CBT and Islam
In Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), we learn how to break out of vicious cycles of negative thoughts, negative behaviors, and negative emotions.
The way to do that is to change one's thoughts, behaviors, and emotions from negative to positive. When we stop anxiety, fear, and negativity, we can substitute them with positive thinking. The best way to engender positivity is to have positive short term, medium term, and long term goals. An example of short term goal might be to wake up on time in the mornings, that of medium term goal might be to develop a habit of writing a daily journal, while that of long term might be to become an international journalist.
When we have positive goals and a systematic program to achieve them, we can break the negative vicious cycle and go into a positive cycle of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. There are two ways to break out of a negative cycle - through changing our thoughts or through changing our behaviour. The result of which is a natural uplift in our emotions.
It is important to have the right intention to do those good deeds that lead to positive goals. If the intention is selfish or insincere, mental health issues will persist in the patient. Only when we do good deeds and pursue worthy goals for holistic good in the right way (rather than pursue personal goals in an incorrect manner), i.e. what we call "the pleasure of God alone", can we truly break out of our mental health disposition.
Care needs to be taken that the process of breaking the negative CBT cycle is done in a balanced, gradual, organic, and well thought out manner, otherwise it is easy to fall back on negative patterns, with cyclic episodes of negative vicious cycle in an unorganized, unsystematic, and sudden manner, we end up observing bipolar symptoms in patients, with cyclic episodes of mania and depression. So proper planning, deep thought, and organization, free from insincere influences are essential to break out of the vicious cycle. Thus, social boundaries our important for recovery.
One way to ensure that the bipolar characteristics do not manifest themselves in the patient on breaking the negative vicious cycle is to do good deeds and to set goals based on SINCERITY (genuine holistic good done for the sake of God), as mentioned earlier, pursuing them in a gradual and organized manner free from insincere negative influences.
We are all familiar with what "sincerity" means. We are sincere to our friend if we do or say things with their best intent, but we are sincere to our greatest benefactor, God, when we do things primarily for His pleasure, not caring whether our actions might displease His creation if it means that those actions will please Him. "Sincerity" means doing things with the best intentions for the holistic good that God wants from us.
When good deeds lack Sincerity our breaking out of the negative CBT vicious cycle might not be successful and we can relapse into negativity. So proper planning, organization, with SINCERE good deeds, sincere short, medium, and long term goals, with the best of intentions, keep strict boundaries in terms of negative influences is needed to successfully come out of our mental health symptoms to become a better version of ourselves, God Willingly.
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