Feeling stuck? Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can help!
Feeling stuck? Here’s how cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can help you to deal with ways of thinking that are holding you back.
It may not be a technical term, but I’m a great believer in simplicity, and the term ‘stuck’ seems to me the best way to sum up that feeling of wanting to make a change in life, but somehow feeling unable to do it.
Whether we want to make a big change like changing career, or a seemingly less significant change, like joining a gym to get fit or starting an evening class, we can sometimes be left with a feeling of inertia. Even worse, we may also be unclear about why we’re stuck and why we can’t seem to follow through and make the change we want.
Are ‘thinking errors’ to blame?
When we’re feeling stuck, it’s useful to look at how our patterns of thinking are affecting us – are what psychologists call ‘thinking errors’ holding us back?
‘Thinking errors’ are inaccuracies in our way of thinking, and mean that rather than being based in reality, our thinking is based on flawed logic. Thinking errors mean that we can end up with thoughts like “there’s no point in trying, it’ll never work anyway”, which prevent us from taking action, even though if we explored these thoughts we might realise that they’re not actually true.
How cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can help
Where our thought processes and ways of thinking are stopping us from taking action, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can really help.
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy integrates cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques with hypnotherapy. CBT is a well-established approach that’s one of the main treatments for a range of issues, including anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it’s hugely useful for encouraging positive behaviour change. A key part of CBT involves examining any negative or unhelpful thought patterns, and working to change them.
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy employs CBT techniques to help you understand any unhelpful ways of thinking that are holding you back, and uses hypnosis to replace these old patterns of thinking with new, more accurate, and beneficial ones.
Key ‘thinking errors’
There are many different types of ‘thinking errors’, and below I’ve outlined a few of the key ones that can stop us from taking action. If you’re feeling ‘stuck’, think about whether any of these ‘thinking errors’ might be to blame.
Albert Ellis, the grandfather or cognitive behavioural therapy, coined the phrase ‘musturbation’ to describe the situation where we have a list of things that must happen in our lives or ways that others must behave.
This can lead to us waiting until we feel that circumstances are absolutely perfect before we take action and make positive changes in our lives.
- Fortune telling
‘Fortune-telling’ is a thinking error that involves making assumptions about the likely results of our actions. Often, it involves assuming that something negative will happen, even though we don’t have any real evidence that it will. This can lead to us deciding to do nothing at all.
- Mind reading
When we ‘mind read’, we assume that we know what other people are thinking about us. It often involves thinking that others are criticising us or focusing on our flaws and weaknesses, even though we have very little actual evidence that this is the case. All too often, it’s our own critical view of ourselves that’s causing us to assume that others think in a similar way.
Over-generalising ‘always’ or ‘never’ thinking can really hold us back. We may feel that we’re never any good in certain situations, or that something bad always happens, when the truth is that few things are that, black and white.
It would probably be more accurate to replace strict terms like ‘never’ and ‘always’ with more flexible ones like ‘rarely’ and ‘sometimes’. This can make a real difference in terms of us recognising the positives that have occurred in the past, and being able to build on these in the future.
- Over-focusing on weaknesses
When we’re not taking action, it’s sometimes because we feel we haven’t got the skills, knowledge or other resources to do so. The problem is that many people underestimate their personal resources, over-focusing on weaknesses and failing to recognise the strengths that they have.
A positive way forward is to change the way you think; focus more on what you can do with what you have, rather than over-focusing on what you lack.
The way forward
The great news is that once we start to identify negative, unhelpful thought processes, we’re able to begin thinking in more accurate, useful and beneficial ways. This is something you can do on your own or with the help and guidance of a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist.
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