feel!

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