I think the trick to good CBT, which despite it's fancy name is usually just affirmations from what I've seen, is to get at statements that are actually TRUE for you. Every example of it that I've seen in books has been complete hogwash that I can get in any New Age book of magic words that don't work unless you can hypnotize yourself into believing them, and for someone with a serious disorder that will not last long or go very far if works at all. But in desperation after reading book after book about anxiety that doesn't help, I decided to try harder to make what I read work, and that's what I found -- it takes FOREVER to come up with something I can believe but if I do it does help. The trouble besides zoning in on it and the time it takes is that I have a very serious disorder so I have a LOT of beliefs that work against me. Which, btw is the trick to zoning in on issues and coming up with good disputations -- they are not ALL irrational thoughts and most CBT I've read treats them all that way. But it is more like a fact in my life that my father, for instance, will argue with me. Thinking something like "The past doesn't equal the future" or some nonsense helps not at all because it is not really true. So I have to work along the lines of "Most likely he will argue with me" and then work something out that I can live with from that when I have to approach him. I then usually go to some other nonsense I read in CBT books like "Well I don't have to fall apart" but those are not true either. Of course I don't HAVE to fall apart, but my problem is I DO. So I then start fishing around for why I do, what belief I have that causes me to react that way that I might be able to change, that's something that HE implanted and that I myself don't really believe, or that I really am not completely sure of for some reason that gives me some leeway to break away from the feelings and beliefs that ARE rational given my circumstances, but don't SERVE me well, in favor of something that I can believe is TRUE, not something I'd merely LIKE to be true like "I don't care".
"Is he always right?"
"Well he's usually right"
"But isn't there some things you have been right about?"
The thing is I am also in Adult Children of Alcoholics which is my bedrock of therapy. So I take what I learn there and then use CBT to apply it. Without some other source of support and insight, CBT is useless.