Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Workshop
Appropriate Expectations about Your Efforts
This is a good time to talk about appropriate expectations for how much you will be able to modify your thoughts and feelings. The goal here is not to keep from having distressing Automatic Thoughts or feelings ever again. They won't go away completely. To believe they will is unrealistic and will just lead to frustration and discouragement. Instead, an appropriate goal is that you will be able to modify your thoughts and feelings from a small to a moderate amount. With more practice, you may be able to do much more. For many people though, even small changes can mean the difference between being able to function despite having strong feelings on the one hand and being immobilized by them on the other. Reducing the intensity of your feelings by modifying your thoughts can have an amazing impact on your daily life.
Along the same lines, an appropriate goal would include being able to respond quicker and more effectively to your Automatic Thoughts with practice. This will allow you to manage your emotions before they become overwhelming to you. You will also be able to recognize your Thinking Styles much more quickly. Sometimes people even find humor in their use of Thinking Styles. The realization, "There I go 'personalizing' again!" can take the sting out of a situation very quickly.