Module 15: Self-Talk

Changing negative to positive self-talk

You need to be aware of the nature of your self-talk and be determined to shift any negative thinking to positive. This is not always easy as even though you will have a number of positive qualities you may struggle to recognise them and find it hard to give yourself credit for them.

Keep a diary for a week of any negative things you say to yourself.

After a week look back and see what sort of messages you give yourself.

Would you say these things to a friend? We are often harder on ourselves that others. It’s time to be your new best friend and be kind to yourself.

You need to start changing negative statements.

You should now be aware that negative thinking can lead to low mood, loss of motivation and that it contributes to negative unhealthy behaviour - including in some cases offending.

Here are some methods which can help you to tackle your negative thinking:

  1. Challenge your thinking. For each negative statement ask yourself these questions:
    • What evidence do I have for this belief?
    • What other explanations are there?
    • How likely is this to be the case?
    • If it concerned someone else what would I think?
  2. Do something that will distract you from negative thoughts and feelings. This might be an activity or contacting a friend.
  3. Positive reframing. Try to find a positive aspect to the situation to focus on, rather than the negative. This is something we often do after a bereavement for example, remembering the positive life someone had rather than the loss.
  4. Use positive language. If you constantly say “I can’t” you will convince yourself that it’s true. Replace negative words with positive ones.
  5. Reflect on what has contributed to the negative thoughts and feelings. Positive thinking is not about denying that anything is or can go wrong. If something goes wrong then take the time to consider what went wrong in order to avoid future mistakes and look forward more positively.
  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time, practice and determination to change negative thinking and adopt a more optimistic approach.

Planning to be positive

If you know you have to deal with a potentially difficult situation identify and rehearse some positive self-talk statements that you can employ before during and after the situation.

For example going on a first date:

Planning to be positive


This planning can be used in any situation. Think of something you are doing this week that you are worried or nervous about and think of three positive self-talk statements you can say to yourself to help prepare yourself positively.

How does this apply to looking at sexual images of children?

This model is used to explain the internal argument or self-talk someone uses to give themself permission to access sexual images of children. By increasing your awareness of this process and the negative effects of offending for yourself and others, you increase your ability and motivation to avoid offending.

Self-talk leading to offending


Please consider the following questions:

How has your self-talk allowed you to offend?

What will your future self-talk be?



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