Interpersonal Problem Grid

The Interpersonal Problem Grid is a tool to assist looking at an interpersonal problem or conflict from a variety of perspectives. This can help to develop a fuller picture of the nature of the problem and where change may be possible.

A more detailed explanation and example of how the interpersonal problem grid can be used can be found in the article “It’s not me – it’s you” – a problem of perspective.

Subjective Units of Distress scales

This scale can be used as a “thermometer” of a variety of emotions, for the purpose of grading and comparing the intensity of an emotion in different contexts. The name of the emotion is recorded at the top of the scale, and a description of what is experienced at different intensities is recorded against different values on the thermometer, with 0 representing the absence of the emotion, and 100 representing the most intense experience of that emotion you could ever imagine experiencing. There are two versions of this tool available:

The ABC Monitoring worksheet

The ABC Monitoring worksheet is for identifying beliefs that play a role in producing our emotional and behavioural reactions to situations. Triggering situations are recorded in the “A” column, and reactions in the “C” column. Thoughts and beliefs that produced those reactions are then recorded in the “B” column. It is useful to use this tool in conjunction with a list of common cognitive distortions so that unhelpful beliefs can be categorised according to relevant cognitive distortions.

A Cognitive Behavioural model of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I have recently added a new PDF of a CBT model of OCD to the self help resources at Thrive Wellness. In this post I would like to provide some detail on this model.

CBT model of OCD

The cycle of OCD all begins with intrusive thoughts: distressing thoughts that seem to pop out of nowhere and are inconsistent with personal values. Pretty much everyone experiences intrusive thoughts from time to time. In OCD, however, these intrusive thoughts become so repetitve and distressing that they are referred to by a different name: obsessions.

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Compulsions: fast-acting anxiety relief! (With a price…)

As I have previously written, there are two key facets of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: obsessions and compulsions. In this post I want to explain what compulsions are, and why they occur.

Essentially, compulsions are actions or thoughts that are repetitively performed in an attempt to reduce or eliminate anxiety or distress triggered by obsessions. A compulsion may be an attempt to prevent obsessions from coming to mind (perhaps by repeatedly praying for such thoughts to be prevented, or repeating a phrase intended to block such thoughts), or it may be an attempt to prevent some feared outcome associated with the obsession (such as calling a friend to warn them to be careful after having an image come to mind of that friend being in an accident).

In the beginning stages of the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder compulsions provide fast relief from the anxiety or distress created by intrusive thoughts – uninvited, upsetting thoughts that can pop into our minds unexpectedly.
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“I have an anger problem” – time for assertiveness

Often when people talk about having an “anger problem” what they really have is an aggression problem. What’s the difference?

I have often found that people whose aggressive behaviour lands them in trouble actually have very good reasons to be angry… but there is a problem with their anger being directed at the wrong people and being expressed in the wrong way.

Anger is an emotion that motivates us to take action. Our response to anger falls on a scale ranging from passivity at one end – taking no action and pretending we weren’t angry to begin with; and aggression at the other end – raging, shouting, punching, throwing …
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“It’s not me – it’s you” – a problem of perspective

Have you ever heard someone describing an ongoing problem they’ve been having with a friend or colleague and thought to yourself, “The problem is you, not them!”

Why is it that if a man’s own behaviour is the major cause of his own problem he can rarely see that it so – while it may be painfully obvious to others?

The problem lies with perspective. We all look at the world through our particular unique filters that make up our perspective of our world. Different people usually have slightly different biases: One woman assumes everyone she meets is trustworthy; one man believes that children don’t like him. There are also a number of biases that are nearly universal: for example, the confirmation bias which involves favouring information that supports our existing beliefs (e.g., choosing to read more articles by climate change skeptics than proponents because you are skeptical of climate change and, what’s more, being highly critical of proponent’s arguments but accepting skeptic’s arguments without cross-checking their supporting data).

These biases and the narrowness of our perspective make us vulnerable to errors of judgment – including the failure to realise when we are the source of our own problems.
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