Reasoning With Your Self

"I'm stupid, no good." "My situation is hopeless." "It may be true for other people but not for me." "Nothing works, I give up."

The Greek philosopher, Epictetus, summed up his prescription for mental health long ago: "Men are disturbed not by things but by the view which they take of them." In Shakespeare's Hamlet, we catch the same point, "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Beck was founder of CT or Cognitive Therapy, possibly the most extensively clinically investigated of all psychotherapies. Dr. Beck believed that if you could reason persistently with anyone going through mental or emotional breakdown - or better yet, get one to reason with himself or herself - you could help free the person from the stranglehold of negative, distorted thinking.

Reasoning with your self, the cognitive therapeutic approach, therefore, is to change your point of view. It invites your self to be more critically aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that depress you. It directs you to systematically challenge the validity of your thoughts and replace them with more positive, realistic alternatives. By persisting, you can gradually lift your self out of mental disorder or internal anguish.

Ready now to "talk back" to your automatic thoughts?