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 Post subject: Vertical Arrow Technique
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:27 am 
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I figured a thread with the name of the technique in the subject heading might be helpful. :)

The Vertical Arrow Technique comes from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D Burns.

The book introduces it starting on page 263, near the beginning of (3rd page of) chapter 10. There's another example on page 363.

Here's a copy of my post from back in April with my example.
Quote:
I was reading Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D Burns. Well, looking through it, reading bits, and I came across something I found rather helpful.

It related to negative thoughts. And the thing was, instead of just untwisting the surface thoughts, digging deeper. Take the thought, and ask oneself something like "So what, what happens if that's true?". And then give your answer. And repeat till you've dug to the core. And then each of the levels can be untwisted.

And it seems to me untwisting from the bottom up works better. (And it could even be the book says that. Like I said, I was just reading bits.)

Here's my example.

I don't want him to see me because if he sees me, he'll judge me.

So what if he judges me?

Then he won't like me.

So what if he doesn't like me?

Then he won't love me.

So what if he doesn't love me?

And, I don't remember my exact wording on this last one when I did it this morning (I think it was just this morning). But it was something like I wouldn't exist, or I'd disappear.

Obvious twisted thinking. But in order to untwist it, I had to dig down to it and see it.

And once I deal with that deep level, it's easier to go back to the top and say "Hey, you know what, he's probably not going to pay much attention to me." To know that without dwelling on the "but I don't know that, maybe he will". Yeah, maybe he will. Not likely, but possible. But once I've dug down to why that possibility scared me, and untwisted the deeper levels, it's easier not to dwell on that small chance of being judged, easier not to turn that small chance into "he'll judge me".

This is a combination of my own thoughts and what was in the book. I wish I could find the pages in the book. But alas, I can't.

I could also untwist those middle levels. And actually look at the 10 forms of twisted thinking and say which ones fit. But right now I'd rather be getting to bed.


Earlier in the book he introduces the triple column technique and the double column technique. In the triple column technique, the first column is automatic thoughts, the 2nd is the distortion (from the 10 forms of twisted thinking -- linked under tools at left) and the 3rd is rational response. The two column technique is similiar but leaves out the middle column.

The verticle arrow technique is a variation of these. You start with the automatic thought, as he calls it. The distorted thought you are trying to untwist. But before moving to column 2, we move downward. The verticle arrow. With the vertical arrow, one asks oneself, "If that is true, what is that a problem; why does that upset me?". And write down the answer. And repeat till you get to the core. Which for me was "If he stopped loving me I'd disappear".

Then after doing that you go back and pinpoint the distortions and substitute rational responses.

Here's my example (from back in April) of the substituting rational responses:

Quote:
If he stopped loving me, I'd disappear.

I'm not sure this quite fits under any of the listed 10 forms of twisted thinking. But, then labeling it isn't important. Seeing that it's distorted is.

Rational response: My existance does not depend on him.

Actually, that relates to, not so much any thinking I'd as a whole disappear. More like, feeling that something within me, vital to me, would disappear. Maybe that Little Girl would disappaear. Though, really, the rational response is pretty much the same.

My existance does not depend on him, or on his love. Nor does the existance of any certain parts of my self. Where he has been an example for me, that example remains no matter what he thinks of me.

He is not God; he is not the ground of my being.


If he doesn't like me, he won't love me.

On these (this and the following), I really can't look at him and say what's true for him in particular. And it wouldn't be fair to him to talk about it here if I could. But then, that's not necessary. I can look at these thoughts and untwist them even without understanding him in particular.

Again, I can't really fit this into a label. But I know it's distorted.

Rational response: Like and love don't always go together. We can like people we don't love, and love people we don't like. If someone, at any particular time, doesn't like me, that doesn't mean they have or will stop loving me.


If he judges me, he won't like me.

Mindreading. Fortunetelling. Which are both Jumping to conclusions. Heck, maybe the previous one was too.

Rational response: I don't know that. I don't know how he'll think of me if he judges me. It might be negative, but it might be positive. And, heck, even if he judges negatively, that doesn't mean he won't like me. It's often not that simple.


If he sees me, he'll judge me.

I suppose there some mental filter going on. Focusing too much on something critical he said and making too much of it. Well, that's more the background to this statement that the statement itself.

Fortune telling.

Rational response: Yeah, if he sees me, he might have some thoughts about me. But he's not going to dwell on me. He's got a lot of other stuff to pay attention to besides me and probably won't be wasting much energy on me. And it's not a given that whatever thoughts he does have about me will be judgemental.


The two links I found on the web related to this. Fifteen Ways To Untwist Your Thinking has the 10 ways listed here [to the left under tools] plus 5 more, including the vertical-arrow technique. Just brief descriptions. It's one for this is: "Draw a vertical arrow under your Negative Thought and ask why it would be upsetting if it was true."

The Vertical Arrow Technique. Here you can see the arrows that I didn't attempt to visually put in when I posted (they are there in spirit).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:35 am 
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Thanks, Ellen. I tried to use the technique and posted about it in my thread, but it would help if I did it more completely. I have Burns' book somewhere in my house; I just have to find it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:46 pm 
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thanks, MR, for posting this. i find it interesting and am trying to learn it. appreciate you sharing:)

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 Post subject: Feeling Good
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:03 pm 
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That "Feeling Good" book was really the one self-help book that really helped me get through one really bad summer. I was so anxiety-ridden and at home just on a roller coaster of negative emotions. I did the exercises he recommended and would recommend that book to anyone. Actually, I think I will read it again. It's been a long time and I have a fear I will die as I lived - which wold be a sad thing indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertical Arrow Technique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Thanks for this. My t and I tried this last week actually and it does help, especially figuring out that core dysfunctional thought. THanks for posting this.

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 Post subject: Re: Vertical Arrow Technique
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:02 am 
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This really makes a lot of sense to me. I have a really hard time trying to figure out what I am really thinking underneath or to even give an honest answer to a question. I have just now read about it and I am going to use this method and see how it goes. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertical Arrow Technique
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 10:53 pm 
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Thank you for posting this..I'm going to try this now. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Vertical Arrow Technique
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:28 am 
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I remember being introduced to this in my CBT class. I never really used it though, so maybe I'll lend my hand at it now? Dunno if this is a good thread to do this in, but whatever.
-------
I'm bored and he's bored.

So what if we're both bored?
It shows that we don't enjoy each other's company.

So what if we don't enjoy each other's company?
Then we can't really be friends.

So what if we can't be friends?
Then I can't be friends with a lot of other really cool people as well, because I'm
so boring and unlikeable.

So what if I can't be friends with these people?
Then I'll be alone and missing out.

So what if I'm alone and missing out?
Then I'll be miserable and life won't be worth living.
-------
I can see a lot of twisted thinking going on here don't really feel like untwisting it right now.... but at least now it makes a lot more sense why I was so upset "because I'm bored."

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