View Full Version : Considering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
06-06-2010, 10:24 PM
The more I think about it, the more I realize last few years have been an emotional siege, even for me as one of the least emotional INTJs. Major natural disaster at my home, loss of a good friend, having to be on the constant defensive professionally, seeing exactly how bad the average human will be to other humans and the strain of trying to get my life exactly where I want it.
I am remarkably better from a mental and physical perspective than I was a few years ago and honestly, a lesser person probably would have disassociated from reality at this point.
But analysis of how I think has lead me to realize I'm in a few negative thought cycles and I am against the long end of the burnout point for my profession.
So, a list of the thought cycles.
1.) Every stranger is a threat. I have a few weapons on me whenever I'm in public and I walk head on a swivel, examining everyone to see if they plan to attack me.
2.) Humanity on an aggregate level doesn't understand how fortunate they are to have their life as it is. They have a roof over their heads, their monthly government check and food on the table, yet they still turn to cocaine, heroin, etc. to get away from their perceived miserable life..which consists of chilling at home doing nothing.
3.) I'll never find a woman who is mentally stable and has her career together. This has two competing thought processes, namely that women in my area aren't really career oriented and tend to carry baggage from their sowing their oats youth days. The second is that I'm not as competitive in the dating scene as I could be because I don't have all the earmarks of success , such as house, etc. that a 28 year old is supposed to have.
Every one of those has basis in truth..but I'm taking it to the extreme. I'm aware of it, but I'm not sure CBT will help me with this.
06-07-2010, 03:15 AM
What is the root of #1? Why do you expect to be attacked?
#2 sounds like pretty normal cynicism. I don't see how CBT would help with this. Sounds like something you have to choose to change your attitude about. Maybe spend some more time with good people.
#3 doesn't seem like a thought cycle so much as observations about your situation. If women in your area aren't career oriented, thinking they are won't change that. What you can change is your criteria for a significant other; or you can move. You can also change your opinion of yourself. That is a better application for CBT I think - but I can't tell from what you write whether you think it is an issue.
06-07-2010, 06:08 AM
"Every one of those has basis in truth..but I'm taking it to the extreme. I'm aware of it, but I'm not sure CBT will help me with this."
This is what REBT is made for. It is an examination of thinking patterns and how conclusions are reached. As you noted, we can hold opposite views and both be correct.
It is not the events that upset us, it is the meaning we give it.
06-07-2010, 06:20 AM
CBT may help in giving you ways to assess how well are various thought patterns has been my experience with it. I tend to find groups a bit better than individual therapy here but that's what works for me. In a group there can be that other feedback that is useful for determining if something is worthwhile or not to my mind. Were you thinking of trying to find a group or just find a therapist?
Focusing on the negative, having black/white thinking, overly generalizing and a few other patterns are ones I can notice and try to do things to try to remedy. A key point for me was getting both the exposure and feedback as both were needed to move me along my path. I'm not sure I'd say that I've totally recovered but I am do much better than I was.
06-07-2010, 07:52 AM
I doubt CBT will help you to deal with problem #1. CBT is designed to help you find suppressed thought processes and alter them by bringing them into open air. Gathering from your post you know exactly what you think others are capable of doing to you. I expect anyone trying to argue against the point that strangers are a threat to get a fierce rebuttal - one which may well stifle attempts to help. Maybe you will be helped by remembering that others do not as readily see your weak points as you do, but other than that I think you would benefit more from systematic desensitation, as is common treatment for (post-traumatic) phobias.
At first sight I don't see why you would need help dealing with #2. You mentioned in your opening post you have endured more than some others might be capable of taking - in other words, you are a stronger person than most mentally. As a result, you are less likely to give in to feelings of having a miserable life than others are. If anything I'd suggest taking pride in your ability to deal with mental problems and stop thinking about the mentally less fortunate. That is, unless you have a deeper reason for thinking about them (such as a desire to have them conform to your high personal standards). CBT might be useful here. A therapist is also likely to provide a new understanding of some cases of substance abuse or related self-destructive behavior.
In regard to #3, I first perceived this as a minor issue, since I would recommend against dating attempts while undergoing psychotherapy anyway. Point in case is you don't expect to meet the demands of the women who meet your demands. As a consequence it is conceivable to either lower your demands or improve yourself. While working on these other issues it might be an idea to improve your status and feel accordingly like you are a better catch. There may be a deeper underlying issue here, if you think you don't meet the demands of the women you like just because you like them. In that case CBT might help you understand your approach to dating and help you improve it.
06-07-2010, 10:43 AM
Regarding #1, that comes from seeing how, once you strip away the socialized vernier, namely through adding alcohol, desperation and/or psychosis, the average person will attack their wife, significant other or children. How much value can a stranger have if you will kill or maim your closest people?
In regards to #2, the real issues is how they are draining society. These people cost society millions of dollars in public safety, medical and correction officer manhours as well as the cost of incarceration and unpaid medical bills. It frustrates me to watch my friends struggle to pay the rent and find money to eat while trying to do something worthwhile, when these people sit around, do nothing and get government money to do it.
