Archive for Mindfulness

Using CBT Skills to Become Mindful: The Future of Mindfulness!

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Skills to Become More Mindful and Manage Anxiety

cbt-future-of-mindfulnessMindfulness meditation has become equated with being mindful. But there are alternate ways to build your mindfulness skills. Here’s a way to use CBT skills to become more mindful and manage worry. Read the New York Times article Achieving Mindfulness at Work, No Meditation Cushion Required on a new approach. Some of the main ideas in the article include:

  1. Self-Distancing: Talking to yourself as an objective adviser would.
  2. Reasons Why Bad Thing Won’t Happen: Realize that you’ve already made two unrealistic assumptions: that something will happen, and it will be bad. Next, give yourself three reasons the issue you’re worried about might not happen. Notice that it immediately becomes less stressful, because you just went from “it’s going to happen” to “maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t.”
  3. Reasons If Bad Thing Happens That It Could be Good: Now give yourself three reasons that, if the situation does turn out bad, good things will happen. Now you’ve gone from thinking “there’s this terrible thing that’s going to happen” to thinking “there’s this thing that may or may not happen, but if it does, it could have both good and bad outcomes.”

How to Get Help for Anxiety in San Jose/Saratoga and Sacramento/Roseville

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center in Silicon Valley (San Jose/Saratoga) and Sacramento Valley (Roseville) specializes in anxiety therapy and counseling with adults, children and teenagers. Call us in Saratoga at (408) 384-8404 or in Roseville at (916) 778-0771 or Click to send an email for more information on how we can help you or your family members overcome anxiety.

Silicon Valley and Sacramento Valley Communities We Serve

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley offers evidence-based therapy for Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Eating Disorders near the following Silicon Valley/San Jose communities:

San Jose Therapy CounselingSaratoga Therapy CounselingLos Gatos Therapy Counseling Monte Sereno Therapy Counseling • Cupertino Therapy CounselingCampbell Therapy CounselingMountain View Therapy CounselingLos Altos Therapy CounselingSunnyvale Therapy CounselingSanta Clara Therapy Counseling

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Sacramento Valley offers evidence-based therapy for Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Eating Disorders near the following Sacramento Valley and Sierra communities:

Sacramento Therapy CounselingRoseville Therapy Counseling • Rocklin Therapy Counseling • Granite Bay Therapy Counseling • Lincoln Therapy CounselingFolsom Therapy Counseling • Citrus Heights Therapy Counseling •  El Dorado Hills Therapy Counseling • Loomis Therapy CounselingGrass Valley Therapy Counseling  • Auburn Therapy Counseling

CONTACT US
Saratoga: (408) 384-8404
Roseville: (916) 778-0771
Click to send an email

Anxiety Mental Game: Paradoxical Strategies Win

An Important Twist on the Mindful Moment by Reid Wilson, Ph.D.

ParadoxAnxious clients enter treatment in the position of resistance. If they are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, they’ve got to be resisting. They want that discomfort to go away, which is totally understandable. But the stance of ‘I don’t want this to be happening’ gives Anxiety the upper hand, because the mind & body will move into battle mode. If we teach them permissive skills, like brief relaxation or mindfulness, they are more likely to say, ‘Let me take a mindful stance in this situation. And I hope this works, because I’ve got to get rid of this feeling.’ These skills associated with permitting & accepting the symptoms often allow the client to slide right back into resisting.

Say “Yes” to Anxiety

If clients can truly say ‘yes’ to the encounter, & accept exactly what they are experiencing in that moment, then they will be back in control. This is manifested in the supportive message of ‘It’s OK that I’m anxious, I can handle these feelings, & I can manage this situation.’

It’s a Paradoxical Approach to Anxiety

This approach has a paradoxical flair to it that people often miss. You take actions to manipulate the symptoms while simultaneously permitting the symptoms to exist. With physical symptoms, you are saying, ‘It’s OK that I am anxious right now. I’m going to take some Calming Breaths & see if I settle down. If I do, then great. But if I stay anxious, that’s OK with me, too.’We attempt to modify the symptoms without becoming attached to the need to accomplish the task. This is a critical juncture in the work, & the therapist must track closely the client’s expected move of, ‘I’m going to apply these relaxation skills because I need to relax in this situation.’ No! While it is fine to relax in an anxiety-provoking situation, it is not OK to insist that you relax. That’s how anxiety wins.

