|Performance Anxiety Blog|
In this Stress Log Tom reports how he felt and describes some of the things going on in his mind over and over again while he was hoping to "perform" sexually.
Tom has challenged the thoughts in blue
Click on them to see his Thought Challenge exercises
3/13/2012 08:45 PM
Sitting in bed, Melanie undressing, no erection yet
I should have an erection by now
I am not going to have one
She will end up leaving me or at least cheating on me
Previous bad experiences and assumptions about himself make Tom self-conscious and constantly pay attention to himself, rather than to the external situation. Our core beliefs and emotional state determine which situations we perceive.
"Predicting the future" is a common type of negative thought. Seeing the future so negatively makes Tom feel down and tense and prevents him from opening his mind to the possibility of good things happening.
This Stress Log is just one instance of a situation that happens very frequently to Tom. He describes the kind of feeling and related negative thinking he often has when talking to Melanie.
3/18/2012 05:45 PM
Talking to Melanie about what restaurant to go to
Tomorrow's presentation will be a disaster
She always chooses where to go
She wears the pants in our relationship
Tom usually feels hurt after talking to Melanie. It is not what Melanie says, diurectly, but how Tom interprets what she says that hurts him. Therapists often inquire about the exact words that were used in a conversation in order to better understand facts, before they become distorted by the negative interpretation of a client under emotional distress.
In this Stress Log, Tom writes about his feeling and related negative thoughts he had when Melanie called to tell him she was going to be working late.
3/23/2012 05:45 PM
Melanie called and said she has to work late
If I could perform sexually she wouldn't be coming home late
She doesn't want to be with me
She is cheating on me
She is going to leave me
Tom has learned to differentiate between negative emotions and negative thoughts. He used to say he felt “cheated”, or that he felt like a “failure”. Now he knows that being cheated is an idea or a thought that causes intense feelings. He knows that it can be challenged.