With #3, I don't see myself changing to accept anything less than what I am looking for. I am better off alone than with an immature, unmotivated, unemployed single mom looking for her sugar daddy. I realize not every single mom fits that stereotype, but in this county, they sure do. Most women in this area in my age group, are usually single mothers, either via divorce or never married the father. I think I'm a good guy, but I don't see many intelligent, motivated women understanding that I chose my current frugal lifestyle, so I could pursue where I wanted to be professionally instead of being incapable of acquiring the stereotypical trappings of success.
I am looking for a therapist, as I don't really like large groups. One on one or two on one conversation is better for me. Not to mention, every group will have the guy who drones on and on and on, never saying anything productive.
06-07-2010, 06:46 PM
Hey, it can't hurt.
I think of it as the fast lane for understanding myself.
If I understand, then I can act.
06-07-2010, 08:20 PM
I'd give it a go, even just one session may clear up a few things. You r may have to try a couple of different people before you find someone you like. I've also found getting someone who has been to one to recommend a therapist is better than having your general practitioner pick one off a list.
I've been seeing a therapist for a while now and it has cleared up a lot of issues, not neccesarily fixing them, but brought them out into the open where I can prod and poke sticks at them.
1) The marines I think have a saying something like "treat everyone politely and with respect, but have a plan to kill them". All they will experience is you being nice to them.
3) You could try talking to girls you like. Treat it like an investment, each time you see them you say one small nice thing and then after a while you have said lots of nice things to them.
06-07-2010, 09:16 PM
I disliked cognitive therapy. It insulted my intelligence by saying that I can't think straight. I'm a very good, rational thinker. I'm generally only wrong when I don't have all the information I need to make the correct conclusion. Also cognitive therapy DOESN'T GIVE YOU ANY ANSWERS TO ANYTHING!!! It doesn't give you any information or advice on how to do better in your life! It leaves you ignorant! I see cognitive therapy as being part of the worthless psychotherapy establishment. It's one of the inffective crappy things that they do. I by far prefer self help books and success books. THEY HELPED ME!!! A LOT!!!
In regards to negative thinking, basically what you need to do is get rid of all negative thoughts and get rid of all limiting beliefs. Think only positive thoughts and act as if you have no limitations. Don't engage in any negative self talk. Then just look for solutions. Have the beliefs and expectations that everything will turn out well. Instead of imagining defeats, imagine victories. If anything negative does happen, forget about it and move on.
06-08-2010, 12:03 AM
It shouldn't insult you intelligence knowing the truth which is that even the most rational of all people are not above irrational thoughts. Only brief amounts of CBT have radically improved my life.
The problem is sometimes we aren't even aware when we are having negative thoughts and the goal of the CBT is to learn to catch yourself in the moment. It is much easier said than done.
Advice like "just think happy thoughts" only makes sense to people who don't have or understand issues. Some of us just don't have a bad day every week or month, but have had miserably negatively reinforced lives and our brains can not be rewired over night.
For nearly a decade I sweated uncontrollably from underneath my arms when socially anxious. I'm not just talking about being a little nervous while giving a speech. I would become drenched in sweat driving in my car paranoid that others where negatively judging me. I wouldn't even have to be physically by anyone to get trapped into negative thought loops which also caused the very real perspiration. I tried prescription antiperspirant to no avail. A few hours of CBT that I simply listened to a year ago have left me sweat stain free ever since. The physical symptom was a product of my undisciplined mind.
06-08-2010, 03:57 PM
Well, I scheduled an appointment to try it out.
I don't feel threatened by it, but if it does insult my intelligence, well, time to move on. I've perused the self-help section at the bookstore and a ton of it strikes me as nonsense. "What do your favorite color, favorite animal or choice of clothes say about you?" type stuff.
I don't see myself "just thinking happy thoughts" when the preponderance of evidence suggests reality is a negative, grim place.
06-08-2010, 11:22 PM
i have considered CRT for some of my OCD shit, but not for social anxiety.
06-08-2010, 11:38 PM
i dont think it's really helping me. if i took the time to write out my thoughts more and work out solutions to problems i imagine for myself instead of just wandering through life like a negative person, i'd be doing better. talking never really appealed to me and it's hard to trust people in general. i suppose it's nice to rant for a bit though and bounce ideas off someone not involved, but talking to friends is usually as helpful and we can do fun things like get ice cream instead of dwell. eh. just my two cents. you shoudl try it and see if it works for you. some people it just doesn't work for.
06-08-2010, 11:59 PM
I found CBT to be helpful. More importantly (in my opinion), I found CBT to be the one therapy that I could continue to practice on my own after leaving therapy.
The approach is extremely rational- explore the underlying assumptions that drive the thoughts, and systematically challenge them with logic. Or, that is how I perceive CBT.
06-11-2010, 09:50 PM
As with most things in life, therapy only has the power you give it. There are no magic tricks or gimmicks. CBT is simply an objective evaluation (or led self-evaluation) of your own thought patterns. That being said, it has to be done by a valid, competent therapist. Most INTJ's have difficulty with a therapist that deals with touchy-feely. DBT can be helpful because it can be more factual and irreverent.
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