I had the immense pleasure of catching Dr. Susan David on Mental Illness Happy Hour "Judging Our Feelings" this past week.
She has a wonderful conversation with Paul -- starting at 21 minutes -- about thoughts, feelings and ways of approaching a healthier, more consistent lifestyle. She touches on many vital concepts, which are emerging with greater and greater scientific support.
Two key concepts and reminders I took away from the podcast:
Have you listened to this podcast already? If so, what were some of your takeaways?
So many beautiful possibilities in this chat. I highly recommend it.
#thoughts #feelings #mentalhealth #support #love #compassion #beauty
Below I've included text from the article, "Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard in Psychotherapy."
This link is a recent research opinion article within the field of cognitive behavioral therapy and, to me, has a lot of diverse considerations and implications.
I think the article highlights the importance of considering differences amongst providers -- certification, adherence to fidelity within treatment, resilience and more. But, even more important, I read this research as acknowledging where we are as a field. By accepting CBT's scientific basis, years of research and structured modality, I do not see it as diminishing or "throwing shade" at other modalities.
There are a lot of skilled practitioners with diverse modalities within the psychotherapy field and most do important, passionate work. I think this truth will remains irregardless of background -- CBT, analytic, ISTDP, etc. -- or conceptualization of the human condition. Instead, I read this article as a consolidation of numerous scientific efforts within the field of psychology. CBT is not a panacea, but it's a good marker in our evolution in what we know works in therapy.
As practitioners, let us continue to join together to improve our services for our clients, and remember that difference is NOT deviant.
A few key highlights I found interesting:
Cognitive behavioral therapy:
"(1) ... is the most researched form of psychotherapy. (2) No other form of psychotherapy has been shown to be systematically superior to CBT; if there are systematic differences between psychotherapies, they typically favor CBT. (3) Moreover, the CBT theoretical models/mechanisms of change have been the most researched and are in line with the current mainstream paradigms of human mind and behavior (e.g., information processing)."
"...there is clearly room for further improvement, both in terms of CBT’s efficacy/effectiveness and its underlying theories/mechanisms of change."
"...although CBT is efficacious/effective, there is still room for improvement, as in many situations there are patients who do not respond to CBT and/or relapse. While many non-CBT psychotherapies have changed little in practice since their creation, CBT is an evolving psychotherapy based on research (i.e., a progressive research program). Therefore, we predict that continuous improvements in psychotherapy will derive from CBT, gradually moving the field toward an integrative scientific psychotherapy."
David D, Cristea I and Hofmann SG (2018) Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy. Front. Psychiatry 9:4. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004
#cognitivebehavioraltherapy #cbt #psychotherapy #research #goldstandard
(Post originally featured on Rodale's Organic Life. Now found here.)
I'm honored to have been featured!
8 Little Ways To Build Mental Strength Every Single Day
By Shelby Deering
Simple steps to becoming a more resilient, mentally tough person.
You don’t have to be the Dalai Lama or Oprah to achieve mental clarity and toughness. With some practice and armed with tips and tricks, you can find mental strength and in turn, improve your thinking patterns.
We asked a gamut of mental health pros—a therapist, a mindfulness coach, and an Olympian—to weigh in on what methods lead to better mental strength. They all have gone on personal journeys to discover their own mental toughness.
Nick Holt, LCSW, a certified cognitive behavioral therapist, shares that he is a “professional and personal survivor of suicide,” facing substance abuse and mental health challenges since he was a child. Lara Jaye, CEO of Lara Jaye LLC, is an author, speaker, and mindfulness expert who once dealt with depression, a marriage that was falling apart, and substantial health issues. Joanna Zeiger, PhD, is a professional triathlete and Olympian who says that she’s not a “natural” and lived an athlete’s life littered with injuries and unmet goals.
What do these three have in common? They dug deep and uncovered grit and determination to reach their versions of mental strength. Here are 8 practices you can start doing today to build up your own.
Increase Your Awareness Of Your Thoughts
Mental strength is important, says Holt, because “the world is full of uncertainty, change, and negativity.”
“In empowering ourselves to have a more connected, disciplined, and resilient existence, we increase the likelihood of having more contentment, support, and intimacy in our lives,” he says. And all that mental strength often starts with something that is equal parts simple and challenging—awareness.
