Challenging Negative Thoughts

Depression, poor self-esteem, and anxiety are often the result of irrational negative thoughts. Someone who regularly receives positive feedback at work might feel that they are horrible at their job because of one criticism. Their irrational thought about job performance will dictate how they feel about themselves. Challenging irrational thoughts can help us change them.

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Challenging Negative Thoughts — 4 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for the amazing resource material and the ideas therein!
    I am a Speech Language Pathologist working in the field of fluency disorders from Pune, India.
    I had a query about the subsection on “challenging negative thoughts”. Is this therapy aid based on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy? I have REBT to be extremely useful to help persons with stuttering attain independence and long term control over their thoughts and feelings. However, as a part of REBT, I find that asking the PWS to make a mental note of “things that are not in their control” helps as well. What is your experience with using “acceptance of things not in control” for challenging negative thoughts? Do you think including that in the above form might be beneficial?
    Pallavi Kelkar

    • Good Morning, Pallavi, Thank you so much for reading this paper. Although I don’t have first hand faciliating REBT I am familair with the model. It sounds like your clients really benefit from this approach. Do you incoporate REBT with traditional speech therapy? Do clients respond to both speech therapy and REBT or one more than the other. This is all very interesting to me, especially having a SLP understand the importance of treating, not ignoring, the emotinal side of the PWS.

      To answer your question: I agree that Acceptance is an essential component of treatment. We understand that acceptance does not mean agreeing with what’s going in, it’s more or less accepting the FACTS and CAUSES which hopefully puts an end to the suffering and misery.

      We can still challenge negative thoughts for reality testing and assessing cognitive distortions. This is a valuable tool for PWS.

      For more about Reality Acceptance please refer to Dialetical Behavior Therapy, Marsha Linehan.

      ““Dialetics” is a complex concept that has its roots in philosophy and science….[It] involves several assumptions about the nature of reality: 1) everything is connected to everything else; 2) change is constant and inevitable; and 3) opposites can be integrated to form a closer approximating to the truth (which is always evolving).”

      Radical Acceptance in DBT
      Marsha Linehan, the psychologist who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), noted in her practice that there are two kinds of people: those who are beaten down by suffering and those who are not.

      She began to look at the four types of reactions people have to misfortune and broke them down. When something bad happens to us or when something does not go our way, Linehan observed the following responses:

      1. The person tries to change the circumstances.
      2.The person tries to change his or her emotions toward the circumstances.
      3.The person continues to be miserable.
      4.The person accepts the circumstances.

    • Hello, Pallavi, Thank you for reading this paper and contributing. I am familiar with REBT and have had first hand experience. Like so many therapeutic options the focus on changing the negative thoughts and experiencing positive neutral thoughts is essential in any practice. Though our work is not directly part of REBT, it works well within the model. I like to use the idea of “radical acceptance” of the stutter being what it is – just a stutter. I find managing the impact from negative micro misunderstanding and aggression from the audience to generally create the negative experience for the person. Using REBT is extremely helpful to work on acceptance of the stutter and reshaping the negative experience from the audience. Good to hear from you.

      Elizabeth Kapstein