Author Topic: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance  (Read 3198 times)

Mikeler

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It occured to me today that a lot of the CBT material/self-help advice on reframing a situation (making the situation into a positive when it's a negative) and thought challenging (disproving a negative thought using evidence and logic) can be seen as a form of avoidance.

Trying to resist what is and chasing after more positive emotions and feelings.

I don't know if any members on here have tried any CBT or reframing and what their experience with it is, but I've recently become more skeptical of these methods for treating anxiety.


Vivek

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Re: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 10:48:41 PM »
I have had experience with Reframing while I was using NLP. I don't believe ALL of reframing is a form of avoidance. One benefit that I have seen with Reframing is that it helps to develop the ability to question our own limiting beliefs and in so doing, break them. I have found this to be very valuable to do deeper work in order to explore as well as observe the workings of the body-mind at the fundamental level and thus lead to more and more freedom. If you are familiar with Byron Katie's "The Work", you will find that it is almost wholly based on Reframing. I am not a big fan of The Work, but it does have a very positive impact on many people who use it. Is it necessary to use Reframing to help with spiritual progress? Not at all. It is just one of the many options that could help some, and may prove useless to others. 
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

dimeo

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Re: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 11:24:09 PM »
Interesting topic!

The OP sounds a bit like the idea of how meditation can help one abandon clinging and become able to 'let go'.  Sounds like it could be really helpful!  Where someone is currently having stress, anxiety, issues... perhaps with some meditation they could be able to eventually discover how to move beyond the mental restrictions they have superimposed upon the world.   It sounds like CBT is saying the same thing in a different language.   

I can also see how someone could take the approach of 'not clinging' as a rationalizing of their avoidance issues!!   Without getting too overly cognitive about it all... it appears to me to be a healthy thing to be able to move beyond a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with life (samsara) and discover some kind of inner peace instead.

Quardamon

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Re: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 11:41:43 AM »
I agree that reframing and thought challenging can, at times, be form of avoidance.

On the other hand, sticking to the same frame or to the same thought can be a form of subtle self-punishment.

In my view, it is wise to have a mild tone while seeing what is going on. Yes, reframing could be a form of avoidance - but is it, really, in the situation that you are now? And if it is in fact avoidance, then you will see that it has no positive effect. So, relax - you will know when correction is needed.
This is what I like about the method of Mahasi Sayadaw: You look what is before you. If one is reframing in a cramped way, you see: "Hey, I am avoiding". If you are reframing in a relaxed way, you might smile, and see: "Hey, I feel more relaxed now". A lot of jokes work through reframing:

A four-year-old with tears on its cheeks walks up to a police man and asks: "Sir policeman,     did you see a woman   eh     a woman without me???"
It is the reframing of the mother-that-she-lost to a-woman-without-her-child that makes one smile. Nothing illegal or cramped about it.

Mikeler

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Re: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 01:01:35 PM »
Just to be clear on this, I actually like reframing and CBT methods but I sometimes feel that if I use these methods I will be "betraying" the true spirit of vipassana/meditation practice.

A beginner is taught not to delve deep into emotional issues because they cannot be solved by logic. It's strictly and emotional issue which can only be solved by awareness and expansion.

I feel like using these techniques is trying to solve emotional problems with logic which is a no-no and the fastest path to depression.

dimeo

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Re: Reframing/cognitive restructuring as a subtle form of avoidance
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 11:01:07 PM »
Yes totally!

  Trying to logically argue you way out of emotional issues, relationship problems, and subconscious behaviours  (aka samsara) are like trying to sort out a 1000ft tangle of string.  Where's it start? Where's it end!  It's too complex!  Blame and guilt seems to chase each other around endlessly...

You need a way to cut directly through the mess to make any progress.  I've read that shamatha is like sharpening the blade, where vipassana is like cutting directly through.



A beginner is taught not to delve deep into emotional issues because they cannot be solved by logic. It's strictly and emotional issue which can only be solved by awareness and expansion.

I feel like using these techniques is trying to solve emotional problems with logic which is a no-no and the fastest path to depression.

 

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