An example of how Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps you

The following tool can be taught to children, teens or adults.

If a friend were to cancel an evening out with you to the movie a few hours before the movie and send you a text message that says:   “I can’t make it tonight, ttyl (talk to you later)” what would you think and feel?

If you think, “Darn, I was really looking forward to a night of fun with my friend”, this would lead to you feeling disappointed for a short period of time. Then you would likely think of something else to do.

Example CBT tool: image of sunrise over water

However, if instead you think, “She must have found something better to do with Sarah. She doesn’t really like me.”, you would probably feel sad. This sad thought is considered “biased” as you do not have any evidence that this is the reason she is cancelling and you are “mind-reading”.

If you use the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) “alternative explanations” tool, you would be able to brainstorm a list of alternative reasons your friend may have cancelled (e.g., she is not feeling well, she accidentally double-booked herself, she has to work late at work).  These reasons have nothing to do with whether or not she likes you. Once you believe that some of these other explanations may be possible, then you do not  feel sad anymore because you no longer believe the negative thought, “she doesn’t like me”.