Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a brief-oriented therapy that helps change emotional states by changing thoughts, limiting beliefs, and other cognitive distortions. This form of therapy is widely accepted as a treatment of choice by many, if not most, therapists today. It’s a good complement to other forms of therapy including Internal Family Systems Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Ego-State Therapy. directive types of hypnotherapy and NLP (All of the approaches I use)
Basically, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy presupposes that it’s our interpretation of events, rather than the events themselves, that cause the negative emotional and/or behavioral consequences we experience in a given situation. In the chart below are the elements of subjective experience upon which Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Elements of Subjective Experience
A = Activating event (Trigger)
B = Belief about the event (A) (The movie we make)
C1 = Emotional Consequence (Resulting emotional state)
C2 = Behavioral Consequence (Our actions or reactions)
As you can see above our beliefs (B) determines the movie we see in our mind… or the meaning we make of an event which in turn determines our emotional state.
Our resulting emotional state (C1) has an impact on the actions we choose or the reactions that chooses us… Our actions are proactive behavioral choices (C2) that we make about how to respond after first considering all the available options. Our reactions are reactive behavioral choices (C2) that we act-out automatically when triggered.
Reactive responses are grounded in limiting or irrational beliefs (B), also known as cognitive distortions in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy language. All of the elements of these reactive “buttons” that get pushed exist in our subconscious mind on well-established networks or programs that run automatically on cue… all of the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, memories, self-talk, and even the physiology is part of the network.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy does not necessarily concern itself with why we have the beliefs or where they came from… Rather it seeks to identify, dispute, and refute them so they can be replaced with more accurate and rational beliefs. Once faulty beliefs are replaced, the emotional state of the individual (or Part-of-Self) is more manageable and congruent with the situation in question.
The Precision CBT and LSPM Worksheet
The Precision CBT and LSPM worksheet is a fillable PDF I’ve developed for clients to use in identifying the Part-of-Self that is holding the strong limiting belief that we want to work with. (See the “Part 5: Mental Filters & Normalcy” Bias video)
Download the LSPM worksheet below. Always save a clean copy as a back up, save the one you are working on in another name. You can collect them and compare one to the other to see a bigger picture of how a system of beliefs can form and how we can zoom in on each part of the system with precision.
Hi, this is Don Carter. In this video, I want to go over how to integrate the Precision CBT model with the life scripts and parts matrix model. I call it Precision CBT because is it helps us to zoom in on the memory network or the ego state or the part of self that we want to focus on. It's important to point out that this process is most useful after an emotional trigger has been tripped and we've reacted in some sort of way that we don't really authorize or that we find uncomfortable. So, to begin with, we have an activating event.
An activating event is anything that happens that triggers an emotional response, especially one that we don't like. That emotional response then will lead to behavioral choice. Now, the emotional response is labeled to see one because it's consequence one of what just happened, and C two is consequence to the behavioral choice that we made about how to respond to what just happened. The behavioral response is also usually undesirable. It may be that we lash out at another person, or we lash in at ourselves, or we engage in some addictive or flight behavior of some sort, or we just collapse into the pain.
But the behavioral choice then will lead to a new activating event or it will close the loop. Now, you'll notice here that the loop is not entirely closed. It's only a half of a loop. Something's missing. What's missing is the meaning we made out of what just happened.
And that's a belief system that's programmed into us based on our prior experiences. It wouldn't be a trigger if it didn't trigger something that was already there. So it's the belief system or the meaning we make out of what just happened that leads to consequence. Number one, our emotional response. I like to think of it as watching a mental movie about what just happened, and my emotional response is going to be congruent with that movie I just watched.
If I'm watching a boring documentary in my mind's eye, then I'm going to feel bored. If I'm watching a horror flick, I'm going to feel scared. If I'm watching a travesty, I might get angry. Whatever the feeling is, it's a response to the movie that I'm watching or the meaning that I'm making out of what just happened. And when it's an emotional trigger of some sort, the meaning I'm making or the movie that I play in my mind is usually rooted in some prior experience in the past, usually childhood.
So essentially what gets triggered is a memory network that has encoded on it the experiences that I had in the past, the belief systems that came out of that experience. I may have made meaning about myself or about other people or about the world in general. And I organized that into a mind movie. Now, if you'll notice the loop when it's closed, there's only really two places where we can intervene. One of them is on the meaning that we make out of what just happened.
