Providing Mental Health Resources For Musicians
Book Recommendation: The Client's Guide to Cognitive-
Behavioral Therapy - How To Live A Healthy, Happy Life...
No Matter What!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy based on that old
phrase, "I think, therefore I am." That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
It's so easy to just go with the first thought that pops into your head when
something happens. It's hard to keep your cool sometimes.
Case in point: somebody in your band is late for rehearsal...again. It's clearly
a pattern...and it's starting to really get to you. That "angry bear" in your brain
says, "He's late again! He's always late!! I can't stand it! We're gonna fire him!"
Hold on a minute. Yes, this is a problem. Yes, you need to say something.
But the first person to worry about is yourself...not Mr. Chronically Late Band
Member. How to keep this from hijacking your head?
Try CBT, as it's commonly known. (Much better than saying Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy all the time.) Basically, CBT teaches you to use the "thinking part" of your
brain, rather than letting your emotions rule you. It shows you that your initial thoughts
about something might need a little...fine tuning.
CBT is a form of therapy where you and your therapist try to find rational ways of
dealing with life. It's kind of a "good look" at your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
It helps you figure out which of your thoughts are worth keeping, and which ones
should take a hike.
A typical exercise during a CBT session is to draw three columns on a sheet of
paper, and call it "ABC Situations." The columns are labeled A, B, and C. The
first column, A, could be called What I Was Aware Of during a certain situation.
The second column, B, may be called What I Thought About (A). The last column,
C, might be called How I Felt, And What I Did. You can actually see, in black and
white, all of them at once.
I'm recommending Dr. Pucci's book because it's a very good "initial look" at CBT.
Other books are good, but they may be a little too technical (and frankly, not all
that interesting to anybody but a psychology geek like myself). He explains ideas
in everyday language, and uses everyday examples, like someone you've been
dating ending the relationship.
It also highlights things we all do, like "mind reading" - saying things like "I know he's
thinking I'm an idiot" - when "he" might not be thinking that at all. Or "fortune telling." (Sorry...couldn't help throwing that in, with my name!) That's when you're getting your
best exercise by jumping to conclusions about the future: "I know he'll be late for
rehearsal again this Thursday." Um, actually he could be on time. Or using words like
"never" - "She never hits that note correctly. And she never will." She may start nail-
ing it, or find a better way to handle that note.
CBT's "goal," if you will, is to open your mind to new possibilities about what could
happen, rather than rigidly fixing ideas in your mind and letting your emotions have
their way with you.
You can get Dr. Pucci's book on Amazon.com. It's very easy to read, and to use as
sort of a "manual" for learning about CBT.
Your inner child is cute...but he or she needs to go to their room sometimes. CBT can
help you bring out your "inner grownup."