We introduce Repetition Therapy, a special type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that makes use of repetition-induced neuroplasticity to help change one’s beliefs and mindset. Repetition Therapy makes use of introspection and affirmation in tandem to achieve long-lasting positive effects on the human mind and psyche.

While Repetition Therapy can be used by anyone with literacy, it will be most effective on those who are open to and are actively seeking a change. If you are interested in therapy, odds are you have already identified certain negative beliefs that you would like to work on. We will assume this is not the case and start from the beginning.

Introspection

Start with asking yourself a couple of questions to identify any negative beliefs you might possess. For example:

  • Do I feel like I deserve to feel good?
  • Do I feel like I deserve to be loved?
  • Do I believe that I am/can be smart?
  • What is something that I showed a desire towards recently, but did not attempt to do, or turn into reality?
  • What are the views that might be holding me back in life?
  • Is there anything that I want more of, but feel that I can’t get?
  • Who are my role models, and do I believe that I could be more successful than them, given the opportunity?

Write the answers down, and try to obtain propositions for beliefs that might be holding you back, or making you feel bad. These beliefs generally come in the form: “I am not X”, “I cannot do X”, or “I do not deserve X”. For example, “I am not smart”, “I cannot do a good job”, or “I do not deserve love”. Try to be honest with yourself, and try not to take these negative statements personally. It is the goal of Repetition Therapy to massage negative beliefs into positive ones through consistent effort.

The worksheet

The worksheet is a template that we have prepared to make Repetition Therapy as easy as possible. You can choose any of the following options:

  • Paper worksheet: Download the PDF by clicking here and print it out.
  • Notion template: Duplicate this Notion page to have your own full-fledged digital Repetition Therapy journal.
  • Your own page/notebook: If you cannot print it, you can still use an empty page or a notebook, and follow the structure we have created in the worksheet.

Writing the core affirmation

Choose the belief that you think is the most important for you in this moment. Change the sentence from a negative to a positive one. For example, change

“I am an impostor at work.”

to

“I deserve my position at work.”

Notice that the positive version of the belief is very different from the negative one. You might need to think about it for some time, in the meanwhile asking yourself “How could I make this into a positive sentence?”. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with it right away. Trying to think a thought that stands against your current beliefs is incredibly hard. That is why you often need counseling to direct you to positive thought patterns.

This will be the basis of your core affirmation—the foundation of the new belief you are going to reinforce. However, it is not ready yet! We need to make sure that it will work the way we intend it to, before we put it into use.

Negativity check

Make sure that there aren’t any negative words in your affirmation, including ‘no’, ‘not’, ‘never’ and any negative nounds and adjectives you might have used. The following is incorrect:

“I am not an impostor at work.”

If you came up with such an affirmation, try to replace the sentence bit by bit, until it is semantically fully positive. For example, you could say

“I hold my position rightfully at work.”

Tone check

Make sure that you don’t use a forceful or harsh tone in your affirmation, including ‘must’, ‘need to’ and ‘have to’. The following is incorrect:

“I need to perform better at work.”

If you came up with such an affirmation, try to replace the forceful tone with an encouraging one, using ‘can’ and ‘will’ instead. For example, you could say

“I can perform better at work if I want to.”

or

“I will perform better at work by doing what is necessary.”

Dissonance check

Say the core affirmation out loud slowly and clearly. Odds are, this positive version of your negative belief might feel awkward, cringy or plainly wrong. This is completely normal—if you could say it that easily, then you wouldn’t have been reading about therapy. That feeling is called cognitive dissonance, and you might experience it when you do or say something that contradicts your current beliefs.

The way to overcome dissonance is to make your affirmation more modest. You have already shown intent that you would like to believe in something more positive. Ask yourself: “How could I make this more believable and positive at the same time?”. This is often achieved by reframing the belief in an emotional sense, accompanied by an encouraging tone:

“I can make myself feel that I deserve my position at work.”

or even

“I can feel more secure at my workplace.”

