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craiggaunson@iinet.net.au

 
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Reframing Materialistic Thinking to Reduce Depression and Anxiety

 

As a counsellor, I have used a great deal of therapies to help those suffering from Depression and Anxiety:  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro Linguistic Programming, (NLP), Hypnotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) , Rational Emotive Therapy(RET), as well as healthy lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, sleep, and social connectedness. My Clients and I have been really pleased with the results they have achieved using these methods. However, I have stumbled on a type of reframing pertaining to materialistic thinking and self esteem which really speeds up and enhances positive results for Anxiety and Depression suffers. I believe it is a real breakthrough.

From many years of counselling those with these conditions, myself included, one thing that has been very consistent is low self-esteem issues and various degrees of perfectionism. Traditionally, we were taught, when studying psychology, that to boost self esteem we should ask clients to list the positive and negative abilities, their personal characteristics that they liked and disliked, and what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy doing. Then the advice was to accept the negative aspects and to concentrate on the positives to increase their feelings of self-worth. I have always thought, based on intuition and discussions with clients, that this method was not successful and a complete waste of time, and I have never practiced it.

After many years of counselling, and discussions with clients, it dawned on me why the above method doesn’t work. Issues with perfectionism, cause an individual suffering from Anxiety or Depression, to never feel completely satisfied with anything in their life, even the things that they are really good at, due to their ideals of perfection, which vary between clients. These ideals are based on comparisons with experts in these areas, of interest or endeavours.

Therefore, my method involves getting clients to reframe their thinking by promoting gratitude for things in their life which are intrinsically positive, such as sunsets, warm sun, shelter from the elements etc. and then for anything they can do, enjoy doing, or any abilities they have, without norm referencing them, that is, comparing these attributes to others. I remove the norm referencing by logically convincing clients that all people are equal, which I believe to be the truth, irrespective of abilities and talents. This causes a significant positive reframing of thinking, and in itself greatly reduces both anxiety and depression.

I am delighted that I have discovered this new reframing therapy, which I have explained very briefly above, as it has produced fast and effective results in reducing Anxiety and Depression for my clients. In addition, this method, used in conjunction with the other successful treatments listed in the first paragraph, has produced amazing results.