Vist http://www.anxieties.com for more self-help strategies on the Anxiety Mental Game.

How to Get Help for Anxiety in San Jose/Saratoga and Sacramento/Roseville

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley (San Jose/Saratoga) and Sacramento Valley (Roseville) specializes in anxiety therapy and counseling with adults, children and teenagers. Call (408) 384-8404 or Click to send an email for more information on how we can help you or your family members overcome your anxiety-related disorders.

 

Silicon Valley and Sacramento Valley Communities We Serve

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley offers evidence-based therapy for Anxiety, OCD and Eating Disorders near the following Silicon Valley/San Jose communities:

San Jose Therapy CounselingSaratoga Therapy CounselingLos Gatos Therapy Counseling Monte Sereno Therapy Counseling • Cupertino Therapy CounselingCampbell Therapy CounselingMountain View Therapy CounselingLos Altos Therapy CounselingSunnyvale Therapy CounselingSanta Clara Therapy Counseling

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Sacramento Valley offers evidence-based therapy for Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Eating Disorders near the following Sacramento Valley and Sierra communities:

Sacramento Therapy CounselingRoseville Therapy Counseling • Rocklin Therapy Counseling • Granite Bay Therapy Counseling • Lincoln Therapy CounselingFolsom Therapy Counseling • Citrus Heights Therapy Counseling •  El Dorado Hills Therapy Counseling • Loomis Therapy CounselingGrass Valley Therapy Counseling  • Auburn Therapy Counseling

CONTACT US
Call (408) 384-8404 or Click to send an email

Radically-Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT)

RO-DBT: Your Path to a More Flexible Life and Joyful Experiences

Flexible ThinkingLaura Johnson, LMFT, LPCC, Center Director, attended a two-day workshop on Radically-Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) led by its founder, Thomas Lynch, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton, UK. RO-DBT is an evidence-based approach to help individuals become more flexible in their thinking and responding, more open to life experiences that create joy and happiness, and build intimacy and social connections. RO-DBT can be particularly helpful for individuals with inflexible, rigid personality styles who are susceptible to certain types of anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, perfectionism, anorexia and autism. RO-DBT includes many of the skills taught in traditional DBT but also teaches an entirely new set of skills to increase flexibility and reduce rigidity.

RO-DBT Theory

The theory behind RO-DBT is that children with an “over controlled” temperament are more likely to develop internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression and become socially isolated as adults. “Overcontrol” is defined as an emotionally constricted, shy and risk averse temperament. In appropriate amounts, overcontrol is a positive trait. You may desire to exceed expectations and perform well, value rules and fairness, delay gratification to achieve goals, and have a high sense of duty, obligation and self-sacrifice.

On the other hand, individuals who develop a excessively overcontrolled style may have a need to appear perfect (planning ahead, being right, stressing orderliness and structure), follow rules (always doing the right thing, being prepared, smiling even when unhappy) and have high pain tolerance (able to work really hard and delay or minimize joy and fun).

Goals of RO-DBT

The goal in RO-DBT is to help individuals develop optimal control that is neither over- or under-controlled.

RO-DBT starts with defining what’s healthy and what’s not. Its interventions strive to build these positive traits including:

  • Receptivity and Openness to new experiences (as opposed to high risk aversion, hypervigilance for threat, avoidance of novelty and discounting of constructive feedback)
  • Flexible Responding to adapt to changes in the environment (instead of compulsive needs for structure and order, hyper-perfectionism, compulsive planning/rehearsal, and rigid rule-governed behavior)
  • Emotional Expression and Awareness to have genuine emotional experiences (as opposed to inhibited expressions or fake expressions and low self-awareness or minimizing of feelings)
  • Intimacy and Connection to form long-lasting bonds (instead of aloof/distant relationships, excessive social comparison, envy and bitterness, and low empathy and validation skills)

Ways to Build Flexibility, Openness and Social Connection

In addition to most of the traditional DBT skills, RO-DBT also teaches additional new skills  to build the qualities of flexibility, openness and social connection including:

Radical Oppenness Skills LegosRadical Openness Skills Module is a completely new skills module where you will learn to change your physiology, engage in new behaviors, learn from constructive feedback, validation skills, build compassion and forgiveness, stimulate positive emotions toward yourself and social connectedness with others through loving kindness meditation,verbal and non-verbal skills to signal openness and friendliness, and communication of emotions to increase social connection and reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Mindfulness Skills to recognize when you are in fixed mind vs. fatalistic mind and how to get to flexible mind and to teach self inquiry.

