February 3, 2011

Marsha’s here to Help

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:11 am by kellyfdennis

Marsha (not her real name) went to therapy for help with her lack of motivation, sadness, and difficulty sleeping.  During her initial session, the therapist realized she had a very active pathological critic (aka Nasty Girl). Her therapist introduced the concept of the pathological critic and helped her learn how to talk back. She describes herself as “shy, a homebody, frumpy, and not well liked by others”.  What follows is the thought log she completed when trying to decide whether or not to attend a party, which is something she frequently avoids. (You’ll use the five columns; I couldn’t figure out how to show you that in this format.)


I was invited to a party by some co-workers.


The others at the party will reject me. Emotion- Anxious    Rating 90%  Cognitive Distortion-Mind Reading

They’ll see how nervous and awkward I am and they’ll think I’m weird.  Emotion-Anxious   Rating-80%   Cognitive distortion-Overgeneralization

I won’t know what to say.  Emotion-Nervous   Rating-50%   Cognitive Disotortion-Castrophizing

I’m a social loser.  Emotion-sad  Rating-100%  Cognitive distortion-Labeling

They’ll all be looking at me.  They’ll notice that I’m fat. Emotion-frustrated   Rating-80%  Cognitive Distortion-Mind Reading

I’m hopeless; there’s nothing I can do.  Emotion-sad  Rating-90%  Cognitive Distortion-All or Nothing thinking

I’ll just stay home. Emotion-relieved   Rating- 70%

Best Friend (healthy voice) answers to the challenge questions for the two highest rated thoughts:

I’m a social loser.

Evidence for:

I am quiet at parties.

I don’t get invited often.

I feel nervous around other people.

Evidence against:

I enjoy having one or two people over to my house.

My personality is quiet, that doesn’t make me a loser.

I have friends who say I’m fun to be around.

What’s the effect of believing this Nasty Girl message?

I feel badly about myself.

I feel lonely because I stay home.

I miss out on the chance to maybe have a good time.

The others at the party will reject me.

Evidence that supports this thought:

I perceive that people get quiet when they see me.

I didn’t have much to say at the Christmas party and Tommy moved onto another group to talk.

I stood alone at the buffet table at the Christmas party.

Evidence that doesn’t support this thought:

I have no way of knowing what others are thinking.

John came up and talked to me at the Christmas party.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see

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