Posts Tagged With: cognitive distortions

Day 1757: Don’t take it personally

Don’t take it personally, but I’m reusing a photo from two days ago to start off this blog post.

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Don’t take it personally, but I’ve personally blogged about personalization — the cognitive distortion of taking things too personally — several times before (including here, here, and here).

Yesterday, my niece Laura

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(on the left, next to her daughter Victoria) told me that people might take it personally when I recently blogged about a get-together at my place next weekend, because I hadn’t invited them.  I told Laura, “Don’t take it personally.  That’s a gathering for a professional organization of group therapists.”

I hope Laura and Victoria don’t take it personally that I didn’t take a better picture of them yesterday.

Don’t take it personally that I personally took all these photos yesterday and you’re not in any of them.

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Actually, don’t take it personally that I said you weren’t in any of those photos and you are, because you’re my ex-sister-in-law Deborah (who appears in several portraits above and who designed and built another beautiful home for sale), Cher,  Audrey who works at Pet Life, or Harley the cat.

Don’t take it personally that I have to rush and finish this post before I go to work.

Don’t take it personally that I’m using Michael Brecker’s tune “Nothing Personal” again in this blog.

Please take it personally that I’m thanking everybody who helps me create these blog posts and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 1632: This place matters

This place matters, because we’re here, now.

Your place matters, no matter where you are.

This place in downtown Boston matters:

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The place where I’m writing this blog matters, even though we’re leaving it this summer. Yesterday, I took care of legal matters in selling this place.

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The law matters, every place.

My office —  where people learn to recognize and reduce  cognitive distortions — matters.

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I placed that sign back up on my office wall yesterday, because those cognitive distortions matter. Does it matter that I’ve placed parentheses around the feelings caused by those all-too-common human and automatic thoughts?

Do these photos of other places matter?

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The meals that Michael places on our plates matter, because they are SO delicious.

Searching “this place” on YouTube matters.

When I was in a difficult place as a kid, seeing David McCallum on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. mattered a lot to me.

Your comments make this place matter much, much more.

Gratitude matters!  That’s why I place it at the end of every post.  Many thanks to all who help me place my daily blog on WordPress and — of course! — to you, for placing yourself here.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1629: What helps and what doesn’t help

When I help people join my therapy groups, I tell them we will work on doing more of what helps and less of what doesn’t help. I help people understand that by saying, “What helps and what doesn’t help  might include thoughts, behaviors,  and other people.”  Because it helps to change old habits by writing things down, I helpfully suggest they keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help them.

Because it helps to know you’re not alone, I explain that I also keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help me.

What helps me?

  • Acceptance.
  • Love.
  • Creativity.
  • Flexibility.
  • Peace.
  • Connection.
  • Nature.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Blogging.
  • My work.
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Groups.
  • Mutual healing.
  • Curiosity.
  • Openness.
  • Authenticity.
  • Music.

 

What doesn’t help me?

Does it help to look at these photos?

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What also helps me is gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1623: What thoughts intimidate you?

What thoughts intimidate you?

Your own thoughts?

Other people’s thoughts?

These days, I am more intimidated by my own unhelpful thoughts than I am by other people’s thoughts.

Any thoughts about my photos from yesterday?

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Do any of those thoughts or photos  intimidate you?

Yesterday, I was not intimidated by the thought of becoming President of the Northeastern Society of Group Psychotherapy (NSGP). Nobody else seemed intimidated by the thought of that, either.

Tonight, after another full day at the NSGP annual conference, I’m going to see the intimidatingly talented jazz guitarist, Pat Metheny.  I just searched for “Pat Metheny intimidating” in YouTube, and here‘s what came up:

Please leave any thoughts in a comment, below.

Thoughtful thanks to NSGP, to Erica (a board member from the New York affiliate group therapy organization), to Steve Cadwell (who ran yesterday’s “Group Therapy as Theater” Workshop), to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Pat Metheny,  to everyone else who helped me create this (I hope!) non-intimidating post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1606: Self conscious

I am very conscious that many selves have shared being self conscious this week, in individual and group therapy.

Yourself, are you conscious of the meaning of “self conscious?”

self-con·scious
adjective
feeling undue awareness of oneself, one’s appearance, or one’s actions.
“I feel a bit self-conscious parking my scruffy old car”
synonyms: embarrassed, uncomfortable, uneasy, nervous

Why do so many selves feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, uneasy, and nervous about awareness of oneself?  This week, self conscious people described pain, mind reading, personalization, paranoia, projection, isolation, and a drastic restriction of activities.  This self is conscious of a wish that consciousness of self could lead to  self-confidence and self-worth, not self-judgment.

Should I feel self conscious about today’s photos?

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I don’t think cats are particularly self-conscious.

Here’s Ellen being self conscious:

I am conscious that I, myself,  love comments from my readers.

Conscious gratitude to all who helped me create this self-conscious post and to you — of course! — for being yourself, here and now.


Minutes after I published this post, I became conscious of today’s New York Times piece on being self conscious.

Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1605: Guess what? I’m nuts! Really nuts!

Guess what? I’m nuts about getting my morning-blogging inspiration from a nutty snapshot.

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Guess what?  I’m nuts, really nuts because I

Guess what?  I’m nuts, really nuts about taking photos and putting them in my blog.

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Is it nuts for me to repeat the wisdom in that last photo?

It’s the strangest thing,

how happiness comes out of nowhere

and inflates your soul.

Guess what?  I’m nuts, really nuts about nutty music.

