Self Therapy

thinking statue

In this blog I am going to show you how to carry out your own therapy session. The techniques are based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is currently the most effective treatment for a wide range of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and confidence.

1. Set aside 10-15 minutes, once a week. It is easier to keep Self Therapy going if you make it part of your routine, so choose a time that will work for you every week. The hardest part of Self Therapy is finding the time to do it and even though you might appreciate how good it is for you, this type of ‘self care’ activity is always the first to be pushed into touch when life gets busy. So, if you manage to sit down, you are more than half way there.

2. Get your laptop, a piece of paper or the use the notes on your phone, whatever works and is easiest for you. Think of this step as a warm up for your mind and in the same way that when you exercise your body you warm it up to ensure your workout is as beneficial as possible, to get the most out of Self Therapy you must warm up your mind. Sometimes you will come to Self Therapy with a negative focus that will make working through problems much harder, this warm up enables you to stretch your focus to include all aspects of your knowledge and experience, which you will need to tackle any difficulties.

The task itself: spend 5 minutes listing all the things that have gone well for you this week. Use a timer to make sure that you do not rush through this warm up. The urge to do this will be the strongest if you are feeling stressed or anxious.

3. List all the things that have been bothering you this week and rank them in terms of how much distress they have been causing you.

4. Highlight the first item. Each week you will tackle only the first problem on your list. Doing this will make Self Therapy feel less daunting. Also, many of the other problems on your list will resolve themselves once the most pressing problem has been dealt with. Any remaining problems can join the queue for your next Self Therapy session.

5. Identify the thoughts that are attached to the highlighted problem. For example:

Problem: Next week’s assessment

Thought: “This is going to go terribly, I am going to fail and everyone will realise that I am useless and reject me”.

6. List all of the evidence that supports your thought, regardless of how ‘rational’ it seems.

a) I just feel like it isn’t going to work out

b) I haven’t done this before

c) The last time I did this it didn’t go well

d) I often mess up

7. Go through each supporting piece of evidence and counter it:

a) Feelings aren’t facts

b) This is true but I have done similar things so I can use my experience. I am also creative and resourceful and usually manage to come up with the goods, maybe I should trust myself a little more.

c) This is also true, but I learned a lot from that experience which I can put into practice this time.

d) This isn’t true, a few times things haven’t gone well, but what is more often the case is that I manage well enough in this type of situation.

8. Using your counter evidence as a starting point, think about what you would say to a friend in this position coming to you for advice.

“You have a tendency to doubt and criticise yourself, however you have some skills and have proved that you can make this work. Even if things don’t go as well as you would like them to, you will be able to manage”.

9. Make a positive plan of action:

  • Prepare, but don’t over-prepare.
  • Read through your Self Therapy notes whenever you feel your negative emotions rising to an uncomfortable level
  • Use breathing techniques to switch your mind and body into a more relaxed mode: For more help with this click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share

Related Posts

depression

Can you prevent mental health problems?

Challenges to our mental health seem to be a part of life, a part of life with an important function. These challenges create the opportunity to learn, to develop, to evolve. The suffering that they involve providing the impetus for that development. However, there is a line past which these challenges create more suffering than is, useful. So, I’m going

Read More »
Relationship therapy

Relationship Problems

Relationship Problems Through our lives it’s inevitable that we’ll experience a number of relationships problems. These could be with our partners, our children, our family, or friends. When these relationships start to run into problems, we can be left feeling distressed, upset and highly anxious. These feelings can spread out and effect those who are closest to us. It’s therefore

Read More »
Couples therapy for trauma

The Benefits of Therapy for Children

The National Health Institute (NHS) tells us that mental health conditions do not only affect adults, children can develop them too. However, developmental age can affect how a person responds to therapy. This is why people have developed therapies for children which have proven to often be more effective for young people. At The British CBT & Counselling, we offer

Read More »