Based on the work of Aaron Beck, M.D., Albert Ellis and others, Cognitive Therapy provides the best relief from symptoms of depression, anxiety, rage and anger disorders, compulsions, and many other conditions that impair human functioning.
According to Padesky and Greenberger, there are five areas of living most affected by stress and improvement in any one of them improves the other four. These areas include environment, mood, physical health, behavior and thinking. We can affect our environment, or be affected by it. When we make changes in our environment, meaning work, school, the people in our lives, we can improve our mood, behavior, physical health and thinking. For example, we can change jobs, start a new relationship or move to a new city. These changes can makes us feel better emotionally. They can give us the opportunity to perceive things (or think) differently (maybe you can plan a career move or refinance a loan when before you couldn’t think of a solution). When we make environmental changes, we may behave differently (for example, make new friends). Changes in mood, meaning our feelings (e.g., happiness, sadness, worry, etc.) can be altered by medication, drugs or alcohol. As a result of feeling happier, our relationships could improve (environmental change), we could behave better (perhaps start exercising), our physical health can improve (maybe we would feel less pain or be less bothered by it). Our health can be a source of stress or can be affected by stress. When we have an illness, or pain, stress can make symptoms worse. Treatment of a physical illness can make the other four areas improve. That is, when we feel better physically, others notice and treat us differently (that is environmental change), we are in a better mood (emotional change), we think more optimistically (cognitive change), and behavior better (behavioral change). Behaviorally, what we do and how we act can cause stress or can be affected by stress. If we do things that are constructive and successful, we can improve the other four areas of our life. Although we can make changes in our environment, our physical health, our mood or behavior, we have most success changing what we believe, our opinions, perceptions and thoughts. Through Cognitive Behavior Therapy, we identify thinking patterns that are not logical and therefore cause an intensification in negative mood. Then the cascade of negative mood, unsuccessful or ineffective behavior can impact our relationships negatively as well as our physical health. The downward spiral causes sadness to turn into depression, worry into anxiety and anger into rage. The affects over time are crippling emotional disorders.
6 STEPS TO BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
A small improvement in any one of the above 5 areas has a general healing effect on the other four. Following these 6 steps can change your life by improving your emotional health.
- (Step 1) First identify the upsetting event causing the stress.
- (Step 2) Identify what you are thinking about that event.
- (Step 3) Next, we ask yourselves how this way of thinking makes you feel, how it affects your environment, behavior and physical health.
- (Step 4) Rate the intensity of your mood on a scale from 0 to 10.
- (Step 5) What evidence supports your belief and what evidence can you think of that does not support it? What is another way to think about this event? Right down your new opinion or view of the upsetting event. Are thre illogical opinions or beliefs intensifying your mood?
- (Step 6) Go back and rate how strongly you believe the original belief and the associated moods. Rate them again on a scale from 0 to 10.
In therapy, Dr. Kovner will teach you how to initiate a program of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. He will guide you through the process of countering your irrational beliefs and support your independent use of the program through the termination phase of treatment.
Call now for an appointment for an initial interview at (770) 729-0123.