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Counseling Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Lesson 03

by Dr. Sandrew Wright



Lesson 03

Click the play button to begin video lesson and follow along with the class notes below the video window. When you complete this video, click the "Lesson Assignment" button at the bottom of this page to open the lesson assignment.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Strongholds are mindsets, unbiblical thinking patterns, value systems, and ways of reasoning that keep us trapped in self-sabotaging behavior.

What does a mental filter look like? Mental filtering is focusing on the negative. It is seeing the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. Filtering ignores the positives and only sees the negatives in a person or situation instead of the whole picture.  Mental filtering fixates on the negative while denying or refusing to acknowledge positive or contradictory evidence.

How to get out and overcome mental filtering.

  • Use I.C.E. – Identify the thought.
  • Call it what it is – a cognitive distortion or mental filtering.
  • Explore a new thought to replace it with.

  Separate the good from the bad – Strive to find what went well that you have filtered out and focus on that with as much energy as you do the bad. Focusing exclusively on just the bad is classic mental filtering. Dr. David D. Burns, in Feeling Great , talks about this and ways to combat this cognitive distortion.

What you focus on will control you; what you feed lives, and what you starve dies. (Again, this is a principle found in Romans 8:6)

The first step is understanding what the mental filter provides for you. For example, does your mental filter help you to feel justified in your negative emotions? 

Does your mental filter reaffirm your self-defeating thoughts because perhaps you feel deep down that they are or may be true?

Thoughts and feelings inform actions. If you are engaging in mental filtering and fixating on the next day, Monday, what actions are you likely engaging in with this unhelpful thinking style? Are you spending your last day off moping around and not wanting to do fun things because you are fixated on the negatives?

Learn how to identify your thought patterns.

It is helpful to check in with yourself to learn how to recognize a mental filter. For example, if you find yourself moping around, ask yourself why. Or, if you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed, ask yourself what is going on and what you are thinking about. Take notice if you are fixating on something that has happened or is reasonable to assume will happen.

  You must name the emotion and then "check in with yourself". When can you schedule a check-in time?

Identify what emotion(s) are coming up for you. 

Are you noticing increased anxiety or depression when you fixate on a negative event?  Is this giving you "permission" to be whatever emotion you feel by fixating on this event?

Master the art of: "Naming it and taming it." Using an Emotion Wheel or Emotion Vocabulary List can help you. You can't conquer what you won't confront, and you can't treat what you have not diagnosed.

What is a more accurate interpretation?

If you were to present this filter to others, would they formulate a similar conclusion? Or would they raise an eyebrow and give you that look of "Do you seriously believe this?"

Who can you check in with? Remember it has to be the RIGHT people because not everyone's opinion is needed or helpful. (You wouldn't ask the Detroit Lions how to win the Superbowl)

What you focus on will control you. So, you must shift your focus. It would be best if you learned to MEDITATE. And I don't mean Eastern meditation. I mean Biblical Meditation (don't stop thinking) REPLACE. Don't empty your mind, but fill your mind with His Word.

Philip 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

We are to test all things through the filter of God's Word.

1 Thess 5:21 But test [a]all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good.

So, you could say you need to filter your filtered thoughts through God's Word.

It is much easier to criticize than to appreciate people or things just as they are. As humans, we tend to find faults and disappointments in even the most joyful of occasions.

If the way you've always seen the world is negative and you have practiced that for so long, we shouldn't be surprised if you only see the negative. If people try to congratulate us on something, we tend to discount it. If they want to help us celebrate our success, we are embarrassed. We try to dismiss or downplay it. 

So instead of discounting the positive aspects of even the darkest of situations, remember Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

1 Thess 5:18  in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do you see why Phil 4:8 is a KEY scripture? Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Entitlement always focuses on the absence of what you desire and never on the presence of what you already have.  

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