Our ‘Sessions‘ series explores sessions at the Clinical Psychologist’s Office
Session 4 at the Clinical Psychologist’s Office
The room remains the same serene environment. Sue appears a tad more anxious today, her hands fidgeting as she settles into her chair.
Dr. Greene: Hi Sue. It’s good to see you. How has your week been since our last session?
Sue: Hello, Dr. Greene. This week’s been a bit tougher. I’ve been doing well with challenging my fears about uncertainty, but something new emerged. I’ve started having fears about myself, like I might suddenly do something irrational or harmful at work. It’s terrifying.
Dr. Greene: I appreciate your honesty, Sue. These fears can be disconcerting, especially when they concern our actions. Often, these are called intrusive thoughts. They are unwanted and can be distressing, but they are just thoughts and not indicative of your character or intentions.
Sue: I just don’t understand where they’re coming from. I’d never want to hurt anyone or do something irrational, but these thoughts… they make me doubt myself.
Dr. Greene: It’s a common experience for many with OCD. These thoughts are not a reflection of who you are but are rather a manifestation of your anxiety. Let’s discuss a technique that might help you process and manage these thoughts: journaling.
Sue: Journaling? How can that help?
Dr. Greene: Journaling can be a powerful tool. By writing down these intrusive thoughts, you externalize them, giving you a clearer perspective. Here’s a process you can try:
- Document the Thought: Whenever you have one of these fears, write it down in as much detail as possible.
- Note the Context: What were you doing when the thought emerged? Were you stressed? Tired? Understanding the context can help identify triggers.
- Challenge the Thought: Ask yourself questions. Is there evidence to support this fear? Have you ever acted on such a thought before? This is similar to what we did with cognitive restructuring.
- Reflect on Feelings: Write down how the thought made you feel and then how you felt after challenging it.
- Review and Reflect: Periodically review your journal entries. Over time, you might notice patterns or triggers, and more importantly, you’ll see how often these fears remain just thoughts.
Sue: It sounds like a lot of work. But if it helps me get a handle on these thoughts, I’m willing to try.
Dr. Greene: It can be a bit time-consuming initially, but many people find it therapeutic. It’s a way to confront and process these thoughts in a safe space. And remember, the goal is not to eliminate these thoughts but to change your relationship with them.
Sue: I’ll give it a go, Dr. Greene. Anything to help me cope with this fear of myself. It’s just so unsettling.
Dr. Greene: It’s courageous of you to confront these fears, Sue. We’ll work through them together. Remember, these thoughts don’t define you; they’re just thoughts, and with time and practice, you can gain a healthier perspective on them.
The session depicted above is a fictional representation and does not depict real individuals or actual events. It is constructed based on general principles and experiences within the field of clinical psychology but is not representative of any specific real-life scenario or therapeutic relationship. Anyone seeking psychological advice or therapy should consult with a licensed professional who can provide guidance tailored to their unique situation.
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