Summary of Psychology’s Power Tools

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“So, tell me about your mother…” is probably what people think about when they think of therapy. But psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on early childhood, is only one branch of therapy, and if probing deep into your personal history doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you may want to give cognitive behavioral therapy a try. getAbstract recommends University of Arizona psychology professor David Sbarra’s brief synopsis of cognitive behavioral therapy to readers who know that stifling their emotions isn’t good, but don’t want to wallow in them either.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How cognitive reappraisal benefits people during distressing events,

  • Why challenging your thoughts and core beliefs can lead to greater emotional resilience, and

  • How a “thought record” can help distressed patients.


About the Author

David Sbarra teaches  psychology at the University of Arizona and has published his research in Health PsychologyEmotion, and Perspectives on Psychological Science. He’s also the director of the Laboratory for Social Connectedness and Health. 



Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) uses a number of tools to reframe any situation in more technical, objective ways to reduce negative emotions and encourage positive behavior. Cognitive reappraisal is a core tool used in CBT, which focuses on relatively recent events that occur in a person’s life, their thoughts about those events, and their resulting feelings and behavior. If a person is in a near constant state of emotional distress, it’s likely that the bulk of their thoughts are inaccurate and dysfunctional. People are often unaware of dysfunctional thoughts, which may be deeply rooted and automatic. Many people have distorted core beliefs about themselves which – if left unchallenged – can lead to poor decision making and major suffering. CBT helps patients modify core beliefs and gain awareness of the inaccurate thoughts that arise on a daily basis.

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