CBT and Me

My whole soul rebels against structured things, always. I think I spent the first two months “forgetting” to do various cognitive behavioural therapy homework assignments. The week she finally said, “just write anything,” I suddenly became compliant, but last week she strode in and said, “before anything else, I need to give you homework!” I bleated, “but I do homework every week!” “Structured homework,” quoth she, in ominous tones – and my heart sank.

She sketched out a table with the following headers:
Date and situation.
Emotion and intensity out of 100.
Automatic thoughts and images. Rate how much you believe that thought out of 100.
Cognitive distortion.
Rational response. Rate how much you believe in this response out of 100.
How much do you believe in the original thought out of 100?
Further action. Do you need to take some further action in light of the rational response?

Surely she has more tricks up her sleeve on this one beyond focusing on the rational response? Because I’ve spent a lot of my life acknowledging that shitloads of my responses to things are totally out of whack, and in many cases I ignore my irrational shit and, ‘feel the fear, do it anyway’. The rest of the time, my chickenshit ass is hiding under the duvet, thank you very much. (If I told her the aforementioned, she’d probably say, “cognitive distortion: mind reading”.

The thought haunts me throughout, that she’s going to tell me it’s all wrong. I’ll have filled it out wrong, my thinking will be wrong. Rational mind says, “don’t be daft; even if it’s not filled in right, she’ll just help you in that nice, helpful-hamster therapist way”. So it’s just me telling me that I’m wrong, as usual. I’m ‘catastrophizing’, to use the jargon (it’s like gymming and gifting, you can verb any noun you want these days).

Argh.

Like the intellectually agile and therapised (see?) lab rat that I am, I’ve even interrogated myself about why I’m so resistant to it all in the first place. I suspect the answer is that it threatens my status quo, the web of coping mechanisms I learned during a decade or so of abuse and the generally dysfunctional life thereafter. Conventional wisdom will say that’s great, because undoing those threads will allow better structures (eek, that scary word) to be put in place.

Yes.

Well.

I don’t actually have a smartassed response to that one. I’m just scared. If that web goes, I don’t see a trainee psychiatrist being able to put me back together in however many sessions we have left. Okay wait, she’s got an experienced supervisor and I’ve got my usual psychiatrist too.

I’ll run it by her and let you know what she says.

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24 responses to “CBT and Me

  1. I hate structure too. I don’t do CBT well either – it’s the homework. And an unwillingness to let go of whatever is plaguing me, I suspect, because the alternative is (or was?) alien to me.

    I dunno. I know I am going to be expected to use CBT when I qualify – I know it works for a lot of people – in fact, if done properly, it might even work on me, but it’s not my favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ebola, I think CBT can teach some amazing tools. I think it’s v situation dependent and in the case of bipolar, can work as a supplementary/complementary thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You and no smart ass response? I’m flummoxed (I have no idea if I even used that word in the right context but I felt a need to keep up to your superior vocab…no, seriously…)
    You’ll be fine with this. I have great faith in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is no right or wrong here Blah. And I have to say I found myself remembering my own reticence and ‘scaredshitlessness’ when I started CBT last year. Its hard to let go of the behaviours we have used to cope for so long and sometimes what is put in their place doesn’t work as well for us as what was before. Its a crapshoot a lot of the time. I took the best of the CBT and dispensed with the rest of what I saw as bullshit. But there again, we may end up on the same hamster wheel if we do that. I felt no one knows me more than me! But that is why I ended up there in the first place. Life sucks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, ps, my psychologist didn’t give me homework?? whats up with that.. Life is hard enough as it is. She surveyed my progress as I went along every month I had to take ten minutes out of the session and fill out a ‘questionaire’ which measured my progress or lack thereof….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. CBT has been a big help for me with anxiety, but not so much with depression. First, I don’t have the energy, and, somewhat sadly, when I get depressed, I often sink down into a comfortable, miserable state that isn’t really conducive to CBT. I really need to work on that, but seeing my therapist once every 9 weeks if my appointment isn’t canceled and moved out 9 more weeks, we really can’t work on anything. I’m switching to a new provider an hour away, they say they can see me every 3 weeks. Still not good, but better. Sorry about rambling like that…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hear you Blah! We go for ABD, we go for CPT, we go for CBT, we get DVT’s and on and on and on! When does something work? When do we glue back the pieces that abuse or mental illness or whatever shattered to smithereens? Im trying too, no 3 letter acronyms but reading a lot of books and doing the talking to my little self and self compassion. Still wake up feeling like absolute hell! Sometimes I just want to stop, but I have a son and I can’t stop. Best wishes for success to you and to me. Xxxooo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I often think that having kids must be the best motivation for change. Lol re the acronyms jeeeeeez they pile so many of those on to us.

      Like

  7. After all those juicy, perspicacious comments I’ve got nothing profound to write except to say that I’m *very* curious to see what she says, so yes – please let us know after you run it by her!!! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • She said something about it being early in the process, and that she will be discussing it with her supervisor. That was after me discussing the fact that I can see the rational side even when I’m being irrational etc. I didn’t tell her I was scared of having my safety mechanisms removed though, I was worried she’d say something like good habits would replace the bad ones and I’d be fine.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I felt the same way with something I got from my therapist: shit, I filled it in ‘wrong’. But it wasn’t ‘wrong’, and I recognized that. The word I ended up settling on was ‘creatively’. I finished it creatively. Colored outside the lines. That’s okay. <3

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My therapist wants to start CBT with me and hasn’t. I’ve been changing meds and blah blah blah…..But I would be terrified of the homework. I would have an anxiety attack over whether I was doing the homework right.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. BP do you think that maybe it isn’t the homework that scares you, but the idea of change? Change scares the hell out of all of us. ;) I’m the odd one out here, but maybe reminding yourself that you don’t have to make any changes unless you decide it’s good for you might be helpful.It’s a trick I use if I’m facing a change that has me anxiety ridden. G-uno

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hate homework. It’s like I have to think of all of the stuff I hate not only in therapy, but outside of therapy too!! I mean, that’s the idea probably. I’d just rather pretend everything’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. First visit here and I just wanted to thank you for your honesty, candour, humour and for showing me something pretty significant about myself….(brought it round to ‘me’ quick enough didn’t I?! Tsk)
    I’ve berated myself for not doing (with any frequency or what’s that nasty word?? ewww..structure!) all the good stuff I know personally and professionally (work it as well as live it…what were the chances?!) are helpful. Well, goodness knows I advise everyone and their dogs to meditate and journal, to notice and reframe…. it’s mainly the dogs that run with it- til they find their next stick that is (or was that me?…) I digress (how could I not?!) But do I practice what I preach? Rarely…..
    I had me pinned as just being a bit of a quitter, lazy even…added it to the pile of shame and discarded impulse buys…. but ….but….what you’ve said regarding this aversion makes so much sense, I am queen of not letting go! Just look under my bed or in any drawer…(mind your head, and excuse the dust!) Of course it makes so much sense that by reallllly doing that stuff properly would require letting go of (panic not, I won’t list them!!) …. of all that.
    Now it’s fair to say I am a fan of ‘any excuse’ ……. but this has really got me thinking.
    I’ll be back, thank you again !

    Liked by 2 people

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