“Personally, it’s taken me a long time to connect to many of my thoughts and feelings,” Holt says. “For the majority of my life, many of my thoughts and feelings passed by without much attention. They were fused into my daily behavior. These thoughts and feelings guided my life without much consideration of the validity or usefulness of them.”
Now Holt harnesses their power by observing his own life experiences, especially when negative situations occur. “As you enter this new level of connectedness to yourself, your thoughts, and your body, you enter a path of improving your confidence and self-esteem. You become more disciplined, experience more comfort within discomfort, and ultimately, become more mentally tough,” says Holt. (Here’s how to quit your negative thinking once and for all.)
Jaye believes that awareness starts by “silencing the mind chatter.” She says, “Become aware of the radio station that is running in the background. How are you talking to yourself? What do you really believe about yourself? Journal your thoughts.
Visualization is a technique commonly applied by athletes, something that Zeiger writes about in her book, The Champion Mindset. But it’s a method that’s not limited to athletes.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of visualization,” she says. “Visualization is an opportunity to mentally practice a situation so when the situation arises you are ready to conquer it. Most of the time, people use visualization to imagine perfect scenarios. In sports, it would be the perfect race, and in business, it could be closing an important deal and going over the conversations and actions that would lead to the deal being made. These types of visualizations, where everything occurs smoothly, are important rehearsals that can instill confidence.”
She adds that visualization can result in mental preparedness for whatever may happen, saying, “Most situations in life do not go smoothly. So, imagery during visualization does not only have to be just about success, but also how to handle glitches. I call these ‘disaster scenarios.’ At some point, disaster will strike, and you will be empowered through your imaginary practice to figure out how to navigate the difficulty.”
Jaye practices visualization every morning, setting her alarm a half hour before she needs to get up for the day. “I use that time to focus on what I am grateful for in my life, and then I do a 15-minute meditation focusing on my ideal outcome of some specific situation, including how I will feel when it happens. Sometimes I’m creating my life five years down the road, other times, I’m seeing my next speaking gig and what I’m communicating to the audience. Sometimes I’m envisioning myself happy, healthy, and fit, living on a warm beach. Every morning, it resets my mind and body to remember my goal and to feel what it will feel like when it arrives,” says Jaye.
Employ Positive Self-Talk
Positive self-talk is the thing that overtakes those negative thoughts when they creep in. Zeiger explains that when athletes endure long races, there are always rough patches that can easily lead to negative self-talk. “Athletes tell themselves things like, ‘I suck,’ or ‘I should just quit.’”
Anyone can experience similar thoughts, even if they’re not in the middle of a race. Negativity can surface when you’re sitting in traffic, having a disagreement with a partner, or facing a health crisis. “Positive phrases during these times, [such as] ‘This will pass’ and ‘I am a warrior’ will help alleviate the burden of the tough patch,” says Zeiger. “Every day, we are confronted with situations that can cause angst. The way we react will dictate the ability to move forward quickly. Our thoughts are powerful and can change our mood quickly from positive to negative or from negative to positive.”
Come Up With A Mantra And Use It Often
Once you’ve mastered the art of positive self-talk, pick a mantra for yourself and use it often, says Zeiger. It can be a favorite quote or a personal phrase that you’ve devised that just feels right when you say it to yourself.
Having a mantra naturally arise in your thoughts will no doubt take some practice and patience. Zeiger says, “Practice mental toughness. Just because you want to be mentally tough doesn’t mean you will be mentally tough. It takes a lot of practice.”
Be Mindful And Engage All Your Senses
Mindfulness is also something that can lead to more self-awareness. Jaye separates mindfulness from meditation, saying, “People often use meditation and mindfulness interchangeably, but they are different. Meditation is a way to practice being mindful. It’s to engage in contemplation or reflection.”
Jaye recommends using meditation as a way to become more mindful, alongside deep breathing, yoga, walking, spending time in nature, dancing, and eating. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” says Jaye. “To become mindful, you can bring all five senses into whatever you are doing in the present moment.” That means allowing yourself to fully taste your food, slowing down to feel a warm breeze, or quite literally stopping to smell the roses.
Prioritize Self-Care And Quiet Time
Peaceful moments infused with self-care rituals can help you recharge your batteries so you can practice mental toughness the next day. Holt says to practice self-care and self-compassion “daily.”
