Posts in cognitive therapy
I Win, You Win - Tips for Effective Communication

I’ve had many people come to me with concerns over how they are being perceived, with frequent feelings of being misunderstood. Much of the time, issues in this realm boil down to communication styles and patterns.

Bringing awareness to ones communication style, can be very helpful. Often, I will suggest some assertiveness training, so that when communicating with others, people can adopt a sense of, “I win, you win” instead of simply trying to, “get what we want.”

Quiz: What’s your communication style?

Being assertive isn’t only good for your relationships, it’s good for reducing stress and anger, and communicating better according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also help boost self-esteem.

We all have different ways of getting our points across. Most communication styles fall within four categories: Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, or Assertive.

Passive aggressive  communication action is a deliberate but covert way of expressing anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009) and is most often motivated by a person’s  fear  of expressing anger directly.

Passive aggressive communication action is a deliberate but covert way of expressing anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009) and is most often motivated by a person’s fear of expressing anger directly.

What type of communication style do you typically use? Does your style change depending on your audience? In which situations would you be most likely to try to improve your assertiveness?

When someone comes at you more aggressively, it’s important to consider the source. Why might this person be saying what they are saying? It might have nothing to do with you, maybe they’re just having a bad day, or a hard time. Try and take a moment to reflect before responding. If it is personal, not all criticism is bad. In this case, can any of what they are saying be true and helpful? Is there something to learn and grow from here? If so, maybe say to this person that you hear their perspective, and you would like to do better. Ask if they have any specific feedback you can use to improve. Then remember that this is just someone’s opinion. Sometimes you will want to take that in, and sometimes you won’t.

The next time you draft an email or text message that could be interpreted different ways; re-read it to yourself and imagine someone was sending you the same message. Is there anything you would change?

Read more about assertiveness here

Contact me if you would like to work on your own assertiveness skills, or for a company training.

Positive Psychology 101 - The Science of Gratitude

Instead of focusing on maladaptive patterns and behavior, positive psychology focuses on helping people function at an optimal level. Positive psychology aims to better understand and apply factors that help individuals and communities thrive and flourish (Seligman & Csikszentmihay, 2000).

Well-being can be achieved or increased through deliberate interventions.

One of the earliest documented interventions involved guiding people to adopt traits present in happy people (Fordyce, 1977, 1983).

To date, many interventions have been developed that have been shown to increase well-being including:

Practicing forgiveness (McCullough, Pargament, & Thoresen, 2000)

Participating in happiness training (Goldwurm, Baruffi, & Colombo, 2003)

Keeping a gratitude journal (Emmons & McCullough, 2003)

Thinking about positive experiences (Burton & King, 2004)

Writing a gratitude letter (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)

Engaging in acts of kindness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005)

Counting one’s blessings (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005)

Engaging in productive activities (Baker, Cahalin, Gerst, & Burr, 2005)  

 Reliving positive events (Lyubomirsky, Sousa, & Dickerhoof, 2006)

Nurturing relationships (Lyubomirsky, 2008),

Participating in goal-setting (MacLeod, Coates, & Hetherton, 2008).

seligman quote

One of the first things that comes up when you start researching Positive Psychology is GRATITUDE! Gratitude is strongly correlated with greater happiness and better relationships When we tap into a state of gratitude, we elevate our functioning and see improvement in a variety of areas.

This is a summary of over 40 research studies on gratitude. Click the picture to link to the source.

This is a summary of over 40 research studies on gratitude. Click the picture to link to the source.

A simple thing we can do to tap into gratitude is to create a gratitude journal. Just write down 5 things that you are grateful for. You can start a notes page on your phone, or can write these down on a piece of paper. Take a moment to rate your sense of well-being before writing down your gratitude list. Write down your list, then re-rate your sense of well-being.

P.S. This can work even if you go through the list mentally, but better if you write it down.

CBT Part 2 - Untwisting Your Thinking

The other day, I wrote a little about cognitive distortions. These are unhelpful thoughts that we all tend to have, that are not rational, and can likely cause negative feelings. Most of us do not pay attention to the way we are talking to ourselves; our internal dialogue. Identifying these unhelpful thought patterns is a first step in feeling better. https://www.drericafels.com/building-pathways-for-positive-change/2019/1/16/intro-to-the-cbt-perspective

Today, I present an antidote. Check it out and check yourself!

David Burns is arguably the father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has some amazing books and resources to help people with various mood related concerns. Check out his website, blogs, articles, and podcasts to learn more! https://feelinggood.com/tag/fifty-ways-to-untwist-your-thinking/

As always, if you are experiencing severe distress, any suicidal or homicidal ideation, or anything you need help to cope with, please call 911 or seek professional support as soon as possible.

As always, if you are experiencing severe distress, any suicidal or homicidal ideation, or anything you need help to cope with, please call 911 or seek professional support as soon as possible.

Launched, Living, and Out in the Universe

Hello,

I’m a lifelong learner, nature enthusiast, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and psychologist, living happily, in sunny Los Angeles, California. I’ve decided to start a blog to share my knowledge, and to hopefully help others live happier, more fulfilled lives. In this blog, I’ll share information, tips and tricks that I find useful, as well as relevant research, products, and experiences that have impacted my life. I’ve been studying psychology since 1996, obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2005, went on to study Neuropsychology in a post-doctoral fellowship, and have been licensed as a psychologist in California since 2007. In my practice I integrate information from several fields, including, but not limited to: neuroscience, spirituality, cognitive behavioral psychology, positive psychology, education and parenting research, to help guide others on a path towards optimal well-being.

With gratitude, Dr. Erica Felsenthal