What Can I do In-Between Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Sessions?
When you’re struggling, the best thing you can do for yourself is seek counselling. However, the road to recovery is a bit more complicated than just sitting through the therapy – the key to success is practising outside of sessions too. Doing the homework assigned by your therapist and keeping your mood in check are ways to make sure the treatment is effective.
Ways to Make Your Therapy is More Effective
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can treat a range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and chronic pain, and that aims to challenge harmful thoughts and help you develop better coping skills. To consolidate the information you’ve learned during sessions, a therapist will ask you to do specific homework, which will depend on the type of problem you’re dealing with. For example, if you’re working on overcoming social anxiety, you’ll be asked to gradually expose yourself to stressful situations. In addition to following your therapist’s advice, you should also practise general CBT skills in your own time. Making sure that your mood is stable in-between session makes it easier for you to absorb new information and progress faster.
1. Be mindful
One of CBT’s lessons is to approach a problem mindfully, whether it’s dealing with an unpleasant emotion or a thought. This prevents you from becoming too overwhelmed and generates a feeling of peace so that you can manage anxiety in-between sessions. To be more mindful, start by learning how to be present in the moment: focus on one task at a time and try not to let your mind wander.
2. Work on your inner dialogue
Noticing negative thoughts will be difficult at first, especially if you’ve been struggling with self-depreciation for a while and it’s something that will be covered during your therapy sessions anyway. What you can work on instead is becoming more self-compassionate towards yourself. Come up with a few encouraging words you can repeat to yourself every day and say them even when you feel like you aren’t at your best and don’t deserve praise.
3. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal improves your problem-solving skills. When you put your thoughts and feelings on paper, you can better understand yourself and assess a situation.
4. Practise visualisation
Try to think of a place or a person that makes you feel calm and practise this kind of visualisation every day, even when you’re in a good mood. Doing this exercise when you aren’t upset can prepare you for a more challenging scenario.
Self-care can mean different things to different people but it’s described as behaviours that promote mental wellbeing. To lift your mood, do something you enjoy every day, such as having a hot bath or watching your favourite TV series and something that keeps you healthy; make sure you eat fruits and vegetables or treat yourself to an early night.
If you think you could use some mental support, contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat