The following are examples of The Power to Change's cognitive restructuring concepts. These are the concepts that inmates learn from one another during the groups.
- We can’t change an event; we can only change our attitude toward it.
- Antisocial responses must not be expressed in outer reactions.
- Every act of self-control leads to a sense of self-respect.
- We can break old habit patterns.
- Endorse (praise) even your smallest efforts.
- Don’t look regretfully into the past or fearfully into the future.
- There are no uncontrollable impulses, only impulses that are not controlled.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Humor is your best friend, and temper is your worst enemy.
The program also uses terminology that encourages moderate and concise expression. In addition, certain terms evoke important concepts that underlie the program.
- The word “temper” is divided into two parts, “angry temper” and “fearful temper,” to emphasize the close relationship of anger and fear. Most inner disturbances come from poorly managed temper.
- Both tempers result from the “judgment of right and wrong,” whether the judgment be “You are wrong” (angry temper) or “I am wrong” (fearful temper).
- The terms “inner environment” and “outer environment” remind the participants that we cannot control what happens outside ourselves (people, events and the past), but we can apply controls to our inner thoughts and impulses.
- Through “choice” we say “yes” or “no” to destructive impulses or thoughts.
- “Training” is accomplished over time by ongoing practice and effort.
- “Self-endorsement,” or praising oneself for effort as well as for successful outcomes is strongly emphasized.
- “Temperamental language” – exaggerated, negative, insecure, alarmist, or defeatist expression is discouraged.