Thought stopping

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Thought stopping is a cognitive intervention technique prescribed by psychotherapists with the goal of interrupting, removing, and replacing problematic recurring thoughts. [1] It is considered a core cognitive intervention method that is distinct for the absence of analysis in the treatment of negative thoughts. [2] It is often employed as a standalone or auxiliary treatment to address depression, panic, anxiety, and addiction, among other afflictions that involve obsessive thought. [1]



The problem thought being addressed could be a worry, an obsession, an urge, an unwanted habit, etc. The technique's objective is to suppress or eliminate the negative thought by replacing it with [2] positive or adaptive thinking. One approach is to command, yell, or mind scream "Stop!" whenever the unwanted thought recurs, and then think of a more positive or productive thought to replace it with. [3] Another technique is to wear a rubber band on the wrist which the patient snaps to punish himself whenever the unwanted thought surfaces. Dismissing the thought at will as soon as it is noticed is another method.

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  1. 1 2 Sperry, Len; Binensztok, Vassilia (2019-04-30). Ultra-Brief Cognitive Behavioral Interventions: A New Practice Model for Mental Health and Integrated Care. Routledge. ISBN   9781351202459.
  2. 1 2 Wright, Jesse H.; Brown, Gregory K.; Thase, Michael E.; Basco, Monica Ramirez (2017). Learning Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: An Illustrated Guide. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Publishing. p. 166. ISBN   9781615370184.
  3. Corcoran, Jacqueline (2014). Collaborative Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention in Social Work Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 91. ISBN   9780199937158.