In the intricate tapestry of the human mind, there are moments when threads of mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt weave together, creating a complex pattern that can be challenging to untangle. These elements often coexist and influence one another, leaving individuals feeling trapped in a cycle of despair. However, it’s crucial to understand that there is hope, and with the right support and strategies, these chains can be broken.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 25, 2023 cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, negative self talk, negative thinking, negative thoughts, self compassion0 comments
The Interplay of Mental Illness and Negative Self Talk
Mental illness and negative self talk are intertwined in a way that can exacerbate each other. For individuals grappling with conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, negative thoughts often become a pervasive and distressing companion. These thoughts can take various forms, such as self-criticism, self-blame, or catastrophic thinking.
Negative self talk in mental illness often follows a pattern:
- Distorted Beliefs: Individuals may hold distorted beliefs about themselves, their worth, or their abilities. These beliefs are often irrational and not based on reality.
- Automatic Thoughts: Negative thoughts can pop into one’s mind automatically, triggered by specific situations or emotions. They often reinforce existing negative beliefs.
- Emotional Impact: Negative thoughts can intensify emotional distress, leading to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or anxiety.
- Behavioral Consequences: The emotional impact of negative self talk can influence one’s behavior, leading to avoidance, social withdrawal, or self-destructive actions.
The Vicious Cycle: Mental Illness and Self-Doubt
Self-doubt is a common and distressing aspect of mental illness. It’s the persistent feeling that you are incapable, inadequate, or unworthy. Mental health challenges can magnify self-doubt, creating a destructive feedback loop:
- Mental Illness Triggers Self-Doubt: When mental illness symptoms flare up, individuals often question their ability to cope, manage daily life, or recover. This self-doubt can intensify feelings of vulnerability.
- Self-Doubt Magnifies Mental Illness: The more one doubts their abilities, the harder it becomes to confront and manage their mental health challenges. This self-defeating attitude can impede recovery.
- Avoidance and Isolation: Self-doubt can lead to avoidance behaviors, where individuals withdraw from social interactions or situations that trigger their self-doubt. This isolation can worsen mental health symptoms.
Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Healing
Breaking free from the chains of mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt is a journey that requires courage, patience, and support. Here are some strategies to help individuals navigate this challenging path:
- Seek Professional Help: The first and most crucial step is seeking professional support. Therapists, counselors, and psychiatric proivders can provide guidance, therapy, and medication if necessary.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is an evidence-based therapy that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns. It teaches practical skills to reframe negative self talk.
- Medication: For some individuals, medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner can help alleviate symptoms of mental illness, making it easier to manage negative self talk and self-doubt.
- Self-Compassion: Learning to be kind and compassionate to oneself is essential. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same warmth and understanding you would offer to a friend in a similar situation.
- Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can reduce the grip of negative self talk.
- Support Networks: Building a support network of friends and loved ones who understand and provide empathy is crucial. Support groups can also offer a sense of belonging and validation.
- Set Realistic Goals: Setting achievable goals, no matter how small, can boost self-esteem and confidence. Celebrating even minor successes can counter self-doubt.
- Patience: Healing takes time, and setbacks are part of the journey. It’s essential to be patient with oneself and recognize that progress may be gradual.
Mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt can form a powerful and stifling alliance. However, it’s crucial to remember that recovery is possible. With the right support, therapy, and self-compassion, individuals can break free from these chains and regain their sense of self-worth and purpose. Mental health is a journey, and each step toward healing is a courageous act of self-empowerment.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 17, 2022 adult therapy, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, counseling, counseling for anxiety, counseling for depression, counseling for depression pittsburgh, counseling monroeville, counseling near me, counseling pittsburgh, counseling south hills, counseling wellness, counseling wexford, depression counseling, depression therapy, generalized anxiety disorder therapy pittsburgh, greensburg counseling, how to get the most out of therapy, how to reach your goal, mental health, online counseling, psychotherapist, searching for a therapist in monroeville, searching for a therapist pittsburgh, south hills counseling, stress management, therapist in murrysville, therapists, therapists for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy in wexford, therapy pittsburgh0 comments
If you’re here, congratulations on taking the first step and beginning therapy! Deciding to go to therapy is a major step in overcoming issues like anxiety or depression, healing trauma, getting support to cope with difficult life transitions, managing stress or working on developing healthier relationships. We asked the therapists at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh to share their suggestions for how to get the most out of therapy.
