What’s “The I.D.E.A.”?

Simply put, the IDEA system is the way that CognImmune simplifies and integrates Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) into it’s training programs.

The IDEA System is based on the four following steps.

  • Identify
  • Define
  • Explain
  • Adjust

Identify – the Cognitive Distortions that are impacting negatively on your life

Define – the distorted thoughts that are being generated by these Cognitive Distortions

Explain – to yourself what’s right and wrong about these distorted thoughts.

Adjust – your thoughts in order to counter and replace those that are distorted.

CognImmune training will teach you what the various Cognitive Distortions are and how to recognize them. More importantly, you will also learn techniques that help you identify which of these distortions may be impacting on your life at a particular point in time.

But identifying Cognitive Distortions is only the first step. As important as it is to  Identify the Cognitive Distortions that may be affecting you, it is just as important to Define the distorted thoughts that have been created by these flawed thought processes.

Perhaps you believe that you are prone to the Cognitive Distortion Personalization. An example of the reason you have been led to believe this is because you recently invested in stock in a publicly traded company.

The day after you invested, the stock dropped by more than 15%! The thought that begins running through your mind is something like, “The stock was doing fine until I bought it. Obviously, because I invested in it, the stock suffered a major loss and it’s just going to keep on losing money so long as I continue to hold it.”

There could be any number of reasons why the stock suddenly lost money but, realistically, none of them have anything to do with the fact that you personally invested in it.

The next step in the IDEA process is to explain what is right and what is wrong with the thoughts you Defined in the previous step. While this may seem counter intuitive at first glance, it actually makes a lot of sense.

In the example we used above, the value of the stock did go down after you purchased it. This is a fact that can’t be simply be ignored. And there may be other facts that are equally valid and shouldn’t be dismissed.

Perhaps the value of the stock had risen consistently over a period of months, or even years. That could even have been one of the factors that contributed to your making the stock purchase in the first place. And it could also have been one of the reasons the value of the stock suddenly went down.

Maybe the entire market dropped on that particular day. Or, the stock was due for a correction. There might have been an announcement that the company was lowering it’s earnings outlook for the year. The possibilities are almost endless.

None of these facts proves that what happened to the stock was in any way your fault. They are simply facts.

And while these facts serve to demonstrate that a negative event occurred just after you made your investment, there are positive facts to take into account as well.

Perhaps you have made investments in the past and the stocks you purchased appreciated in value. Their value certainly didn’t go up just because you invested in them. There would have been a host of factors that contributed to this increase in value. And these are facts as well.

The important element in this stage of the IDEA process is that you honestly evaluate the facts associated with the distorted thoughts you are having. In this way you are able to understand why you are entertaining these thoughts and, more importantly, why you shouldn’t be holding on to them.

This understanding is essential to the final step in the process, the Adjustment stage.

Let’s recall the initial distorted thought. “The stock was doing fine until I bought it. Obviously, because I invested in it, the stock suffered a major loss and it’s just going to keep on losing money so long as I continue to hold it.”

We now have at our disposal facts that demonstrate exactly why this personalized thought is wrong. The stock didn’t lose money just because you bought it. Nor will it go up in value for that reason! And since now we know that this thought is wrong, as well as why it is wrong, we can start to develop new thoughts to counter – or Adjust – it.

The secret is to start writing down new thoughts, based on the previous three steps, that counter the distorted thought you identified in step two, the Define stage.

You know that the value of the stock went down. But you also know that this had nothing to do with you Personally.

You could write down thoughts like,

  • “I know the value of the stock went down just after I bought it but that was because . . . .” (New corporate guidance, a regulatory issue, a downturn in the entire market or whatever the case might be.)
  • “Yes, the value of the stock went down but I have made investments in the past that made me money.”
  • “Investing in the stock market is not a sure thing. Sometimes you make money, sometimes you lose money. I understood that when I decided to invest in the first place. But whatever happens to the stocks I invest in it certainly has nothing to do with me personally.”

And, yes, to answer your question, it is important to write these thoughts down.

  • It gives you a chance to work on and edit them until you get them just right
  • By reading and re-reading them you can commit them to memory so that you can use them consistently. This is an important element in replacing the negative, erroneous, distorted thoughts that give rise to mental illnesses like depression
  • As soon as they are written down they begin to take power away from negative distorted thoughts since these become unable to hide from being replaced by positive counterparts

Once you have learned to use this system you will begin to understand where Distorted Thoughts come from. More important than that, you will begin to develop the tools and expertise necessary to prevent these Distorted Thoughts from ruling your life and leading you down the path to depression and other mental illnesses.

We have developed a simple step by step process that is effective and easy to follow. And the CognImmune IDEA system will show you how you can make a better life, free of so many of the negative thoughts that can confound it.