Most of our thoughts happen involuntarily. We don’t consciously decide what we’re going to think — the thoughts just happen. They occur from the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night.
These automatic thoughts may be positive, negative, or neutral. However, if you’re living with a mental health condition, many of these thoughts will likely be negative.
One of the goals of CBT is to help you identify these negative automatic thoughts and challenge them. Your therapist may encourage you to think about evidence that either proves or disproves the beliefs, or to provide alternative explanations.
For example, people living with contamination OCD may perceive an everyday event — like eating in a restaurant — as life-threatening. CBT would help this person evaluate and challenge this thought, replacing it with a more realistic alternative.
Although this sounds simple, challenging automatic thoughts is far from easy if you tackle it alone. Our CBT therapists can guide you through the process, ensuring progress while moving at a pace that works for you.