I just had a REVELATION last night (listening to session #3) that I'd like to share with the list.
Now being a skeptic and a pessimist, I avoided therapy for a long time thinking it was stupid and only worked for gullible people (sorry).
I thought repeating positive things to myself to make me feel better was basically telling myself lies so I could screw reality and be happy. I thought I was too smart and that it wouldn't work for me.
But last night, I realized what potent a technique repeating things to yourself is. I realized:
THAT'S HOW I GOT THIS WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE!
All it took was some teasing in grade school and I got it into my head that I was awkward and that I had nothing good to offer.
As the years went by, without realizing it, I repeated this to myself over and over with every goof up, and every little mistake I made. I knew I was just a worthless loser, and that I had too good a grip on reality to believe in positive reinforcement.
But my "reality" had been shaped through repetition and reinforcement of negative thoughts.
Now I see the power in telling yourself things. It's a matter of perception, and perception is changed through repetition and reinforcement.
We're living proof of that.
Therapy is the same thing we've been doing for all these years, except it makes you feel better, not worse. For the first time in years I feel like life will get better.
So to all you skeptics out there unsure about the therapy, try and look at it in a different light.
Todd: This is a concise and insightful explanation of why cognitive-behavioral therapy works for social anxiety.
Whether we know it or not, we, as human beings, are continually doing "therapy" on ourselves.
We literally reinforce our own inaccurate, irrational beliefs by thinking, talking and acting in socially anxious ways. The more that time goes by, the more and more
we are convinced that we are nothing but our social anxiety.
We "learned" to have social anxiety (it is not our fault) and the only way we can overcome social anxiety is to "learn" to think, perceive, and believe more accurately and rationally.
Only a rational "learning" therapy, which is what "cognitive" means, has the capacity to do this in our brains. And, we must have brain changes or we stay stuck in the vicious cycle of social anxiety for the rest of our lives.
Social anxiety has kept us bound up for years in misery and pain, and it will continue to do so until we begin to "learn" to think more rationally about ourselves and the social situations we live in. Only cognitive therapy for social anxiety can do this.
This message has the potential for changing thousands of lives... thank you, Todd.
-- Dr. Richards