Emotion Regulation Skills to reduce envy, bitterness, resentment and revenge.

Some Examples of RO-DBT Skills

There are three steps involved in building the skill of Radical Openness:

  1. Acknowledge the presence of unwanted or uncomfortable feelings such as irritation, tension in the body, negative emotions or feelings of uncertainty
  2. Turn toward the discomfort and use Self-Inquiry to ask yourself, “What do I need to learn from this?” instead of automatically distracting or accepting
  3. Flexibly Respond by doing what’s needed in the moment

Practicing being open to feedback from others includes the following steps:

  1. Acknowledge the feedback
  2. Describe your emotions, sensations, thoughts and images
  3. Be Open to new information by cheerleading yourself, adopting an open body stance, and fully listening to the feedback
  4. Pinpoint what the new behavior is and confirm
  5. Try out the new behavior
  6. Self-soothe and reward yourself
How To Get Help in Building Flexibility and Other Positive Traits

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley specializes in helping individuals change unhelpful thinking and coping styles and build flexibility, openness and social connection. With our convenient location just a half mile from Highway 85 and the Saratoga Avenue exit, we serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Cupertino and Campbell, CA. We also have a CBT Online Video Therapy Program for clients in California who live to far away to drive for our specialized therapy in person. Contact us at (408) 384-8404 for more information on how we can help you manage you become more flexible, open and joyful.

Train your Brain for Social Success

CBT and Mindfulness for Social Anxiety

Did you know that by practicing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, you can create new circuits in your brain? You can actually change your brain so it’s more flexible, focused and compassionate.

We’ve known for a while that CBT and mindfulness work for many problems especially stress, anxiety and depression. New research is emerging from Stanford University and elsewhere indicating that CBT and mindfulness are effective for social anxiety.

Social Anxiety Model

Social Anxiety ModelIf you have social anxiety, you know that some key problems include negative thinking about yourself, doubt about whether others like or respect you and whether you fit in, and excessive worry and anxiety before, during and after social situations. The model of social anxiety below shows how social anxiety is triggered and maintained. We experience a social or interpersonal situation that activates negative beliefs and assumptions about ourselves or others. Once triggered, we feel anxious because of the negative meaning we’ve given to the situation. We may use “safety behaviors,” or do things that make us feel less anxiety in the moment, but end up making us feel hopeless and discouraged because we don’t learn that we can tolerate anxiety and nothing really bad or scary generally happens. (The exception would be if you are being emotionally, verbally or physically abused or intentionally hurt in some way.) Once social anxiety is triggered, we become self-conscious, worry about what others are thinking, fear being embarrassed, humiliated or looked down on and our self-consciousness causes us to look inward.

Changing Your Thoughts

An example might be thinking about going to your high school reunion. You tell yourself, ” No one will remember me. I was such a nerd in high school. The other kids used to make fun of my thick glasses. I really don’t want to go and make a fool of myself again.” You perceive the social danger as rejection. You become self-conscious and focus on yourself and your anxiety reactions. You might predict, “I will end up standing in a corner by myself and no one will talk to me. I’ll make a fool of myself. I’ll feel anxious and won’t be able to stand it.” So you don’t go (safety behavior) and stay home alone with a bottle of wine and ice cream, feeling sad and discouraged.

Imagine, alternatively, if you believed the following: “In high school I was very studious and a few of the jocks made fun of my glasses. I’ve changed now. I’ve grown up, have a good job and people tell me I’m attractive. Even though I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school, I did have a few close friends who may end up going. I would really like to see them. Yes, I might feel anxious in the first half hour or so but I know it’ll pass as I start talking to my friends and having fun.” How might the model of social anxiety change if you had these beliefs instead?

