Potentials and Limitations of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Source: Oliver Kepka, Pixabay, public domain

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the dominant psychotherapy modality today, and Albert Ellis is one of its most respected founders and performers. Here are some of his affirmations, my yeses and yeses.

Much of the happiness is found in striving to achieve a goal, not in achieving things,

It’s true. If a happiness indicator was attached to his brain, that’s right, it will increase when the project is finished, but total happiness accumulates a lot more while the project is done. Don’t focus so impatiently on the fact that you aren’t enjoying the process of doing it.

Convince yourself that worrying about many situations will make them worse.

This is where I struggle with cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s easy to say “stop worrying”, much harder to do. Worry can even be a biological imperative, an evolutionary attribute for survival. Certainly, you can be helped by cognitive-behavioral techniques such as the comrade Psychology today Three-Minute Exercise by Blogger Michael Edelstein: Write and paraphrase aloud your mistaken thoughts three times a day. But my clients have found that there is usually too much to worry about.

Even when people act badly towards you, don’t condemn them or take revenge.

Again, easier said than done, although it’s worth sucking up. When someone does something wrong, your reflective reaction may be to become sad or angry, but that’s what you are doing. following it is important. Try to distract yourself with something constructive or fun.

Even injustice has its good sides. It gives me the challenge to be as happy as possible in an unfair world.

Viewing injustice as a simple challenge to be happy can be unrealistic or even undesirable. Outrage can fuel efforts to right a wrong.

Decide that your problems are yours. Don’t blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president.

Your problems are often not just yours. They are at least exacerbated by externalities, for example poverty, poor health or being born in a difficult environment. It is unfair to put all the blame on your shoulders. Yes, your self-help or therapist-assisted efforts can identify lessons learned from past trauma, but it’s generally wise to move forward quickly. For example, I have known dozens of Holocaust survivors and, on average, those who kept revisiting the horrors were less happy than those who focused on making progress.

The problem with most therapies is that they make you feel better, but you don’t get better. You have to support it with action, action, action.

It is a strength of cognitive behavioral therapy compared to, for example, psychoanalysis. Switching to behavior change quickly can not only improve your practical life, but also reduce emotional pain. Behavior change can precede emotional change.

There are three imperatives that hold us back: I have to do well, you have to treat me well and the world has to be easy.

We may not think our goal is a must, but we act like it is. Alas, we cannot insist that everything turn out the way we would like. Better to decide what we think can be improved and strive for, but try to graciously accept that chips only occasionally fall in our way.

By honestly acknowledging your past mistakes without ever blaming yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.

To the right.

The attitude of unconditional self-acceptance is probably the most important variable in long-term recovery (of clients).

I do not agree. Not Fully accepting oneself pushes a person to improve.

Most of what we call anxiety is over-worrying about what someone thinks of you.

Often this is not true, for example, with regard to the common fear of dying or dying.

The art of love … is largely the art of perseverance.

There is some truth to this. You must persist in recognizing what is and is not. Spend moderate effort trying to fix what may be fixable, but more importantly in the long run, focus on the things together that work naturally. What are the assets in your relationship that you should focus on? What problems should you try to solve and which ones should you shrug your shoulders on?

By not caring too much about what people think, I am able to think for myself and propagate ideas that are very often unpopular.

Of course, you don’t want to be a slave to the opinions of others. However, it is self-centered to care little about what other people think. No one has a monopoly on wisdom, so it’s worth considering, without always accepting, what others might think.

Like all approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy has strengths and limitations. The wise practitioner and the customer know that repair often requires more than one tool.

I improvise on Ellis’ statements on YouTube.


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