Conversations with ourselves … some ideas from Cognitive Analytic Therapy..

Posted: April 17, 2020
Category: Therapy, Relationships

by Amanda Copeland

Cognitive Analytic Therapy
The relationship you have with yourself is often the most complicated because you can’t walk away from you, you have to forgive every mistake, and deal with every flaw.  You have to find a way to both accept and love yourself.

When we think about ourselves in relationships, we often focus on our external relationships with other people and don’t always pay as much attention to our internal relationship with our self.  We might feel that we don’t really know ourselves very well, or the opposite that we know ourselves too well, in the respect that we find ‘ourselves’ difficult to be around.  We might constantly seek approval or validation from others, needing it to feel that we are ok, and then lack confidence in our own self belief, sense of purpose or achievements.

We may speak to ourselves in ways that make us feel unworthy, less than, lonely and emotionally terrified of getting our life wrong.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy helps us explore our private self as well as our public self.  It helps us think about the different ‘parts’ of ourselves how we may try to project a perfect or idealised self, and judge our self harshly when we don’t always meet our own high (and often unrealistic) expectations.
When thinking about how we relate to ourselves it can be helpful to link feelings, ways of thinking and behaving to our relationship with our private self. Our self to self-experiences can lead to problematic patterns (self abuse and self-criticism are examples) as well as useful ones like self-compassion, mindfulness  and self love.

Health anxiety during Covid-19

We all need a reminder sometimes of how to self love and the important aspects of

  • Being kind to yourself
  • Accepting yourself as you are
  • Taking time out for yourself
  • Saying yes or no more often
  • Going slow
  • Letting go
  • Allowing yourself to cry
  • Remembering how needed or loved you are
  • Letting go of control
  • Asking for help
  • Forgiving yourself


Cognitive Analytic Therapy cbt online therapy

Therapy sessions are an opportunity to provide a space for these reflections.  Often when we improve our relationship with ourselves, we see positive impacts on our relationships with others in the process.  We can all benefit from acknowledging and doing the work of countering negative self-talk and behaviours.  Not only may we flourish when we embolden ourselves with positive reinforcement, we may enjoy more success and improve our quality of life that much more. Changing ourselves can feel at times a challenge, and there may be parts that feel stuck or too painful or emotionally overwhelming to face.  As a consequence, we may work hard to avoid or emotionally disconnect from the parts that we feel bad or shameful about.

It’s as if we feel those parts shouldn’t exist and we try hard to keep them hidden. We try and convince ourselves they don’t exist but they never really go away until we find the courage to confront them.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy can be a safe space to explore and be curious about both the origins of and the functions of the different parts of ourselves.   To try out new ways of relating and being in the therapeutic relationship with the Therapist.

If our different parts can become more openly connected then they can both integrate and communicate with each other, moderating and softening, supporting and caring for each part in the process and leading us towards a relationship with ourselves of greater self-compassion strength and acceptance.

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