Cognitive behavioral therapy is used by many therapists to explore your thoughts of loss and the grief that comes with them. This is certainly not the only therapy that is helpful for grief, but has been used to help countless people through unthinkable circumstances. Through CBT, your therapist can give you the space and tools necessary to grieve and heal in healthy ways. A good therapist will help you identify unhelpful thoughts and gain an understanding of how these thoughts are impacting your moods and behaviors. Through the use of Cognitive Behavioral therapy, or CBT, they will use strategies such as targeting behaviors, reframing and identifying distorted thoughts.
You may be thinking about getting help with your grieving but are not sure how anyone can help you through the sadness, loneliness and hopelessness you are feeling now. Others may pressure you to get back to life and to some resemblance of normal life. Many times people will not understand or even be able to comprehend what you are experiencing and their best efforts can be unhelpful at best and harmful at worst.
This is one reason many people have found counseling to be extremely helpful in their journey of grief. And I say journey because there is not a clear finish line and depending on the loss you are grieving your life may look very different now and in the future. This is where therapy like CBT can be helpful.
In Cognitive behavioral therapy your counselor will help you identify the unhelpful feelings you are experiencing. They can help you Reframe some of the events that you have experienced so they lose much of their negative impact on you. Even in the best of circumstances most of us have a natural tendency to interpret events through a lens of survival. In this lens we can fixate on the worst case scenario instead of something more positive that will serve us better. This is not changing the truth or lying to yourself about what happened. But, when there are various scenarios to choose from; it is making the choice to believe the one that serves you best.
In Reframing, also called Cognitive Restructuring, your therapist will guide you in techniques that shift your mindset of how you look at people, relationships and circumstances from more positive viewpoints. The beauty of this approach is that you can start in your counselor’s office and continue the practice at home, work, and wherever you go until it becomes a lifestyle.
Another way to understand reframing is to imagine taking pictures with your smartphone with all the different filters you have available. You can use a filter that darkens the picture so that a picture in full sunlight now looks dark. You can zoom out and make something that is really close appear far away. You can also zoom in and make things that are far away look really close. You can focus on one person in a picture full of people and blurr everyone and everything else out.
You may be asking yourself how does this help me with grief and the pain I am in now? That’s a fair question and although it may not feel like it now, things will change. You may not have been able to control the loss you suffered, but you can choose how you will change because of it. Many people change for the worse, but you can choose to change for the better over time.
Your thoughts and feelings won’t stay the same. And through counseling and the use of CBT we can help you grieve in healthy ways and help you look through the filters that will serve you best. We will help you create filters that brighten dark pictures. We can teach you to zoom out from only focusing on the now to so you can see the positive possibilities of your future.
The key idea of reframing is that the filter through which we view situations determines our belief and point of view. When that filter is switched, the meaning changes and thinking and behavior most commonly change with it.
The good news is that through CBT and other strategies therapists help you change the way you think, feel and act. This is a really big deal if the way you think, feel and act are not serving you or helping you heal and move forward.
And the great news is that our therapists at New Vision Counseling are all trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with other techniques.
You will likely be happy to know that if you choose to invite us into your story we won’t just sit on the sidelines and give you techniques. We will listen and walk with you through the pain. We will take as much time as you need during your journey through grief. Instead of pressuring you to quickly move on we will encourage you to walk at a pace that is right for you. Everyone has a unique journey that is right for them and should not be compared to anyone else’s journey. And that is what we will help you discover and walk through with you.
If you are grieving and are weary and would like help navigating and getting through this painful time we are here for you. Please call us at (405) 921-7776 or hit the button to contact us through email today. We hope to hear from you soon.
Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has two masters degrees in counseling. He has served the Oklahoma City metro, Edmond, and beyond for almost 30 years. Because of his personal and professional experience he is uniquely qualified to speak on grief. He has trained all of his therapists in how to be present during the journey and to walk beside their client’s so they are not alone during their journey. He trains his therapists to be incredibly compassionate and accepting while guiding them with tools and techniques that transform their lives.