Changing negative thought patterns: Rivulets, reframes, and repetitions

Updated: Jun 28

The more we think in certain ways, the more it becomes our go-to automatic thought response. Cognitive neural pathways become more entrenched the more we think in a particular style. Think about the rain coming down in rivulets: the more it rains, the more the rivulet widens and becomes the most stand-out stream. When the thought pattern is negative and reoccurring often, we end up automatically thinking these thoughts, without giving a lot of consideration as to whether the thoughts we are telling ourselves are actually true or helpful to ourselves.

I am not going to lie to you: it takes real work to change these ingrained patterns. Some of the ways we can work toward changing these patterns are by evaluating our thoughts objectively, reframing these thoughts, and by repeating the reframed cognitions.

If you are experiencing negative thinking, choose one particular negative reoccurring thought and consider:

- The situation (what is happening),

- The unhelpful thoughts and feelings associated with the situation,

- Give an evaluation of the thought – is there any evidence to support that this thought is actually a fact?

- What are some alternative thoughts and responses – what would someone else say about the situation or thought?

- What would be a different thought or response to try next time (Vivyan, 2009).

By analysing, evaluating, and considering alternative thoughts, you are taking important steps towards breaking these negative thought cycles, however, an additional essential step of thought evaluation and positive reframe is the need for repetition, and lots of it!

As these thought patterns are so ingrained in our neural pathways, it takes a lot of repetition of the new thought patterns in order for them to become the stand-out (or dominant go-to rivulet) thought pattern. This is where I believe that hypnotherapy comes into its own. Thought evaluations and reframes are usually discussed in the talk-therapy part of the session and are revisited in hypnosis to allow the subconscious to really appreciate these concepts.

Additionally, following the session, you are provided with a recording of the hypnosis, which you can repeatedly listen to, in order to consolidate all of the information from the session. On repeat listening, your cognitive neurons will lay down alternative positive pathways rapidly.

Please don’t hesitate to get in contact to find out how hypnotherapy can help you to evaluate and reframe negative thought patterns by booking a no-obligation call today.

References Vivyan, C. (2009). Depression thought record sheet.

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