Holt adds that self-compassion can only be experienced once we choose to be vulnerable. “Vulnerability is the portal that can lead to an appreciation of acknowledgment, empathy, compassion, nurturance, self-care, and much, much more,” Holt says.
Zeiger knows that even athletes need to power down. She says, “Mental toughness is not just about ‘going hard.’ It’s also about knowing when to fold your cards.” And she says not to judge yourself when you need a mental break.
Jaye is an advocate for using silence to get in touch with your true feelings and thoughts. “Be still. Take that quiet time each day to reflect, offer gratitude, meditate, and become mindful of the present moment without judging it,” she says.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experience Emotions
Emotions can undoubtedly be scary at times. None of us really want to face our confidence issues or the unhappiness we experience with a spouse. But Jaye says that it’s essential to feel all those emotions as they come up so you can begin to harness the mental strength you’re thirsting for. “Stop numbing yourself,” she says. “Welcome the emotions and thoughts. Allow your body to feel.”
Jaye also recommends using something called the RAIN Method when you become overwhelmed with emotions.
R: Recognize what you’re experiencing and thinking
A: Accept your emotions
I: Investigate these thoughts and emotions
N: Non-judgement of thoughts and emotions
“Just allow [the emotions] to pass naturally, because what we resist persists,” says Jaye.
Remove Yourself From Negative Situations
And if all else fails and mental toughness seems out of reach, it might be time to simply remove yourself from any negative people, places, or situations that weaken you or affect your thoughts.
Jaye says, “Notice the people and circumstances that are triggering you. Become aware and journal your thoughts.” In this same spirit, Holt says that it’s key “deepen your commitment to yourself and the people who make you feel good.”
“It is hard to be mentally tough if you are doing something you dislike,” Zeiger points out. “If you are stuck in a situation where you are unhappy or hate what you are doing, if at all possible, remove yourself from that situation into something more likable. If it is not possible—for example, you are stuck in a job you dislike and cannot move—make a list of the positives and focus on that rather than the negatives.”
Because at the end of the day, that is the foundation of mental strength. Focus on the positives, cast the negatives aside, and fixate on being the very best version of yourself.
#anxiety #tools #techniques #cognitivebehavioraltherapy #cbt
I love thinking the majority of my thoughts are worthless without action. That I am an observer of, not subjected to, the electrical storm within my mind. A growing gale nurtured through my focus and attention.
I love thinking I can choose to engage and ignore my thoughts -- to give life to my deepest passion and exile my darkest anxiety. These are things I focus on within my West Los Angeles psychotherapy practice.
"...5% of our thoughts are actually meaningful and relevant..."
What an empowering reminder.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the Forbes article "A Better Way to Deal With The Negative Thoughts In My Head."
Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD notes:
“Defusion is the process of noticing your negative or anxious thoughts, such as ‘I'm going to be alone forever,’ and then responding to it with openness and curiosity as a distant observer,” says Kolakowski. “Rather than accept your thought as the ultimate truth, you recognize that thoughts will come and go, but you don't have to believe them or act on them. You become an observer, saying to yourself ‘I'm having the thought that I'm going to be alone forever,’ and then try to explore that thought with curiosity."
“Creating a new relationship with your thoughts is freeing,” says Kolakowski. “You may not be able to control what thoughts pop up, but you can control how you respond to them. And you can control what action you take."
Ajahn Amaro notes:
“We tend to think that our thoughts are oppressive,” says Amaro, “and that therefore we should make them go away…Oftentimes meditation instruction is about stopping your thinking, as if thoughts are a kind of brain disease, an infection, an intruder. But the very act of pushing them away, and adopting the sense that they’re intrinsically intrusive, actually makes them more powerful. Rather than relating to them in that way, there’s another attitude we can have toward them—not taking them personally.”
He adds that the vast majority of our thoughts are, at best, random, and at worst, destructive. “One of the first things I emphasize when teaching,” he says, “is that 5% of our thoughts are actually meaningful and relevant, and 95% are replaying movies, music, and recollecting. It’s mostly just debris. I often encourage people to look at it like listening to neighbor’s radio–you understand the content, you can hear the words; you might sometimes get excited about an ad, or a talk show. But you don’t really care on a personal level. You relate to your neighbor’s radio in a non-personal way—we can have the same relationship to activity of the mind. It doesn’t have to make a big story around the thoughts. It’s an attitudinal shift.”