- Be consistent with your appointments. When we go to physical therapy after an injury, it is only by being consistent in our treatment that we get better in a timely way. Mental Health Therapy is the same.
- Have an accurate perspective on the role your counselor has. They are a facilitator, helping you identify goals, steps for reaching these goals, and barriers that may get in the way. The therapist is not there to ‘fix’ you, the work is on your part.
- Timing is important and change happens over time. We may not be ready to address every concern or goal at the same time. As long as we keep working on what is important at the time, we are making progress and moving forward. To get an accurate perspective on your growth, don’t just look ahead at where you are not, look back at where you were and how far you’ve come.
- Put in the work. The therapy hour is once per week. While therapy offers skills, opportunities for discovery and ways to challenge your thought patterns and beliefs, it works best when these tools are applied outside of the therapy office and in between sessions.
- Keep a therapy journal to take notes during your therapy session as well as notes throughout the week to be addressed during your next session. This helps keep treatment productive and makes sure that clients are reminded of things important from their sessions during the week.
- Therapy is about change. Be eager for change in your life. Be willing to challenge yourself.
- Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. Therapy is a process, and mental health is an ongoing journey.
Ready to Get Started With Therapy?
Call 412-322-2129 to get scheduled with a therapist or fill out the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJuly 20, 2022 cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, how to deal with loneliness, loneliness, reframing cognitive distortions0 comments
* a phrase coined by psychologist Jennifer Abel.
Loneliness, typically defined as the discrepancy between a person’s desired and actual social relationships, affects more than half of U.S. adults (58%). Additionally, Americans with mental health issues are more than twice as likely to be lonely than those with strong mental health.
Lonely individuals approach social encounters with a hypervigilance for social threats; they preferentially attend to negative social information; they remember more of the negative aspects of social events; they hold more negative social expectations; and they are more likely to behave in ways that confirm their negative expectations.
Research suggests that loneliness is not a fixed trait and can be improved or worsened by social interactions. Therefore, opportunities for social connectedness have the potential to improve the quality of social interactions and keep loneliness at bay.
How do we create these opportunities for social connection? What can we do about heightened sensitivity to social threats? Here’s our therapist recommendations for how to deal with loneliness.
- Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to identify the automatic negative thoughts you have around rejection and how other people perceive you. Then think of alternative or “better but believable” thoughts* that can help you have more neutral feelings.
- Look for and engage in everyday points of connection, even small ones, if it’s safe to do so. For example, wave to the neighbor down the street taking their daily walk, or engage in the impromptu casual conversation the person in front of you in line at the grocery store may start as you wait, usually about how you both always choose the longest line, etc. Those points of connection help you identify with others and underscore that while you may feel isolated, often you share a common experience with others.
- Are you feeling lonely with people you know? Maybe it’s time to hit “pause” with your current friends and build new relationships.. Look to see who has “friend potential.” If people are asking you to hang out and it seems intriguing, take a chance.
- Identify something you would enjoy or do enjoy or feel committed to and seek out a volunteer opportunity. You don’t even have to commit tons of time- it can be a one time step to start to see if you like it, and you`ll still garner the benefits of connection and being of service. Like animals? Seek out a volunteer opportunity at a local animal shelter during a pet supply drive or adoption day. If environmental concerns are more your thing, participate in a local clean up day and bond with your clean up crew as you compete to see which crew can stash the most trash! The options are as unique as you are! Who knows, you may even get to meet folks who share similar interests, which is an added bonus.
- Be the first to reach out to others. Many people remain lonely because they wait for others to engage with them or take the lead in setting up social interactions. Social people continually take the lead in calling, texting and making plans.
- Many people approach their social interactions in terms of what they get from them. They think, “What will this person do for me?” “How can *I* feel better from this social interaction?” This backfires. Instead, approach social interactions with the mindset of, “What can I give this person?” “How can I make them feel better?” Ultimately, people like being around people who make them feel good. If you focus on making the other person feel good rather than yourself, you stand a better chance of making a strong connection with the person.
* a phrase coined by psychologist Jennifer Abel.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 2, 2022 adult therapy, anxiety, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, counseling, depression, Emotional Health, emotional intelligence, emotional iq, exercise for gratitude, goals, gratitude, mental health, personal growth, therapists0 comments
Our therapists are here to offer mental wellness support with specific interventions to treat all major mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, grief and trauma as well as relationship issues or any life stressors that you are dealing with. We teach you new coping skills for a variety of relational, emotional, and psychological issues so that you can enjoy your life.
