You may feel that the risks and discomforts of therapy are too great, the chance of success too low. You may have already tried and failed. Your patterns may represent deeply worn grooves, a complex family history, a range of current stressors. At the Cognitive Health Group we view these challenges as a normal. And we provide Motivation Enhancement Skills to help you overcome inertia and sustain your effort.
Conflicting Feelings About Change are Normal
It’s normal to have conflicting feelings about therapy—to long for a healthy lifestyle, while at the same time continuing to engage in unhealthy behavior. This happens because the emotional rewards tied to dysfunctional patterns can be quite powerful. Your brain will work hard to maintain them.
Instead of feeling ashamed, and labeling yourself as “weak” or “resistant”, it’s imperative that you accept and normalize conflicting feelings and carefully define your motives, both for and against change. In this way you can better understand what’s holding you back, and more effectively anticipate and prepare for situations that threaten to knock you off track.
Setting Values-Directed Goals
You may gravitate toward goals you believe are expected, normal. You may be just going through the motions of change. If your goals are empty, devoid of true meaning, then you will lose your motivation. When choosing goals for therapy, it’s important to consider your values: what is truly meaningful, what matters most for you. Your priority may be your relationships, physical health, your career, a spiritual practice. Setting up goals that relate to areas of true meaning, that are values-directed, will fuel motivation.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
CBT is about taking large, overwhelming goals, and breaking them down into small, attainable steps. In this way, you can achieve what may seem impossible. The “S.M.A.R.T” acronym can help. It stands for Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Time-Bound. Making goals S.M.A.R.T can help you get the job done.
Working with Your Therapist
In CBT it’s important that you take an active role in your recovery, to courageously face your fears, try out new responses, to give it your very best. Your therapist will serve as expert guide, supportive teacher and coach. It’s important, then, to establish an effective working relationship with your therapist. If you have questions or concerns about your therapist’s expertise or motives, please talk about it in your sessions. Research shows that an effective therapy relationship has a powerful influence on the success of therapy.