Situation, Thought…

Situation- Thought- Emotion- Behaviour is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy trick which I have found helpful. An example, slightly exaggerated:

Situation: I lose an appeal.
Thought: Oh God! Someone has lost his entitlement, and it is All My Fault!!
Emotion: Despair
Behaviour: Go on the sick with stress.

Situation: I lose an appeal.
Thought: Well, the evidence was not particularly good, perhaps he did not have a strong enough case, I could have done that bit a little better.
Emotion: brief resignation, before moving on to the next thought
Behaviour: turning to the next piece of work.

STEB illustrates the strength and weakness of CBT for me. CBT treats emotions as dependent on thoughts, but I, governed by old emotional patterns, found those patterns too deep to be affected by the thoughts. Yes, I knew Black and White thinking- either everything is perfect, or it is disastrous- is irrational, I could see that, I just could not take it into my heart. The CBT tricks, techniques if you insist, did not address the deep patterns.

Then the emotions can be manipulated, and are a bother to be managed, rather than an evolved way of responding to Reality. Unfortunately this has been true for me, with emotional responses to past situations rather than current ones getting in the way. But I feel that I can heal my emotions so that they work for me- I trust myself more than CBT theory does.

However, STEB did show me that I can see a situation and make assumptions about it, and it may behove me to step back for a moment and think about how accurate my perception is. How might I make it more accurate?

I want my emotional being and my intellect to be working together perceiving situations, and there may be times when one or the other should take the lead. Ideally I want to flow between the two as the moment requires.

All comments welcome.

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