#thoughts #thinking #shift #mindfulness #meditation #anxiety #givelife
Emotions are part of our daily lives. The breadth of feelings within the human condition are what makes life interesting, exciting and dynamic. Our experiences influence our moods, and our thinking plays a big part in how we feel.
Unfortunately, life is not always positive. For many of us, it is only a matter of time before we are confronted with relational, social, career-related and familial changes. These adaptations are normal, but create certain emotional states. Depending on our prior experiences and beliefs about ourselves, the world and others, our biased reactions may become distressing. This stress becomes problematic when it does not improve, increases in consistency, and impacts our social, occupational and other important areas of our lives.
Major Depressive Disorder affects over 16 million people in the United States. Typical reactions include issues with sleep, appetite, weight changes, loss of energy, interest in daily activities and pleasure, decreased focus or concentration, thoughts of suicide and more. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of depression, self-help techniques may not be enough. It can be difficult to find appropriate social supports and tools to reframe many of our negative thoughts.
If you find yourself struggling with your symptoms, I recommend finding a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in your area.
According to the Beck Institute, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior.” For mild and moderate depression, CBT has been shown to be as effective as psychotropic medication.
Depressed mood is part of our lives, but suffering doesn’t have to be.
Here are 3 ways you can try to improve your mood:
1. Increase your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and situations when negativity seems strongest.
I know it’s overly simplistic, but just because you think something doesn’t make it true.
In our culture, we confuse thoughts and feelings, and are likely to believe our thoughts are biologically ingrained and incapable of change. CBT labels these reflexive thoughts as “automatic thoughts.”
To combat the distress created by automatic thoughts, beginning a process of observing our thinking and feelings in a non-judgmental manner and paying attention to situations when we are more sensitive to negative emotions is imperative. This practice deepens our awareness of our thoughts, connects them with specific situations, triggers and themes, and can improve our confidence in managing our own internal pain.
2. Deepen your commitment to yourself and people who make you feel good.
When it comes to depression, the best cures are action and increasing social supports.
But this is the insidious nature of depression. When we do not have the energy, interest, sleep or concentration to engage and connect with activities or supportive loved ones, we don’t do it. If we continue not to do something, we feel worse and become more likely to avoid the task. This sort of self-defeating emotional reasoning — “I feel, therefore I am/think…” — can be a significant impediment in moving forward in our lives.
Empowering ourselves by committing to a goal of activity and supportive connection is a disciplined way of exercising self-care and self-compassion. Both of these concepts are vital in combating depressive episodes.
3. Practice daily self-care and self-compassion.
I know it sounds simplistic and contrived, but you have to regularly take care of your physical and mental health. But don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think.
Self-care might include exercise, spending time with supportive others, in nature and by yourself, psychotherapy, nutrition, personal training, massage, intentional nothingness (e.g. being intentional in doing nothing), coping cards, reading and many more activities.
Self-compassion might include treating yourself with love and kindness, decreasing self-blame and self-loathing, increasing emotional tools and coping mechanisms, and more.
Rather than thinking of your depressed mood as being representative of you, try thinking of it as a cue or reminder that it’s time for some self-care and self-compassion.
And with that, I’m off to spend some time with my family outdoors. Here’s hoping you find something to rejuvenate, recharge and refresh yourself today.
Nick Holt, LCSW is a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT therapist in West Los Angeles, California. As an BBB Accredited Business, he runs an intentionally small, part-time private practice for clients looking for targeted mental health treatment and support on weekends and evenings. His specialties include treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss for survivors of suicide, and support for suicidal ideation.
Raising a small child brings all sorts of challenges. Lately, I've found myself waking up early and preparing lunches. During these pre-dawn hours, I've fallen in love with a number of podcasts and listen to them regularly.
As a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT therapist in West Los Angeles, I was highly impressed by Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller's first episode of Invisibilia, "The Secret History of Thoughts". It was a compelling exploration of our thoughts and an interesting analysis of mental health's view of thoughts.
The contrast of psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness and meditation was useful and relevant not only for people experiencing symptoms like depression or anxiety, but also a good reminder for me as a therapist.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
From the article:
"An addiction, goes the emerging understanding, begins with a flash of pleasure overlaid with an itch for danger: It’s fun to gamble or to drink, and it also puts you at risk (for losing your rent money, for acting like an idiot). Addictions bring pleasure, though they also build up a tolerance over time, as the addict requires more and more of the behavior (or substance) to get the same hedonic hit."
