You’ve just got out of an unhealthy relationship and it still makes you anxious. The difficult breakup may have left you with negative thoughts and feelings that are hard to shake off. These cognitive distortions can significantly impact your current and future relationships, preventing you from finding true happiness. You may be thinking “I’ll never find someone who truly loves me” or “All men/women are cheaters”. But the truth is, these thoughts are not based on facts and they only serve to make you feel more anxious. So, you’ve considered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
This is a common occurrence in individuals who have experienced a traumatic event or unresolved issues from their past relationships. These negative thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming and may even affect your day-to-day life. For example, they can transfer to your new relationship, leading to unnecessary arguments or mistrust. However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in Florida can help you challenge these thoughts and restructure them in a more positive light.
What Cognitive Distortions Should You Look Out For?
Everyone processes and interprets situations differently, but there are some common cognitive distortions that can be detrimental to your relationships. They can cause you to overthink, jump to conclusions, and even sabotage your own relationships. This can further feed into your feelings of anxiety and make it hard for you to fully trust and connect with your partner. Some common cognitive distortions include:
- Catastrophizing: Overthinking and blowing small issues out of proportion. For example, thinking your partner is cheating just because they didn’t answer a text right away.
- Mind Reading: Making assumptions about what others are thinking or feeling based on little to no evidence. For instance, thinking your partner doesn’t like you just because they didn’t ask you out on a specific date.
- Feelings = Facts: Believing that your emotions are always reflective of reality. Just because you feel anxious or unloved doesn’t mean that’s the truth.
- Forecasting: Predicting negative outcomes before they even happen. For instance, assuming a first date will go badly without giving it a chance.
- Self-Blame: Taking all the responsibility for a situation, even when it may not be your fault. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame that can impact your self-esteem.
- Black and White Thinking: Seeing things as either all good or all bad. This type of thinking can make it difficult to see the gray areas in relationships.
- Discounting: Minimizing or dismissing positive experiences. For example, constantly focusing on the negatives of a past relationship and discounting any good moments you had together.
After you’ve had a bad breakup or gone through a traumatic relationship, it’s common to have these types of thoughts and feelings. You were gaslighted, you were constantly put down, and your trust was broken. But with the help of a skilled anxiety therapist in Boca Raton, FL, or Coconut Creek, FL using CBT techniques, you can learn to identify these distortions and challenge them.
How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help?
CBT is a form of therapy that focuses on changing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. With the help of a therapist, you’ll learn to identify and challenge your cognitive distortions. You’ll also work on developing healthy coping mechanisms and building positive relationships. For instance, you will challenge thoughts like “I’m unlovable” or “All relationships end in disaster”.
CBT is a collaborative approach, meaning that your therapist will work with you to create personalized therapy goals and solutions. The language used in CBT is accessible, making it easy for individuals to understand and apply the techniques in their daily lives. This way, you can actively take charge of your thoughts and emotions, leading to a more positive outlook on relationships.
Socratic Questioning: Challenge Those Thoughts
One technique commonly used in CBT is Socratic Questioning. This involves challenging your thoughts and trying to restructure them into more realistic, fact-based ones. For example, when you start to think “I’m not good enough for anyone”, a therapist may ask you where the evidence for that thought is. Is this thought based on feelings and not facts? By identifying the lack of evidence for your thoughts, you can start to challenge and restructure them into more positive ones.
Just like in court, thoughts need evidence to be proven true. And often, our negative thoughts are not based on facts at all. With the help of CBT, you can learn to identify when you’re having these distorted thoughts and replace them with reality-based ones. So, your therapist may also ask you, “What’s the reality of this situation?” or “Is there a more balanced way to think about this?” By doing so, they can help you reframe your thoughts and see things from a different perspective.
Some Socratic questions you can ask yourself are:
- What is the evidence for this thought? Against it?
- Am I basing this thought on facts, or on feelings?
- Is this thought black and white, when reality is more complicated?
- Could I be misinterpreting the evidence? Am I making any assumptions?
- Might other people have different interpretations of the same situation? What are they?
- Am I looking at all the evidence, or just what supports my thoughts?
- Could my thought be an exaggeration of what’s true?
- Am I having this thought out of habit, or do the facts support it?
- Did someone pass this thought/belief to me? If so, are they a reliable source?
- Is my thought a likely scenario, or is it the worst scenario?
Learning to identify, challenge, and restructure your thoughts is a core component of CBT. It can help you replace negative thoughts with reality-based ones, reducing feelings of anxiety, and improving your relationships. It can help you realize that your thoughts are not always facts and that you have the power to change them.
You May Not Even Realize You’re Having These Thoughts
For many individuals, cognitive distortions are so ingrained in their thought patterns that they don’t even realize they’re having them. This is especially true for those who have been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time. They may think these negative thoughts are just part of their normal thinking process. You may not realize that this isn’t how everyone thinks, that it’s not a healthy thought process.
With cognitive behavioral therapy in Florida, you can learn to identify these thoughts and understand how they are affecting your emotions and behaviors. Because if the cycle isn’t stopped, it can continue to impact your relationships and overall well-being. It can affect how you feel and behave, which in turn affects how you think, creating a vicious cycle.
You Can Break this Cycle and Learn to Replace Negative Thoughts With More Realistic Ones.
Your therapist will support you in learning how to identify your negative thoughts, challenge them, and replace them with more realistic ones. You will be able to notice when your mood shifts just like your therapist can when it changes. Typically, something happens, you have that thought, then you feel anxious. But with the help of CBT, you can remember that there was a thought that made you anxious and work on changing it.
Remember, you can have happy, healthy relationships. You may have had a difficult past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive future. With the guidance and support of an anxiety therapist in Boca Raton, FL, or Coconut Creek, FL using CBT techniques, you can work towards building strong and fulfilling connections with others. Don’t let these cognitive distortions hold you back from happiness any longer.
Transform Your Thoughts With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Florida
End the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions. Take control of your thinking and build healthier relationships with the help of CBT. Remember, you may not even realize you’re having these cognitive distortions until you actively start to challenge them. With cognitive behavioral therapy in Coconut Creek, FL, you can learn practical solutions and strategies to actively manage your thoughts and emotions. At Invigorate Counseling, we offer individualized CBT sessions with our experienced therapist. Where you can transform your thoughts and take charge of your mental well-being. I am here to provide you with the support and guidance you need to overcome these challenges. Don’t let distorted thinking hold you back from living a fulfilling life. Follow these three simple steps to get started:
- Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see if is right for you
- Begin meeting with me, Lindsay Howard, a skilled depression therapist
- Challenge Your Negative Thoughts and Emotions, and Gain the Tools to Transform Your Life!
Other Services Offered at Invigorate Counseling
At Invigorate Counseling, my goal is to provide quality and compassionate counseling services to individuals who are seeking support for a variety of mental health struggles. Along with cognitive behavioral therapy in Coconut Creek, FL, I offer other specialized services. These include Anxiety Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Grief Counseling, and Addiction Counseling. My services are offered for clients located in the state of Florida, specific to Parkland, Coconut Creek, Miami and Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Orlando, Tallahassee, and anywhere else in the state! For more about my practice, check out my FAQs and Blog!