Think this, not that

Rita A. Schulte, Counseling Today

What we say to ourselves has a powerful impact on our emotional state. That’s why teaching clients to notice their self-talk is such an important part of therapy. Today more than ever, attachment- and mindfulness-based therapies are helping clients experience emotional healing. Drawing from mindfulness therapy, I coined the term “the art of noticing.”

Noticing helps clients pay attention to their internal monologues and understand how their negative inferences affect their emotional states. Noticing is particularly helpful when working with clients who experience anxiety, depression and eating disorders because these clients are especially prone to negative self-talk. Because self-talk is so automatic, it is easy to dismiss its effect on clients’ moods and belief systems, but noticing is a first step in helping clients to:

  • Recognize cognitive distortions
  • Slow down their thinking
  • Take note of negative internal monologues
  • Identify and pay attention to triggers
  • Practice a nonjudgmental stance
  • Use effective counterstatements

Think this, not that | Counseling Today.

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