"Compulsions, by contrast, are about avoiding unpleasant outcomes. They are born out of anxiety and remain strangers to joy. They are repetitive behaviors we engage in over and over to alleviate the angst brought on by the possibility of negative consequences. If I don’t check my phone constantly, I’ll miss an urgent demand from my boss or will feel like I don’t know what is going on. If I do not religiously organize my closets, my home will be engulfed in chaos. If I don’t shop, it will be proof that I can’t afford nice things and am headed for homelessness. “A compulsive behavior is one that’s done with the intent of decreasing an overwhelming sense of anxiety,” said Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation. The roots of compulsion lie in the brain circuit that detects threats, which is abnormally active in people with OCD and other compulsions."
Great work and an informational piece. Read more here.
This post was originally featured on WellnessUniverse.com.
I recently became a Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT). The ACT is the only cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) certifying agency in the world.
Joining this elite group of therapists is quite an honor. There are many therapists in the world that can say they are CBT trained but only 750 people in the world can say that they are CBT certified.
One of the greatest benefits of being an ACT Diplomate is joining their ListServ. Some of the most prestigious CBT therapists in the world are on this list and share their perspectives on a daily basis. Unfortunately, much of this information does not get outside this small network and the clients they work with.
In a recent ACT ListServ email from Reid Wilson, Ph.D., Dr. Wilson shared some helpful videos about anxiety relating to his new book Stopping the Noise in Your Head. I thought the videos were fun and demonstrate important concepts in CBT.
About Dr. Wilson: He has spent much of his 30+ year career providing free or inexpensive ways to help people combat anxiety and worry, and encouraging them to seek CBT services when appropriate.
In promoting his new book, Stopping the Noise in Your Head, he released a free video series called Noise in Your Head, which follows a young woman, Susan, in her struggles with anxiety.
Here are a few of the highlights from each video:
This post was originally featured on HuffingtonPost.com
Being an eager, determined, and active male within my personal and professional roles, I understand the inherent challenges when it comes to living and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. It is also a frequent complaint encountered within my role as a therapist working with men. These conversations often start off like this:
"I'm functional. I have a good paying job, I'm dating, having sex, I'm happy. I'm close with my family and have quite a few close friends. I eat well, I exercise, take good care of my body, and I like myself. I maintain an active lifestyle and seek out new opportunities for growth and personal development. There's nothing wrong with me, so why should I consider seeing a therapist?"
There are many ways to answer this question. For the purposes of this article, I focus on two responses.
1) Few of us fall into this ideal on a consistent basis.
Yes, fundamentally and cognitively, we know exercise, diet and nutrition contribute to better mental states. That nature provides us the opportunity to connect with our spirituality, to rejuvenate, and relax. We know giving back to society, mentorship and volunteering reap deep intrinsic rewards. We understand management of stress is vital, and to do so, we need to carve out time to play, be creative and relax. We've heard the importance of healthy and intimate relationships; of the benefits afforded to processing and exploring recent events and stress. But really, who has time to do this?!?
Too often, we have competing interests in our day-to-day lives. With pressures coming from employment, peers, family, household chores and more, our daily tasks often become hasty, triaged decisions based in reaction rather than prevention.
This makes sense. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a forum where member countries discuss issues and policies relating to economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development. The OECD reports people in the United States of America (USA) work more hours per year, and have more employees working "very long hours" than the average nation. Collectively, the USA ranks 33rd out of 36 nations when it comes to "time devoted to personal care and leisure," an outcome which contributes to poor physical and mental health.
Furthermore, our society reinforces a minimized view of such therapeutic activities and encourages other means of support instead. Roger Walsh states, "(these activities) require considerable and sustained effort, and many (individuals) feel unable or unwilling to tackle them. (Individuals) often have little social support, little understanding of causal lifestyle factors, and a passive expectation that healing comes from an outside authority or a pill." He identifies advertising as a main method of refocusing us onto more economic, and easier, ways of soothing these desires. These mechanisms include "self-medicating" via alcohol, nicotine, unhealthy food and other compulsions, which, at a certain point, become unhealthy and suffer from the psychological concept of habituation, the perceived benefits yielding less and less relief over time. These societal messages are further reinforced by many of our friends, family, employers, co-workers and many others.
What can we do?
