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CBT :: Challenging Those Pesky Automatic Thoughts

CBT ::  Challenging Those Pesky Automatic Thoughts

Are your thoughts, both conscious and those just beneath the surface, keeping you from success and living the life you desire? Have you heard the saying, "thoughts are not facts? These thoughts that interfere with health and happiness sneak up on us fast, some louder than others, and many are like background noise wreaking havoc on your life. Many thoughts need to be challenged because they no longer serve you and actually keep you looping in misery or feeling "stuck." One successful and time-tested strategy for working with coaching or psychotherapy clients is helping them learn to notice the "automatic thoughts" that have a deleterious affect on relationships, mood, anxiety, behavior and general outlook contributing to negative quality of life and poor health. 

Automatic thinking refers to the automatic thoughts people have in response to things happening around them. The goal is not to judge these thoughts that occur, but to develop awareness and then learn to challenge and replace them with more realistic thoughts thus breaking the cycle of negative impact. I've included a helpful CBT tool from Psychology Tools, a resource that I regularly use with coaching and therapy clients to interrupt negative thinking. 

Prompts For Challenging Negative Thinking (Use the list of prompts below to help you assess the truthfulness of your negative thinking).

What thought do you notice?

Evidence

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

About Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy, also referred to as insight-oriented or depth therapy, is an approach in which client and therapist work together to explore and resolve the underlying and often unconscious issues and conflicts that create difficulties in their lives. Because this approach focuses on the recognition and resolution of the root causes of clients’ problems, much of it being unconscious, it is a powerful technique for facilitating true and lasting change in addition to providing symptomatic relief.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

Women, Feelings And Medication: The New York Times Article That Stirred Debate

There was plenty of talk this week in therapy sessions, and much of it about the cold, snowy weather! And, the article in Sunday's NY Times called :Medicating Women's Feelings. "Did you read that they asked?" "Yes I did, what were your thoughts?" I responded. My clients, both male and female, found it thought-provoking and an interesting read. In it, Psychiatrist Dr.Julie Holland writes:

"Women are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others.

These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of health, not disease; it is a source of power. But we are under constant pressure to restrain our emotional lives. We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical."

Holland does discuss how anti-depressants clearly help some people, but she also discusses the high numbers of women who are treated with them. If you read the article you may have asked many questions including: Was the article sexist? Are women moodier, and if so, do they need to be subdued in order to be "good girls" and better behaved? Do we over or under-diagnose women's emotions and mood difficulties?

Good question! Emotions occur on a spectrum and they come and go with moment to moment, day to day, week to week shifts. Would loading a patient with cognitive strategies, support or helpful coping skills make life a bit smoother.  What role do the pharmaceutical companies play in deciding what gets treated? Are many women suffering unnecessarily, when medication could create ease and balance in their lives. Should women experience guilt and shame over their depression especially when medication helps them feel and function better?

It's not a quiz, and there likely are no absolutes here, but rather a bit of this and that. Everyone is different with varying degrees of tolerance and the ability to regulate emotions. It's important to evaluate depression carefully and with a sensitive and flexible approach. I have great faith in the elegance and effectiveness of interpersonal psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship,  support, cognitive restructuring and increasing both depressed men and women's coping skills. Sometimes, an individual may need more help and I'm a big believer in not suffering needlessly. I am always more than happy to make a referral to a trusted psychiatrist for a medication consult.

NYC Therapist Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a skilled Psychotherapist, Relationship and Stress Reduction Expert in New York City. She provides therapy, EMDR & Coaching to individuals and couples. Her expertise includes: anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, self-esteem, trauma, addictions, self-esteem, loss, transitions, crisis therapy, stress management and goal attainment. Kim Seelbrede's post-graduate training includes psychoanalytic psychotherapy, CBT, DBT Skills, EMDR, life coaching, mind-body integrative therapy with the Urban Zen Foundation and couples training with The Gottman Institute. Her private practice is located in New York City or thera-coaching and remotes sessions online via Skype.

 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

Better Mood Monday

It's Monday -- OH NO! Monday tends to generate mixed reviews. Some are happy to return to the structure of the week, others not so much. If your mood isn't quite as you'd like it to be, here are some suggestions to increase positive emotions and banish the blues. Like most things, it takes some work and practice -- and when you feel down, tying your shoes can be a huge effort -- give it a try, and maybe fix your mood in a few easy steps. Here are some suggestions:

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

Get Out Of Overdrive: Managing Your Anxiety

You don't need to hit rock bottom to finally get serious about finding ways to end feeling anxious and strung-out. There is nothing heroic or magical about living in a state of overdrive -- yes to everything, you over-extenders, super-producers, deadline junkies, caffeine & adrenaline high seekers (you know who you are!) -- you will crash, it's just a matter of time. Millions of adults suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Some individuals will begin anti-anxiety medications for the first time, while many sufferers are now dependent on anxiolytics, like Xanax, to fall asleep and to manage their anxiety throughout the day. As a therapist who treats anxiety and mood disorders, I know how helpful antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be for many. Without these pharmacological interventions, many would suffer serious, debilitating symptoms. Not a great way to live managing symptoms 24/7. I'm not knocking medication, but one problem that I've observed, is that, because of the ease of medication, anxiety sufferers fail to to try or develop helpful techniques or natural remedies first, before reaching for a pill. Many have difficulty tolerating discomfort and they've learned to find quick fixes as a solution. However, there are those who, armed with a little patience and motivation can learn the skills that can help them take control of their symptoms.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.