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For this Journal, you will experience one type of homework exercise that might be used in cognitive therapy. In cognitive therapy, the therapist and client work together to analyze habits of language and thinking. Then together they develop a strategy to change the dysfunctional habits. Notice that this therapy does not depend on an understanding of how and/or why a symptom developed.
One of the dysfunctional habits that affect many individuals is a negative thought/thinking. To begin this process, each day, you are to record at least one piece of “good news” or something for which you are grateful in your life. Keep recording good news every day this week. Sometimes it is easy to think of good news, but other times it may seem difficult. Even when you are dealing with a major tragedy, you will find it helpful to stop and remind yourself of good news. There are always sunsets, roses, or the sounds of children playing; these, too, are good news. Therefore, no matter what your concerns or fears are, there is always some good news, too.
It is a good idea to record your good news at the same time of day and have a trigger to remind you to do this. For example, you might do this when you brush your teeth in the morning. Some students include their families in having each person share a piece of good news at the beginning of dinner each day. Remember, you do not need to include your daily recorded good news in the journal.
For this Journal, write at least two full paragraphs about the process of recording good news as well as how that process may bring about cognitive change, as it is described in the reading material. In at least 250 words, please be sure to address the following:
Is it hard or easy?
Does it get easier over time?
Do you find that engaging in this practice has effects on other aspects of your habits of thought?
What effect does this practice have on your mood and your life?
How might this practice bring about cognitive change?
In general, the process of changing dysfunctional habits takes a minimum of several weeks before any identifiable cognitive change takes place. Therefore, it is encouraged that you continue this on your own for several weeks after the completion of the journal assignment to see the full effect.