Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach that focuses on the messages that we tell ourselves. The underlying theory of cognitive behavioral therapy is that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are connected. Mistaken or irrational thoughts lead to painful emotions which lead to unwanted behaviors. According to CBT, it is easiest to begin to change the underlying beliefs (also called negative thoughts).
Cognitive behavioral therapy is much different than positive affirmations. While positive affirmations can be useful if they resonate for the person, cognitive behavioral therapy allows people to challenge underlying negative thoughts.
Challenging Negative Thoughts
We all have negative thoughts, which are critical messages that we tell ourselves. Common negative thoughts are
I'm not good enough.
I'm a fraud.
Other people are more successful.
There is something wrong with me.
I'm not lovable (or likable).
If I had been better, bad things would not have happened.
Unfortunately, many people feel alone with these negative thoughts. People tend not to share them, so we all assume we are the only person who thinks this way.
These negative thoughts can also seem very true. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people start to challenge these negative thoughts and see a bigger picture.
Negative thoughts are common. In a Stanford study, 85% of professionals said they felt like a fraud.
We say critical things to ourselves that we would never say to someone else. Most people are much more compassionate to others. Cognitive behavioral therapy can allow people to cultivate self-compassion.
Negative Thoughts Are an Attempt at Self-Protection
Negative thoughts have a reason for existing. People don't just randomly create negative beliefs about themselves. Often, traumatic or stressful experiences lead to negative thoughts about oneself or others. Perhaps, it's a way for a victim to feel some sense of control during or after trauma. Sometimes, people are internally repeating things that a parent or caregiver said or implied many years ago.
These beliefs made logical sense when we created them, even though they were not and are not actually true. Often, these negative thoughts were created when we were kids. Then we continue to believe them as adults without fully questioning them.
CBT Can Help Change Negative Thoughts
I tend to use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR therapy, and mindfulness to help people change these negative thoughts. Changing the thoughts can allow people to change their behaviors more easily and feel better.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has many different techniques. You can find out what works best for you.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in Los Altos
If you are looking for a therapist in Los Altos, Deborah Sloss is a cognitive behavioral therapist in Los Altos.
Therapy Office in Sunnyvale
My office is in Sunnyvale, California on Wolfe Rd., near El Camino Real (also close to Santa Clara, Cupertino, and Mountain View). Parking is easy; there is a large parking lot.
1021 S. Wolfe Rd., Suite 255
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
I am a therapist/counselor in Sunnyvale, California. I work with adults, teenagers, and children. (LMFT Lic. # LMFT40414)
Please visit my therapy home page for more information about me.