While each counselor has their own specialties and approaches to therapy, there are several key things that most therapists want you to know.
Read on for 10 things your therapist wants you to know.
- Talking to a friend is not a replacement for therapy—therapy is strategic, focused, and an application of scientific methods to heal. Friends can offer support and connection but can’t replace therapy.
- Therapy is a safe place where you can be yourself without feeling judged. We won’t judge your story.
- Healing doesn’t happen from attending a weekly appointment. You heal by applying the skills, solutions and methods that you discuss in therapy during all of the hours in between sessions.
- It is ok to tell us anything and everything you are experiencing or have experienced: feelings, thoughts, intentions, behaviors etc. You’d be surprised that what you are sharing is something we have most likely heard many times before and it is not shocking.
- We’re not irritated by reviewing the same information over and over. Change takes time and practice.
- Setbacks are just learning opportunities — we won’t be disappointed in you.
- It may get worse before it gets better. Talking about tough emotions, situations and past traumatic experiences may be painful at first but is necessary in order to process them and change.
- The opposite of depression isn’t happiness. Often times folks who experience clinical depression make an assumption that they continue to be depressed or are not getting better even after symptoms decrease because they are “not happy” (with life/career/partner). The marker they use to determine depression is happiness vs unhappiness. When people learn that happiness takes work, it can be freeing for them and they have an easier time accepting their progress.
- Therapy can be challenging. It is not easy. But first work on developing a therapeutic relationship with your therapist. Once you have a solid foundation, you are able to work through so much. Be patient with the process.
- We won’t say hello in public unless you do first.
It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this life journey with each and every client we see.
Interested in Starting Therapy?
If you are ready to start therapy, you can call us a 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 4, 2019 Behavior Therapy, CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, Cognitive behavior therapy near me, cognitive distortions, Cognitive therapy, maladaptive assumptions0 comments
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a common buzz word and psychological term, but what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? According to the Beck Institute, In clinical terms, it is a specific theoretical therapy that is used as a psychological treatment. Since its creation in the 1960’s by Dr. Aaron Beck, CBT has been proven to help reduce the symptoms associated with a range of mental health concerns including diagnoses like Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse, PTSD, Marriage and Relationship issues as well as many other chronic mental health concerns. CBT has been clinically proven to be as effective as medication in many instances. At other times, CBT is a helpful adjunct to medication therapy. Specifically, CBT helps the patient or client to identify the ways in which their thoughts and behaviors contribute to their mental health concerns.
The basis for cognitive behavioral therapy is embedded in the idea that psychological problems are at least partially influenced by maladaptive thought patterns. Furthermore, CBT recognizes that mental health issues are further solidified within unhealthy patterns of behavior that make our mental state feel worse. Finally, CBT provides a way to manage this and develop more helpful and constructive ways of dealing with patients’ lives and the issues that come up in them.
Changing the way that we think has a profound effect on our well-being. Remembering; thoughts become feelings and our emotional state affects even our heart rate and breathing patterns. A common way to enact CBT involves several steps.
First the patient begins to recognize their distorted thinking patterns, particularly the ones that are “created” emotional reactions.
An example would be: ‘I always mess up relationships.’
The next step becomes to challenge the maladaptive thought with a more healthy or realistic thought. In the example above it would be helpful to examine the use of ‘always.’ Instead, a healthy way to frame the above thought might be to make the statement, ‘My last relationship didn’t work out but I learned a lot from it.’
By managing our thinking instead of being overcome by it we empower ourselves and set up a more positive feedback loop to our thoughts, feelings, mind/body connection and even into our relationships. Another benefit to CBT is that problem solving skills are enhanced. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very much focused on the present, in contrast to psychoanalytic counseling which will spend a lot of time fostering informed connections between early childhood experiences and present day defense mechanisms and mental health concerns. In CBT, your therapist is most concerned about what is happening in the here and now, and it is within the present moment that we have the opportunity to change.
The therapist and client collaborate in a mutual fashion by challenging unhealthy thinking, enhancing the development of positive emotional feedback loops and by planning for enhanced wellness. Just as with all forms of counseling, it is not just about the therapy that happens in the 53 minute hour, but CBT especially uses homework exercises to help the clients solidify the changes that they are working on. CBT is one of the most effective tools and some therapists will use it along with other forms of therapy to further benefit the clients’ needs.