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You have the incredible power to change the way you think, perceive, and react to stress—for the better—through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been known to be widely successful in the treatment of problems associated with anxiety, depression, mood, personality, addiction, weight, and emotions. Until recently, access to CBT was only available through professional therapy. Now with The Brain Mechanic, Spencer Lord delivers a concise, entertaining, and easy-to-use handbook that demystifies cognitive ...
You have the incredible power to change the way you think, perceive, and react to stress—for the better—through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been known to be widely successful in the treatment of problems associated with anxiety, depression, mood, personality, addiction, weight, and emotions. Until recently, access to CBT was only available through professional therapy. Now with The Brain Mechanic, Spencer Lord delivers a concise, entertaining, and easy-to-use handbook that demystifies cognitive behavioral therapy. With simple exercises, clear explanations, and helpful insight, Lord makes it easy for you to fit this technique into your daily life to improve your mood, broaden your communication skills, and
enrich your relationships.
Most of us know precisely what we should do. Take it easy. Have fun. Let yourself go. Don't sweat the small stuff. Roll with it. Don't let it bother you. Shake it off. Be a good sport. Chill. Be cool. Don't worry. Be happy. Relax!
That may be good advice, but I'm an intelligent individual, and I already know what I should feel and what I should do. Would anyone mind telling the less enlightened among us how to feel and do these things?
It took me years to finally discover a how that actually works, and that's when I began to share this knowledge with my friends, my family, and now you.
The cognitive model is the how.
You've no doubt heard the word cognitive countless times, and if you ever looked up the term cognitive behavioral therapy, you would have found something like this:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (or cognitive behavior therapies, CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to influence dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. The title is used in diverse ways to designate behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to refer to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive research. There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders.
This definition sounds very fancy and scientific, but it's totally meaningless to most people. Basically, cognitive behavioral therapy demonstrates that our thoughts—not external things like people, events, or situations—cause our feelings and behaviors.
My grandmother used to tell my mother that if there was ever anything in the world she wanted to learn, she could go to the public library and figure it out. My mom passed on this advice to me, and I put it to good use. I've done the hard part for you already, by reading and distilling thousands of pages of information on psychology and human brain function. In the pages to follow, I will draw from what I learned through my research and share the most important concepts with you in an easy-to-understand way.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is not new; it has actually been around for years, but most people outside the field of psychology don't have any idea what it is or how it works. After discovering firsthand how effective these techniques are, I decided to write this book to make these concepts more accessible to the general public.
CBT can be used as a powerful survival tool, but try dragging the average survivalist in to an office full of grown-ups in neckties. Not gonna happen. So I wrote this book as a way to teach the tools of survival psychology to people who wouldn't normally go sit in an office or classroom. It's a two- hour psychological survival training course—on paper.
Since I'm an ordinary guy, not a professional writer, I hope you'll forgive the handbook's simplicity of style and tone. I'm going to talk you through these concepts just like I've taught them to my friends and family.
This book is also my personal story and testimony. I am not a doctor or a psychologist, and this book is not a substitute for professional mental health care. It is written for mentally and emotionally healthy individuals who want to use the tools of CBT to enrich and enhance their lives and strengthen their brains.
If you are suffering from any serious emotional problems, it is critical that you talk to your doctor immediately and seek appropriate professional care. This book is merely a layperson's introduction to cognitive psychology told through my personal journey and is in no way a substitute for psychotherapy or counseling.
If you love science and psychology as much as I do, you're in for a real treat. In the next few hours, you will have all the tools necessary to become your very own Brain Mechanic.
Hang on to your frontal lobe . . .
'The destiny of every human being
is decided by what goes on inside his skull when confronted with
what goes on outside his skull.'
—Dr. Eric Berne
Foreword Cheryl Saban xv
Introduction William Graham Cole 1
1 Under the Hood: The Cognitive Model 9
2 The Tune-up: Change Your Beliefs 29
3 Brain Mechanic Toolbox: Exercises for Living 47
4 The Brain Mechanic Action Plan: Five Quick Steps to Emotional Well-being 96
Grand Unification 101
Further Reading 115
Posted June 23, 2011
i've read many self-help and motivational books over the years but the brain mechanic has taught me more than any other ... and truly moved me in such a monumental way. i read the book straight through (immediately after downloading it to my nook) and throughout the week i've re-read, wrote notes in my journal ... and have been applying the exercises since. simply ... quite amazing. learning that i have the right and power to realistically change my beliefs by applying the brain exercises, i feel the i am becoming a "changed" person ... all for the better, of course. i now believe in the possibility ... of who i can become. three years ago, i left my career in a rash decision that, for the longest time, have regretted. during these tough economic times, i've often beaten myself up emotionally and i see now ... irrationally. i have now, finally, found a place to go when my emotional responses to events have become destructive and self-sabotaging. i have a renewed confidence that things will indeed get better. i will most definitely share my thoughts re the brain mechanic with family, friends and acquaintances ... and it will be my favorite gift to give for birthdays and holidays.
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Posted January 3, 2011
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