The other one would be the behavioral response that we choose to the emotions that come out of the meaning we make out of what just happened. Now it's more difficult to change the behavior, especially if it's an addictive or compulsive response that comes from a traumatic connection or memory network. As we'll see in the moment, it's more effective to begin working at the level of belief systems. This is because the meaning that we give to what just happened is only one possibility. If we were to play with all the possibilities, we may come up with dozens of possibilities of meanings that we can ascribe to what just happened and the meaning that we give it will determine the emotional response that comes from it.
So if we don't like our triggered emotional response, we need to back up a step and take a look at the belief system that triggered it. Is it valid? Is it an echo from the past? Is it possible that there is some other explanation or other meaning that we can give to what just happened? Now, right here, it's important to point out that as soon as an activating, event or trigger gets tripped, the speed in which we go around that loop is less than a second.
So as we're learning this process, it's important to unpack a situation that happened or a trigger that occurred using this diagram in order to learn from it so that we can adjust it on the fly in the future simply by changing our belief system into something a little more accurate or a little more useful. When we do decide to challenge our belief systems, this is when we bring out the live scripts and parts matrix model again, we can't trigger something that isn't there.
So, when we do get triggered into an uncomfortable emotional state, the belief system that triggered it is encoded on a memory network that contains all of the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings of the experience as it occurred originally. Every time we experience this trigger and go around this loop again, we strengthen the belief system involved, which causes it to occur. More and more often, these habits of thought become so real they seem to occur all by themselves, as if we're passive victims of the triggering events that keep happening.
A lot of times, then we'll focus on trying to sterilize our environment so that we don't encounter those triggering events. And when we do encounter them, we blame someone else rather than fix the problem. These cycles get so deeply ingrained that they become subconscious programs that run automatically. We don't have to remember to do them, and we don't have to supply any energy to do them, even though it's our energy every time we go through that.
So when the experiences are painful, what gets triggered is our self-preservation system that's made up of all those instinctive survival responses such as fight, flight, freeze, submit, and attach in integrative psychotherapy, we add together various complimentary approaches to healing these reactive parts of self, ego state therapy, inner family systems therapy parts work, and the CBT model.
We want to Zoom into the memory network which we may refer to as a part of self or an ego state, in order to heal that part of ourselves either by releasing the emotional toxins related to the past event or tweaking the belief systems attached to it. In order to do either one of those things, we'll need to access our growth mode.
In growth mode, we have available to us the core self, which I call the CEO of the Self, and in transactional analysis they'll call it the Adult Ego State. But it's the part of Self that does all the executive functioning and it resides in the thinking brain. And when we're Proactive and we switch on the thinking brain to process what we're doing with what just happened, we can develop that dual awareness between growth mode and survival mode so that the growth mode can help heal the wounds from the past.
With all of our adult resources available to us, including the nurturing self and the protective self and the spiritual true Self, along with the problem solving executive functioning CEO of the Self, we can bring all of those forces to bear on healing the wounded inner child or the wounded parts of self that are so reactive. We must have this dual awareness of our adult growth-oriented self along with those reactive parts of Self that caused the difficulties that we face.
In order to develop and strengthen that dual awareness, we have A B one, C one, and C two related to the reactive parts of Self, and B two with a C one, and a C two related to the Proactive adult self. So, what we want to put in B one is what part of self got triggered and what are the beliefs that go with that, and how did those beliefs lead to a certain emotion? And what was the Behavioral response?
Once we have identified all of the elements of the reactive parts of Self involved in the issue that we're confronting, then we want to switch on the growth oriented adult self and begin to problem solve choosing a new, more accurate belief or meaning for what just happened, one that will produce the kind of emotional response we want C1, as well as selecting a suitable behavioral choice that can come out of that Proactive problem solving and decision making process employed by the Adult ego state. So remember, in order to develop new habits, neurons that fire together, wire together, there needs to be intensity and repetition in using this process in order to establish and develop the new responses that you'd like to have. With these new skills in place, it will be much easier to do the releasing of the emotional toxins that came from traumatic or painful experiences in the past. It may not do any good to release those toxic emotions and so forth if we keep accumulating them by allowing unhelpful and limiting beliefs to continuously get triggered. Thanks for listening.
I hope you found the video helpful. Remember to download the worksheet below and practice on a regular basis.
Thanks for reading Internet of the Mind! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.