This rehabilitation strategy is pretty simple. You start by imagining that a good friend of yours is going through the same kind of problem as you are. Your friend has the same kind of thoughts as you do about the problem. Now imagine your friend sitting across from you. You feel empathy for your friend, and you want to help.
What do you say? How do you suggest your friend think about this situation? It's important that you look at your friend's problem from an honest viewpoint. We don't want you to simply try to make your friend feel better by sugarcoating the issue; rather, tell your friend about a reasonable way to think about the problem.
The essence of this powerful, yet surprisingly simple, technique is that the advice you would give a friend is advice you can give to yourself. The strategy works by helping you get a little distance from your problem. Viewing thoughts and feelings from a distance helps you be more objective. The following example shows you how to use Getting Help from a Friend to your advantage.
kPLE Emma (see "Emma: Filled with anxiety" earlier in this chapter) has taken her most malicious thought to Thought Court and found it guilty. Now she turns to Getting Help from a Friend ) to rehabilitate that thought. She thinks about her best friend, Louise. She imagines Louise coming to her with the same problem and concerns about her son. In other words, Louise is thinking Emma's most malicious thought and seeking advice (see Worksheet 6-11).
Emma's/Louise's most malicious thought:
I'm a complete failure as a mother; my son is falling apart.
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With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.