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I Think Therefore I Behave… a personal reflection on cognitive self change

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

It was the French philosopher René Descartes who showed that the first step to the attainment of knowledge was cogito, ergo sum; that is I think, therefore I am. So what is the relevance to Thinking for a Change? Well nothing, but if I think, therefore I am, does indeed have any meaning then I think therefore I behave is hugely applicable to the Thinking for a Change program.

Thinking affects our Behaviors

As a program Thinking for a Change is based on cognitive restructuring theory, it’s a program that fully believes that our thinking controls our behavior. By recognizing this simple principle, then to change our behavior, we must change our thinking. Thinking for a Change teaches techniques, through the utilization of cognitive self-change, that provides its group member with a solid, repeatable process for self-awareness; allowing them to uncover risky thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.

By effecting cognitive change and recognizing and accepting I think therefore I behave, participants learn to both think about their actions and more importantly think more positively before making decisions, rather than acting impulsively; driven by their risky emotions and feelings. Without thinking positively with new insight, our behaviors can run rampant, born out of our own emotions. In Thinking for a Change we show how such behaviors can lead to the conflict cycle, a perpetually repetitive sequence of cause and negative effect where behaviors, without thinking, can lead to ever-increasing consequences. It is the process of cognitive thought and a simple set of steps that allow for this cycle to be broken, leading to positive results. Through practice, group members are taught to think in new ways when a crisis moment occurs, to recognize risky situations, and develop new thought patterns that result in new, more positive actions.

As a facilitator, I constantly remind group members that our Thinking affects our Behaviors. The course demonstrates this via the use of a simple step process; through tools such as Thinking Reports which allow group members to identify risky thoughts, risky attitudes, and beliefs, and develop new thoughts. It’s a message that I hope, by repetition, they get. Group members, by recognizing that they don’t have to act on impulse and that they have the choice to think about their actions, come to understand that they have the power to change their lives. Cognitive self-change provides the skills to do this.

If, I think therefore I behave is true, then If I employ new thinking, I can change my behaviors is equally so.


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