I’m nuts, really nuts about

  • getting comments from my readers and
  • expressing thanks to all with words and nutty pictures.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1599: Bad habits and good habits

Because I’m in the habit of asking people in therapy groups to express their thoughts and feelings on paper, yesterday I asked a group to write down their bad habits and good habits. I also have the habit of reminding people that we tend to focus on the negative, so I encouraged people to make their list of good habits as long as possible. We discussed how much easier it was to identify bad habits, perhaps because we take our good habits for granted.

I have a habit of including photos to illustrate my blogging points:

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Because I have a bad habit of hastily taking pictures when I’m in a hurry, I cut off one of my good habits in the second photo above.  I have the bad habit of sometimes forgetting the good, so I can’t remember what that good habit was. I think the first word is “ask.”  I do have the habit of asking lots of questions, like this one: can anybody guess what I wrote there?

I’m trying to break my bad habit of being in a hurry, but I had a good reason for rushing yesterday: I had to get things done before signing a Purchase & Sale agreement. Soon, I’ll be developing the habit of living near the water!

I also have the habit of taking pictures that magically fit whatever topic I choose for my daily blog post.  Do you see any evidence of bad or good habits here?

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That’s Jessica, who was at Whole Foods Market last night giving free samples of Nada Moo! — a coconut milk-based alternative to ice cream.  Michael, who is trying to break the bad habit of eating too much cholesterol, bought two pints.  I’m also in the habit of including people I like in my blog and Jessica was a GREAT salesperson.

I also have the habit of sharing music with my readers.

I hope you have the habit of leaving comments for bloggers.

One of the good habits I listed above was “expressing appreciation.”  Many thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1591: Helpful

If you read any of my helpful posts on this blog, you’ll see that I use the word “helpful” a lot.

I shall now provide helpful links to my four previous helpful posts with “helpful” in the title (here, here, here, and here).

I wonder if it’s helpful for me to remember that the last time I wrote a blog post about a word I use frequently (Day 734: Actually), somebody actually tried to be helpful by advising me about how to use that word less. Is it helpful for me to confess that I don’t want to use the word “helpful” less, because I like the word “helpful”?

Is it helpful for me to speculate why I like the word “helpful” so much?

I guess I like to be helpful to other people, especially in my work as an individual and group therapist. I also think it’s helpful for me to remember that people I want to help are in control of any helpful changes I might wish for them. Perhaps it would be helpful to quote this helpful lightbulb joke right now:

How many psychotherapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

One, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.

Here’s my first helpful photograph from yesterday:

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It might be helpful if I explain that photo. “Is that a helpful thought?” can be a helpful challenge to any cognitive distortion, including shoulds, fortune-telling,  catastrophizing, mind-reading, blaming, labeling, comparisons, and overgeneralization. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a helpful book by Mark Manson.

Are any of my perhaps inexplicable photos from yesterday helpful?

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Since people liked the octopus cookie in yesterday’s post, I thought it would be helpful to take and share that last picture.

Here‘s a helpful video from YouTube:

I always find comments from my readers very helpful.

Helpful thanks to all who helped me create this post and — of course! — to helpful you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1579: Action

When people take the action of joining my therapy groups, I recommend these weekly actions:

  1.  Do something mindfully, using your senses to stay in the moment.
  2. Take one action you think would be helpful.
  3. Notice and challenge an unhelpful thought.

For example, I am writing this blog post mindfully, using my senses to stay in the moment. I just took the helpful action of writing an email to my realtor, expressing my thoughts and feelings about a property.  My next action is to notice unhelpful thoughts about an action I took yesterday:

I’ve made another mistake.  I should have known better.

Here’s the action of challenging that unhelpful thought:

 Everybody makes mistakes.  I’m doing the best I can. Every mistake is an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

Yesterday, my actions included:

  • Voting for myself to be the next president of a group psychotherapy organization,
  • Putting an offer on a house near the water,
  • Expressing appreciation for the departing interns at work, and
  • Facilitating two therapy groups.

Every day, I take action shots and share the action here.

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When I show up at YouTube and gently search for “action” there, it’s true that I find this:

If you think it would be helpful to make a comment below, please take action.

My final action in this post?  Expressing gratitude to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for your action of visiting this blog today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1562: The mind

I hope you don’t mind that I’m starting out this post with a drawing of the mind that I did not draw.

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My mind noticed that drawing of the mind on the white board of my fellow psychotherapist, Megan, yesterday.  My mind is now doing its best to remember Megan’s explanation of that drawing — I believe it represents confusion on the top of the mind and the attempt to go deeper into the mind, past the confusion.

I hope Megan, who reads this blog, does not mind the way I explained her drawing.

Because the mind makes connections and comparisons, my mind is now remembering a drawing of the mind I made several years ago (which figured in this old post, if you don’t mind my linking to that).

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My mind is now noticing that both Megan and I have observed that human beings often have negative and uncomfortable thoughts and experiences on the top (or the front) of their minds and that they have to work hard to get past those.

Indeed, my mind has been struggling, lately, to get past negative and unhelpful thoughts including fortune-telling, catastrophizing, mind-reading, comparisons, shoulds, and the other common cognitive distortions listed here (if you don’t mind another link in this post).

I hope you don’t mind that today’s post has so few pictures:

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As my mind thinks seriously and thinks honestly, it wishes I had photos of last night’s family Seder.  My iPhone was otherwise engaged, FaceTiming with my son Aaron (whose fine mind is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh). Family members asked me last night if I minded Aaron being so far away from me. My mind seriously and honestly answered this way, “I miss him, but I don’t mind, because Edinburgh is the perfect place for him.”

My mind now wants to share this with you:

My mind now has the strange feeling I’ve ended other posts exactly like this before:  Thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

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