Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological method in which talking is used as a means of dealing with issues resulting from a lack of control of emotions, behavior and cognition by adopting an objective, and systematic manner of action by the individual. The therapy is employed. The therapy makes use of both the behavioral and cognitive approaches in order to come up with practical solutions. Empirical evidence has established that a combination of the behavioral and cognitive approaches is effective in dealing with issues of Psychosis, addiction, personality, anxiety and mood disorders (Hoffman & Reinecke, 2010). The technique is also effective in both individual and group situations. While cognitive restructuring is founded on two different theories the combination focuses on the present situation in dealing with different problems.
The purpose of cognitive restructuring theory is to enable the individual or group to find realistic ways of thinking that are more positive and thus healthier. The cognitive restructuring theory help the individual in dealing with their problems through a learning process that is intended to counter the negative attitudes that may result from anxiety causing situations. People with social phobias are more likely to suffer from anticipatory anxiety which may result in negative behaviors after stressful situations. Since this is a theory that deals with anticipatory anxiety behavior, it would be a useful therapeutic theory to be used to help Tom to deal with his excessive anger (Hope, 2000). Tom’s anger results from the incident that occurred earlier in his day but yet continued to dog his behavior throughout his day. Cognitive restructuring main means of assisting individuals is to attain positive attitudes and helpful thoughts. The theory concentrates on the making of positive affirmations, making of positive and accurate analysis of situations, a fine tuning of expectations, and adoption of healthy thoughts to reduce stress (Dobson, 2009).
Cognitive restructuring theory usually employs four steps in order to achieve its goals of positive behavior and thoughts. The first step involves the person getting an awareness of their negative thoughts that automatically result from certain situations. Tom has to attain an awareness of his automatic negative thoughts which result from negative thoughts and attitudes thus leading to anxiety. An awareness of the negative thoughts which are then jotted down would increase an awareness of them making it easier to fight them. After an awareness of the negative thoughts and attitudes has been made, the next step is the analysis of those thoughts for accuracy and correctness. During periods of stress the person usually experiences errors in the analysis of the situation which leads to distorted reality (Ledley, 2010) Tom would therefore be greatly assisted if he would take note of his thoughts and then later examine them for accurateness and whether they reflect reality of the situation.
After errors of stressful thinking have been identified the next step in cognitive restructuring is the challenging of those errors of judgment. In the identification of errors of stressful thinking the individual analyses the different angles of the situation in coming up with a reasonable explanation (Hoffman & Reinecke, 2010). Tom has to analyze his actions to determine whether they are justified or whether they are simply a matter of reaction to the earlier situation which is resulting into anxiety later in the day. The last step of cognitive restructuring is then the replacement of the stressful thinking errors with thoughts and attitudes that are a more realistic reflection of the situation. After Tom has made an analysis of the errors of thinking and attitudes which have informed his actions, he then has to come up with new ways of thought and attitude which will then be used in instances of such a similar situation occurring in future.
Tom’s situation is not a unique situation as there are many people who have similar reactions to such experiences. I have had a similar situation in which I believe my negative emotions and thoughts got into the way of rational thought and led to anticipatory anxiety which I manifested on other people who had dealings at all withy my original situation. I had just come home from school and found out that my little brother had been in my room and had completely made a mess of it. I confronted him but he was unapologetic and just stared back insolently. I became withdrawn and moody for a whole week snapping at everyone including my other brothers and sisters who were in no way related to the happenings between me and my brother. This incident caused a lot of tension between me and my family until I finally backed down.
My situation with my finally could be analyzed by the four step cognitive process to find a way in which it could have been successfully resolved. The first step in the cognitive restructuring theory was evident in my lack of an awareness of my negative thoughts. I was preoccupied with negative thoughts that all of my family members had no respect for me while this was not true. Since I was unaware of my negative thoughts I was unable to move forward from the first incident and my whole relation with my family was based on the first incident (Hope, 2000). Putting down my thoughts in my diary helped to attain the awareness of my negative thoughts. My stress had distorted my thinking thus making me question my family’s respect because of an action undertaken by a toddler. After writing down these thoughts I came to analyze them and found them to be irrational and to have no basic whatsoever. The analysis enabled me to look at all angles and come to the conclusion that the actions of the other members were completely different from those of my younger brother.
After I had successfully identified that I had errors in my judgment and reactions due to errors of stressful thinking, I then challenged those notions. I came up with different angles of looking at the situation and came to the conclusion that it was irrational of me to base all my thoughts and reactions on the actions of a toddler when the people I was dealing with were adults. I then proceeded to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones. I came to the realization that I needed to look at the members of my family as individuals with different personalities (Dobson, 2009). I also needed to look at the members of my family as adults and not vent my anger on them on an incident they had no dealings with. This situation enabled me to come up with a different kind of attitude which I hope to use in future similar situations.
The instance of frequent outbursts of misdirected anger if left unchecked has the potential of resulting into serious criminally or socially unacceptable behavior. Outbursts of anger that is misdirected will in most instances lead to a similar reaction from the person against whom it is misdirected. This anger will then potentially explode into violence between the two conflicting parties. Outbursts of anger may also result into social behavior that is unacceptable since it results into tensions between people (Ledley, 2010). People who exhibit frequent outbursts of anger will find it very difficult to make friends and will be deemed to be antisocial.