Why does a therapist apply a technique called Reality Testing? What is Reframing? Are these good tools for stress management and stress relief?
Many people with psychological problems worry about their situation. These worries cause a lot of additional problems, including sleep loss or low mood. However, we tend to avoid thinking about negative consequences. Many people think, they would not be able to think about a bad outcome or the future because this would cause too much pain or extreme feelings. So they do a lot of things to avoid these feelings, including using alcohol or food or working too much in order to compensate for and overcome negative feelings.
Reality Testing is a way to face all potential negative consequences of a stressful situation or a problem. Think (or better imagine) the worst possible outcome and assess the effects on your personal life. Write down a list of all these negative consequences.
If you are able to reframe the situation, you might get a different insight into your personal problems. Reframing is a way to change the frame of reference, the context or environment in which your personal problem is seen, understood or defined.
Reframing can be a useful tool of cognitive psychotherapy. To confront and rethink the challenges presented by a specific problem helps to get a precise idea of possible solutions. Very often prior worries are mainly caused by a negative self-concept, past experiences or self-blame and shame.
It is a common experience that these potential consequences are not at all realistic. And the patients usually feel that they will be able to live with the worst outcome, so it is not at all worth worrying about it any more. If you know potential negative consequences you can actively cope and try to influence or change the situation.
Reframing helps you to build up a more positive framework and growth-promoting look at your personal situation. This will build up a belief in your own potential to cope with the problem and to find creative solutions.