The word cognitive means the mind or thoughts.
Therefore cognitive therapy means "thought healing" or "healing through thoughts."
Cognitive psychologists conceptualize mental health challenges by looking at the interaction of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
They see this triad as interactive with each other. Meaning that our thoughts affect our feelings and actions, our actions affect our thoughts and feelings, and our feelings affect our thoughts and actions.
The problem arises when a negative cycle or "loop" begins. This happens when they keep feeding each other negative inputs that, in turn, create new negative outputs, and the cycle continues.
So how do we break this vicious cycle?
A behaviorist would encourage behavioral activations (dm me for the last article in the series that expands this point), which would distract the conscious mind and making it focus on the task at hand, preventing any additional negative outputs from disrupting and thus resetting the cycle.
A cognitive therapist would encourage CCC: Catch Check and Change the thought.
The first step is to catch the thought.
Trying to do this can be hard since usually, we are already in an avalanche of negative thinking by the time we notice how we are feeling and thinking.
One way to circumvent this issue is to journal.
Not journaling with prompts like five positive things that happened today.
Journal with free association, with complete freedom, no boundaries, no filters, and no restraints. Write whatever comes to your brain without holding back at all.
Check out tomorrow's post about what check out thoughts for and how to change them.
Which thoughts do you catch that you'd like to change?