Be a Flexible Thinker

CBT helps you learn more flexible and accurate thinking as well as effective behaviors and coping skills. CBT does not discount the negative but helps you put it into perspective and see what information you might be missing that could help you develop more helpful thoughts and beliefs. Mindfulness can complement CBT by increasing your ability to direct your attention to more productive thoughts and activities and reduce anticipatory anxiety and obsessive rumination.

 

Note: This article originally appeared on MentalHelp.net on August 16, 2011.

Mindful Behavior and Mindful Choices

Making Mindful Choices

What is Mood-Dependent Behavior?

Mindful ChoicesMood-dependent behavior is when you act on a feeling or an urge without pausing to consider the consequences or whether the behavior is appropriate to the situation. Often, mood-dependent behaviors will feel automatic and like they happen too quickly for you to have a choice. Mood-dependent behaviors may seem out of your control and difficult to change because of the powerful underlying emotions and negative thoughts driving them.

When you are engaging in a mood-dependent behavior, you are acting on your underlying emotional state. For example, if you feel depressed, you do not get out of bed or you cancel plans with friends. If you have a craving for ice cream, you eat a pint for dinner, even though you are trying to lose weight. If you are irritable, you snap at your kids for no real reason or you nit pic your partner until it turns into a full-blown argument. Later on, when the mood has passed, you may feel guilt and shame about your actions. In the moment, however, you acted on your emotions without thinking because it would have been too uncomfortable to pause and practice tolerating the discomfort of a craving or being present with a negative emotions. Instead, you chose an action that can instantly bring some relief to your emotion, such as distracting from the emotion or giving in to it. It feels better in the short run but hurts you in the medium to long term.

You are not doomed to a life of engaging in mood-dependent behaviors. Instead, you can learn to practice mindful, strategic behaviors that will help you with managing your emotions and directing your actions toward meaningful goals.

My emotions are too strong. I feel out of control. How can I make Mindful Choices?

Mindful, strategic behaviors involve increasing awareness of your emotional state in the present moment and responding to situations more deliberately. This means taking the time to pause and ask yourself if how you are about to respond in the moment is going to really get you what you want. Is what you are about to do going to move you in the direction of your valued-based goals and dreams, or is it a mood-dependent response that may be counterproductive to your most cherished goals? In other words, how likely is it that you are going to regret how you are about to act?

In order to engage in mindful, strategic behavior, try breaking down the situation into the following components:

  • What is the environmental prompt? Exactly what is happening in the moment that is urging you to respond?
  • What is your internal mood?
  • What is your short-term objective/goal?
  • What is your long-term objective/goal?
  • What behavior (action) will lead to accomplishing your goal?
  • If you choose to follow your mood in this moment, will it interfere with or enhance your objectives/goal attainment?

While this type of problem-solving may seem self-evident, consider how easy it is to slip into the habit of engaging in mood-dependent behavior instead of mindful behavior. Quite often, an intense emotional state makes it seem difficult, or even “impossible,” to mindfully choose alternate (mindful) behaviors. While it may feel this way in the moment, it is possible to choose mindful behavioral responses over mood-dependent ones. The trick is choosing to practice emotional regulation strategies and mindfulness practices with greater frequency, so that it becomes more natural to approach your mood states more deliberately.

Mood-Dependent Behavior

  • Chosen entirely based on whatever your current mood happens to be.
  • At the whim of your internal emotional state.
  • Not mindfully chosen… reactive and impulsive.
  • Little to no consideration for consequences/effects on other people.

Mindful Behavior

  • Guided by your heartfelt values and goals.
  • Intentional, deliberate, and strategic.
  • Careful, thoughtful consideration given to future consequences and the effects on other people.
  • Responsive, not reactive… using “wise mind.”

When you take a moment to reflect on how you typically respond to your emotional states in the moment, do you notice that you have a tendency to gravitate toward mood-dependent or mindful behaviors more often? Take the time to consider the consequences that various courses of action have on your well-being, relationships, and pursuit of your goals. If you believe that you may benefit from using mindfulness and emotion regulation coping skills, make a commitment to yourself that you will begin to integrate these practices into your daily life.

A great way to learn Mindfulness in as little as 10 minutes a day is through the Headpsace mindfulness program. Click here to Get Some Headspace. Just remember that mindfulness is a journey, not a destination. Be patient.