In my various roles as a mother, a friend, a psychologist, president and a board member of a psychological association, I meet a variety of people with different outlooks on life. Most people have their own opinions on how to do things. However, if I were to take everyone’s opinions as fact, I would be befuddled, and confused, and sometimes, paralyzed.
To help me deal with several different perspectives, I need my own set of tools to help filter the information I receive. That way, I can analyze any given puzzle to find the solution that best works for me.
In a nutshell, that is what cognitive behavioral therapy is. It provides tools to help one look at the world in a certain perspective. Cognitive behavioral therapy strives to adjust one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, so as to help one function in the world better.
A trained cognitive behavioral therapist can help your child see the world differently from how he or she is accustomed to seeing it. We work on helping children recognize their thoughts as separate and apart from themselves; we work on talking back to those thoughts. Moreover, we work on knowing when something can’t be changed and how to accept that.
A cognitive behavioral therapist teaches children how to be responsible for their own actions, and not those of others. When you change how you act, you can change other people’s actions and reactions as well. And when we change our thoughts and actions, our feelings change, too.
In the end, it’s not the only way to view the world. But it’s about helping your child grasp the way that might make sense to him or her. And if it does, then it’s the best way to effect change.