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On the last track we discussed the first step of reforming negative emotions. This first step is determining if the emotion is realistic and appropriate.
On this track we will continue to discuss reforming negative emotions. This will be limit the duration of the unpleasant emotion. We will also discuss the "Act As If" technique.
Reforming Negative Emotions - Part 2 of 3
2- Step Technique: Act As If
Lynn asked, "I don’t think acting any other way would be uncomfortable." How might you have responded to Lynn? I stated, "I know. That’s ‘acting as if.’ If you act as if long enough and consistently enough, soon this new way of responding will be the way you act naturally. I hasten to add that choosing what is best for you can be and often is based on feelings of love, charity and compassion. I stated to Lynn, "I realize this is not easy, nor does it happen overnight. Acting as if takes consistency and perseverance."
2. The second step in the Act As If technique was for Lynn to find a way to make it happen. First, Lynn told her husband and her children of her fear of abandonment and asked them to be more considerate of her needs. The family tried, but because of habit, not much changed. Lynn stated, "The first option failed." Her next step was to act as if standing up for her own self interest was what she felt like doing.
On this track we discussed an additional method for reforming negative emotions. This was limit the duration of the unpleasant emotion. We will also discussed the act as if technique. This is a two step technique. The two steps are choosing the reaction which best serves the client’s interests and acting as if that is the way the client feels.
On the next track we will finish our discussion on reforming negative emotions. Our final discussion on this topic will be on controlling the intensity of the unpleasant emotion.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Castonguay, A. L., Wrosch, C., & Sabiston, C. M. (2017). The roles of negative affect and goal adjustment capacities in breast cancer survivors: Associations with physical activity and diurnal cortisol secretion. Health Psychology, 36(4), 320–331.
Ciere, Y., Janse, M., Almansa, J., Visser, A., Sanderman, R., Sprangers, M. A. G., Ranchor, A. V., & Fleer, J. (2017). Distinct trajectories of positive and negative affect after colorectal cancer diagnosis. Health Psychology, 36(6), 521–528.
Hart, S. L., & Charles, S. T. (2013). Age-related patterns in negative affect and appraisals about colorectal cancer over time. Health Psychology, 32(3), 302–310.
Rask, C. U., Gehrt, T. B., Rimvall, M. K., & Frostholm, L. (2020). Health anxiety: Conceptualization and future directions. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 228(2), 141–144.
Regenwetter, M., Hsu, Y.-F., & Kuklinski, J. H. (2019). Towards meaningful inferences from attitudinal thermometer ratings. Decision, 6(4), 381–399.
Rompilla, D. B., Jr., Hittner, E. F., Stephens, J. E., Mauss, I., & Haase, C. M. (2021). Emotion regulation in the face of loss: How detachment, positive reappraisal, and acceptance shape experiences, physiology, and perceptions in late life. Emotion. Advance online publication.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 7
What are the two steps to the "act as if" technique? To select and enter your answer go to CE Test.
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