Thought challenging is a process in which you challenge the negative thoughts that often lead to anxiety or depression. With strong motivation, discipline and the right support from a licensed professional, negative thought pattern recognition can be re-structured and replaced with positive thought patterns. This involves three steps: (Identify, Challenge & Replace)
1. Identify negative thought patterns. Oftentimes, negative thoughts patterns (that create anxious feelings) are seen as more dangerous than they really are. To someone with a spider phobia, for example, burning down the house when a spider is in the sink seems like the best scenario. Although the thought seems silly, it may still create anxious feelings. So first you should ask yourself: “What was I thinking when I started feeling anxious?”
2. Challenge negative thought patterns. Second, a therapist can teach you how to evaluate “triggers”, or anxiety provoking thoughts. This involves questioning the evidence for your frightening thoughts, analyzing unhelpful beliefs, and testing out the reality of negative predictions.
3. Replace negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified the irrational predictions (negative thoughts) you can replace them with new thoughts that are more accurate and positive. A therapist can assist and teach you strategies during this step, and even re-create anxiety provoking situations to test your new skill.
This process is simple to understand and even easier to execute if you have strong motivation for change and employ a skilled professional to assist you.
Pace Counseling Group is a professional counseling firm located in San Antonio, Texas. We are focused on continuously improving the quality of life for our clients and their families. To learn more, visit us at Pace Counseling Group or call (210) 481-3727.