Stress exists in all of our lives. It is not a question of if we will experience stress, but rather how we will deal with it. My colleague Ken Howard, LCSW recently listedsome warning signs when it comes to your lifestyle. Here's what I think:
2) Seeing a therapist can be helpful in moving from reaction-based decision-making to a more proactive approach. In doing so, we create an environment for preventative health care and move toward a more balanced lifestyle.
Like seeing a doctor for regular check ups and evaluations, seeing a trained mental health professional on a regular basis can be a great way to maintain consistency in perceiving, evaluating, interpreting and responding to the overwhelming complexity making up our daily lives. In fact, with many mental health symptoms seen in primary care physician settings, there is a push within the field to integrate mental health treatment earlier and more often in physical health treatment as well. Very few of us are allowed the conversational space required to explore the deep cognitive and emotional impact of our daily lives, not only on our minds but also on our bodies.
Given the challenges outlined by Walsh, being proactive over your lifestyle is imperative. In order to move toward a more proactive view of your lifestyle and healthcare, I believe integrating mental health treatment or coaching into one's schedule is vital. Prior to a mental health evaluation, it is important to have specific goals in mind. For example, if you are stuck, one goal could be to gain clarity. Other helpful hints in searching out a therapist include interviewing your therapist to ensure they are competent in approaching your unique situation (some great sample questions here), and to establish mutually agreed upon goals prior to beginning treatment. There are exceptional treatment protocols in the field of mental health including resolving uncertainty via Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as discussed in my last post.
This post originally appeared on HuffingtonPost.com
As a mental health professional, I can't help but think about how my favorite TV shows, books and music apply to healthy mental living. For instance, I am a big fan of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The images are striking. The writing, brilliant. It taps my imagination, and reinforces my thoughts and beliefs via scientific research and theory.
In a recent episode called "Unafraid of the Dark," I was struck by a discussion about how the factors that influenced the advancement of science and humanity parallel the tenets of a healthy philosophy for daily living.
Here is the excerpt:
It was the work of generations of searchers who took five simple rules to heart:
You can use deGrasse Tyson's five simple rules to encompass a broader view of personal growth, too. Taking them to heart can help us be more scientific in our thinking, which can lead to a more empathic understanding of ourselves and others in our daily lives.
For instance, I connected deGrasse Tyson's first three points to the biases we hold in our daily lives. As briefly discussed in my last blog, cognitive distortions (or biases, a slightly less judgmental word) are always in play. It is not a question of if we are biased in our thinking, but rather a question of if we are aware of such a bias influencing our thinking, e.g. personalization, emotional reasoning, etc.
A tool for all of us to better examine our thinking, and how our thinking influences our moods and behaviors, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). From its inception, CBT has become the most widely researched and evidence-based form of psychotherapy. In some cases, research has demonstrated its being as effective as psychotropic medication.
As Tyson talked about his fourth and fifth points, the frame of CBT was screaming through my mind. Some of the ways CBT provides a more structured and scientific approach to our thoughts, feelings and actions includes identification and evaluation of feelings, "automatic thoughts," intermediate beliefs and core beliefs, role playing, behavioral experimentation, examining the evidence, and many, many other mechanisms.
The most important portion of Tyson's commentary is the fifth point. Tyson talks about how "even the best scientists were wrong about some things," and it's similar to how we can and should move forward once we accept the inevitability of our own errors.
We do not achieve growth in our lives without missteps along the way. Ideally, acknowledging this will help soften our own tender approach and playful response to adversity in our lives when it comes. If we can't acknowledge our missteps, a real danger emerges in which we believe ourselves to be unequivocally right. In doing so, we often lose empathy towards ourselves or others.
Research demonstrates what happens when we lose empathy in our relationships, and communicate with vehicles such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. The effects can be devastating on marriages, leading to a host of negative effects like lack of communication, emotional flooding, withdrawing from the relationship, even leading to affairs (1).
By better examining our thinking through a more scientific process and softening our internal and external response to failure, we are better able to continue our journeys in personal growth in order to advance ourselves, those around us and, hopefully and ideally, mankind.
(1) Gottman, John M., and Nan Silver. (1999). "How I predict divorce," in The Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work (Chapter Two, 25-46). New York: Three Rivers Press (Random House, Inc.)
Mental Health and Therapy Writer. As featured on Huffington Post, Vox Media and elsewhere.