In my financial therapy sessions, I often pull techniques from other evidence-based therapy methods. One that comes in handy quite often is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. Click above to watch the financial CBT video, or read on below to learn how you can apply this method for your mind-money balance.
What if a technique for re-framing your thoughts existed? In this video, I’ll show you exactly how to do that.
If you are looking for a proven technique for reframing your thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral therapy or CBT does just that. When it comes to our money, often our beliefs or thoughts are the things keeping us from achieving our goals. I’ll walk you through how we can use CBT, a proven intervention for anxiety and depression, and apply it to your money worries.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a type of therapy coined by Aaron Beck and David Burns that asserts that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all related. They way you think impacts how you feel, and how you feel changes the way you act or respond to something. This can lead a person to feeling like they are in a downward spiral. In CBT, a person works on reframing or changing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for a better, more positive outcome, or as I like to say, “spiraling up.”
Let’s try an example.
Thought, “I’m socially awkward”
Feeling: Nervous, anxious
Action: Avoid attending a neighborhood BBQ
A therapist would ask you how you’ve dealt with similar situations in the past, and encourage you to look at the thought realistically and objectively.
“I feel nervous and anxious and it’s making me worry I’m socially awkward. At a recent work party, I did feel nervous at first but after connecting with others in my department, my worry wore off and I ended up having a good time. Instead of avoiding this BBQ, I can try and find someone I know to go with me.”
Let’s do one that is money-related. Here’s a money one:
Thought “I’m terrible at saving money.”
Feeling: guilt, shame loathing
Behavior: spend money quickly when I get paid
Using CBT to spiral up to a positive or neutral place, we’d say:
Thought “I’m terrible at saving money;” becomes “I haven’t been great at saving money but it is important to me to have a little cushion in case of an emergency”
Feeling: apprehensive, excited, nervous
Behavior: move $100 to savings account before spending money
You can go in any order-work on your behavior first, see how it impacts your thoughts and feelings, etc. It doesn’t matter as your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected.
I’ve linked a free “spiraling up” worksheet for you! It provides a summary of what I’ve talked about in this CBT video so you can practice framing your thoughts in a positive way so you can stop spiraling down.
Please let me know in the comments below how you will use this technique. Will you start by un-spiraling a negative thought? Maybe changing a bad behavior.? Drop it below! This is the first video in a new series called Tips from a Therapist. I’ll talk about different therapy techniques and how they apply to your money.