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What I always find fascinating is that as one engages in conversation with others regarding their specific situation/s, one starts to realise that there is something which is so obvious yet so overlooked. Perception, a quick google search states that perception is ‘the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding’.  However I frequently get the sense that it’s almost as if individuals wear horse blinders as they perceive their specific situation/s, in which individuals choose what to perceive and what to ignore. Perception is in fact important to us as it has the potential to shape an individual in terms of worldview, career progression, and relationships amongst others. Perception is documented in the literature pertaining to anxiety and depression and I felt that it was worth writing this short blog in order to try and encourage others to start noticing specific patterns within their thought processes which could lead to one feeling constant negative feelings. Which are fairly common but unfortunately manage to conspicuously remain unnoticed.

For example, when someone experiences depressive symptoms; one starts to think negatively about themselves, their future and their surroundings. Some factors which contribute to depression are our thought processes. Thus, one tends to process negative information which is directed towards oneself. Individuals start to believe that the thoughts are exclusive and cannot change.  In which the thoughts usually come in the form of negative self-statements where one tends to ignore positive the aspects within their lives.

Whilst when someone experiences symptoms of anxiety one starts to feel a threat and an increasing sense of vulnerability. Individuals can experience their processing faculties attending to issues which instigate a sense of threat towards them in an exaggerated manner, even though they might in actual fact be minimal threats. One would then start to anticipate other possible negative events in the future (statements along the line of ‘what if ‘X’ happens’) which tend to interrupt the day-to-day functioning of the individual.

By no means am I discrediting the functions of these feelings as they are appropriate in certain circumstances such as in instances when one is grieving and during situations when danger is present. The problem occurs when one experiences these feelings on a day-to-day basis which inhibits an individual’s functioning.

CBT counselling explores these thoughts and the contingencies which they place on both feelings and behaviours. If you think that you or other individuals that you know experience these types of thought processes and have had enough of it, then understanding that you deserve better is the first step towards recovery. If you require further assistance counselling can help you achieve deeper insight into your situation.

 

– Karl Grech is a counsellor.  He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness.  He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt