As I have mentioned recently, I planned to present the the skills and techniques of Act therapy in my post this week. Today I will talk about "Cognitive Reframing", Reframing is not a new concept. This it is a technique or skill that is frequently associated with CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Its origins most likely began with Dr. Victor Frankyl who was the the originator of Logo Therapy. Dr. Frankyl believed that it is not so much the event that causes us to have an emotional reaction, but the manner with which we think about or interpret the event that causes us distress. How we see the world, or interpret the events that occur in our world, has much to do with what is frequently referred to as "our frame of reference", It is interesting that the word frame exist within this phrase. It is our history, our past relationships, and the events that have happened in our life, that has a great influence regarding the manner with which we perceive our world. What does it mean to us when our partner tells us that they are angry about something, yells at us, or accused us of doing something to intentionally hurt them?. What sense do we make of it? We might assume they just want to start an argument, but what if that were not their intention? What if they just wanted to clear the air because they value your relationship, feel hurt, and want to be more intimate with you? It might even mean that your relationship matters to them? How do we feel about ourselves when they are angry with us? Did their comment stimulate self-criticism, or some self-deprecating internal comment? The way we feel about ourselves often has a powerful impact on the way we interpret what happens in our life. It is not only possible to see the situation differently, but also to change the way we view ourselves. We are all familiar with this process to some degree, however, most of us do not use it consciously much of the time. Many of us have said to ourselves, "It is another miserable rainy day", and then found ourselves changing our perspective, we might then say, "oh well the rain will be good for the grass, and shrubbery will get the watering it needs". We might have felt a slight shift in our mood as we changed our thinking about the rain. This technique may seem very simple, however, many of us do not use it to help us feel better about ourselves. It is likely that we use it even less, when we find ourselves in conflict with those we care about.
What is Cognitive Reframing?
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