After all, that visceral feeling is what we generally find the hardest to change. Although we are sometimes convinced that we don’t deserve to feel good unless we fulfill a certain condition, doing so can increase the odds of us fulfilling it. In this example, shedding doubt and anxiety at the workplace can lead to more learning opportunities and increased competence, making it even easier to feel more secure.

Once you perform all the checks and modify your core affirmation as needed, say it out loud slowly, 3 times in a row. Do you feel good, or bad about this statement? If you don’t know or feel neutral about it, repeat it slowly as many times as necessary until it starts to evoke a feeling.

  • If it feels good, then congratulations! You are not that far away from becoming more positive about this issue.

  • If it still feels awkward, cringy or wrong, then do not linger on it any further. We do not advise to use this technique without counseling.

Writing the supporting affirmations

Write the core affirmation in the first box in your worksheet. Under the core affirmation, you will come up with at least 4 and at most 9 additional affirmations that support it. These can be:

Facts that complement the core affirmation

Believable facts or corollaries that prove or justify the core affirmation make ideal supporting affirmations. To find a supporting affirmation this way, ask yourself:

What believable thing could I say that proves this?

For our example, one could say

“Nobody is born with prior knowledge of their work.”

or

“Learning is a part of the process.”

Evidences from your past

Scan your memory for a past occurrence that proves or justifies the core affirmation. Ask yourself:

What has happened in the past that could prove this?

For our example, one could say

“I already convinced people that I can do this at the interview.”

or

“I was successful at school, so I can also be successful here.”

Future possibilities

Another good material for supporting affirmations are predictions about that would come true if you were to believe in it. Ask yourself:

What positive thing could happen if I were to believe in this?

For our example, one could say

“My fear shows that I care about my job, and that is why I will succeed.”

All in all, you can turn any statement that makes you feel good into a supporting affirmation.

Write the supporting affirmations under the core affirmation, in an order that makes sense for you. We present below an example of a finished worksheet:

Core affirmation: 1. I can feel more secure at my workplace.
Supporting affirmations:
  1. I already convinced people that I can do this at the interview.
  2. I was successful at school, so I can also be successful here.
  3. Nobody is born with prior knowledge of their work.
  4. Everybody starts as a blank slate at a position they have never been before.
  5. Before you know how to do something, you don't.
  6. Learning is a part of the process.
  7. Everybody fakes it until they make it—it is how things go.
  8. I learned X, I can also learn Y.
  9. My fear shows me that I care about my job, and that is why I will succeed.

Practice

Below are the instructions for one session of therapy:

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place, and sit in an upright position.
  • Try to relax if you can, but don’t be too relaxed, since the exercise requires focus and attention.
  • Hold the page in front of you, and say the core affirmation out loud 3 times, slowly and clearly.
  • Go through the supporting affirmations one by one, saying each one out loud once. Give yourself time in between to acknowledge and feel each statement.
  • Once you finish the last affirmation, return to the beginning of the page. This was the first loop.
  • Do the same thing again, and loop over the sheet for at least 6 times in total.

In the end, you will have repeated a total of at least (3+4)*6=42 affirmations. Congratulate yourself for coming this far.

Reflect

Note your feelings upon completing the session. Do you feel good, or do you feel bad? Do you feel that this could eventually help you if done in a certain way? It is important, because individuals’ reaction to their first time is varied:

  • In some cases, there is an instant feedback of positive feelings such as hope and optimism.
  • In some cases, there is no immediate reaction.
  • In some cases, there are negative feelings such as awkwardness and cringe.

If you feel bad in any way, please do not continue with the practice. If you are still interested in it, you can request counseling.

Repeat Daily

If you don’t feel bad and think that this can help you, below are the instructions on how to proceed.

  • Don’t lose the worksheet, and preserve it in a folder. You can also use a notebook if you would like.
  • Choose a certain hour of the day for the practice which suits you.
  • Practice the worksheet everyday for 21 days (3 weeks). That means at least 6 loops every day.

You might notice some results before the end of that. However, note that any positive changes that might come from only a few days of practice will probably not be permanent. Feel free to modify your worksheet and practice it indefinitely.

If you would like us to show you how to do it the right way, you can request counseling.

Next: How to write affirmations