How is cognitive therapy different from simply telling people to cheer up?

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How is cognitive therapy different from simply telling people to cheer up?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s like training someone how to ride a bicycle, rather than just telling them to go fast and not fall over.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cognitive therapy is about changing the way that you think and talk to yourself inside your own head.

Someone who tells themselves that they are a bad person or aren’t good enough can learn to think that they are a good person with flaws. Then you start to act more like the good person you think you are.

Anonymous 0 Comments

“Cheer up” doesn’t do anything. It’s a command/request. It doesn’t alter your thought process, it doesn’t change whatever that’s making you sad.

Sadness isn’t something you relieve with a command/request. Sadness is a condition, a process to go through. Therapy teaches you what steps you take to think beyond your trauma/cause of sadness and to make tangible changes to make a difference over time, either by gradually fixing the cause or learning to accept it and moving on/forgetting by trying to immerse one self into new activities and interests.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cognitive therapy involves understanding how the brain can form habits of thoughts and teaches the patient specific strategies to build new habits over time. It provides the patient with things they can do, actions they can take.

Telling someone to cheer up just blames them for their problem.

Consider running a marathon – how is coaching someone to run 27 miles different from telling them to just run 27 miles? A coach provides them with a training schedule, nutritional advice, equipment, and times them running increasing distances to provide helpful feedback on how well they are doing. Just telling them to start running is not at all the same thing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Currently going through it. As far as I understand from the process is that the end goal isn’t to “cheer-up”. It is to understand why you are in the place you are in. Once you understand that and how/why certain things effect you the way they do you can start making behavioural changes.

For example, I am really negative of myself. That behaviour I didn’t know I had, I just thought I was who I was. Now I understand that is a behaviour I can start to look at why I am like that. I can also look at how to change that.

The end goal isn’t to cheer-up, that can be a effect of the process. The end goal is to understand yourself better and give in certain scenarios work on mindset.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because it’s therapy, and not “telling you to cheer up”.

Therapy involves various techniques where you write and think about your thoughts with the goal of analyzing them or viewing them from a different angle, and challenging your cognitive distortions.

For example, you text a girl, and she doesn’t reply back.

A mentally healthy and stable person might think “*eh, she probably didn’t have time to reply, or is already in a relationship so she’s not open to being pursued by other people at the moment, no big deal*”

If you’re suffering from depression, your thoughts might be something along the lines of “*oh my god, she hates me, she didn’t reply because I’m ugly and unworthy of attention*”.

CBT helps you to get rid of these exaggerated or irrational thought patterns by recognizing that they’re irrational and exaggerated (i.e. cognitive distortions), and by fixing the way you THINK about things, it improves the way you feel.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s ok to be sad, stressed, anxious, etc etc. But sometimes people end up in a situation where they’re not facing anything that would make them sad, stressed, anxious, etc until there’s a trigger of some sort that sets them into a spiral of negative thoughts that leads them to something unrelated to present events, and then this past event dominates their mood in the present, and then once stuck in this spiral of sad, stressed, anxious, etc thoughts they’re stuck there being utterly miserable about things that aren’t currently happening to a level that’s detrimental to their current life.

Eg: You got dumped yesterday. You’re sad. Good. You probably should be. Being sad about this helps you process it. If you cry that’s probably good, crying releases chemicals in your brain that help your brain process it. This is all fine. Being sad is doing something for you. A year on and you’re out living your life and you see something that brings out a memory that sends you on a downward spiral and takes you away from the live you’re living? Not good. Being sad here isn’t helpful to you, it’s not even applicable to what’s going on, you’re just experiencing it because of an association and it’s fucking up your life in a way you do not need and do not want. 

It’s like your brain has gotten itself addicted to the neurotransmitters associated with these various emotional responses and when it sees the opportunity to get at some of them it’ll take it and direct you towards emotions and behaviors that aren’t useful, aren’t wanted, and aren’t relevant to what’s actually going on around you.

The idea of CBT is that a person trains themselves to recognize the triggers and prompts at the start of this spiral and to then re-associate them to divert your thoughts away from the associated memories and back into the present.

Very similar behaviors and strategies are used for addiction, along a very similar philosophy. If someone is battling drug addiction (including alcohol and cigarettes) many strategies involve identifying circumstances and feelings that cause them to relapse and develop strategies to control or re-associate those memories, circumstances and behaviors.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A lot of cognitive therapy is guiding people and teaching them how to reframe their own mental responses to things and how to approach to them. Their lives will largely be the same, but it’s their response and mental framing that can make a huge difference in how they live their lives, how they individually cope and overcome their issues, and how they start enacting changes to their lives where they can.

The comparison you’re presenting is like asking what the difference is between teaching someone math, and telling them specific solutions to math problems they don’t understand. If people knew how to cheer up, they likely would, but cheering up is the end product that comes from understanding how to get there and handle the challenges and roadblocks of their lives, and thrive where their current mentality and ingrained behaviors instead lead to failure and spiraling self-destruction or negativity.

EDIT: for clarity, I’m not saying cognitive therapy is a cure-all. Not all mental issues or misery/depression is just a matter of reframing how you think about life to “fix it”.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine you’ve been bowling most of your life and for the most part you’ve been able to bowl pretty accurately but over time you’ve developed this habit where it always seems to veer to the left and it’s been getting worse.

I can tell you to just stop doing that, but at this point it’s not something you can just stop doing. You’ve slowly been developing this bad habit that it just happens without you thinking. It’s become ‘muscle memory’, just a natural inclination you have.

So instead we need to look at your technique and come up with an exercise that over time gets rid of that bad habit and you reach a point where you no longer have to think about correcting it, it just no longer happens.

The brain works in a similar way. You can pick up bad habits over time and you can’t just simply say ‘stop doing that’, you have to do exercises that help correct those bad habits.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t tell people to cheer up. It has been proven to be very effective (especially in certain cultural contexts like white Americans) in resolving certain emotional/behavioral issues, by changing behavioral patterns and ways of thinking about them. It doesn’t work for every mental health issue and it doesn’t work all the times, but no therapy does.