Success Story: “Stinking Thinking”
Clients with this issue are overly focused on negative thoughts about people, places or things. Comments such as, “I just can’t stop thinking about it,” are typical. Specifically, parents of special needs children tend to ‘compare and despair’ between their children and their children’s peers.
Here we apply a combination of mental gymnastics and psychoeducation. First, we consider what benefit–if any– the client is receiving from negative thinking. For instance, sometimes when we focus on others, we do not need to confront personal challenges. Then we learn a bit about the brain and how when you think negatively, you are reinforcing the neurons in your brain to think more negatively. Learning about this process fosters positive actions to transform pessimism into realistic optimism.
Sharing time with clients who begin to say things like “Well I know it’s hard. But I wonder how we can improve the situation.” It becomes very clear they are on a path to reasonable and positive thought that empowers themselves, their families and the community.