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Thought Stopping

Description of the Strategy

Thought stopping is a cognitive strategy wherein individuals are taught to take control of negative, intrusive thoughts and replace them with neutral or positive thoughts. The concept behind thought stopping addresses the issue of negative cognitions serving a reinforcing effect and leading to further negative thoughts and maladaptive thinking and behavior. Thought stopping therefore operates by interfering with the reinforcing pattern and replacing the learned behavior with a more adaptive behavior. Individuals are thus reinforced for the effort to stop their negative thoughts by becoming engaged in more positive, adaptive cognitive strategies.

Thought stopping is a commonly used cognitive strategy in cognitive-behavioral treatment of both children and adults. It is most frequently applied in situations when individuals' cognitive ...

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