At the end of last year, I started CBT. I have already had my first three sessions, I am still very much in the beginning stages of this type of therapy. However, I wanted to share a few of the lessons I have learned so far and when I am finished I can share my lessons from my last four sessions.
I wanted to get serious with my mental health this year and decided to go for CBT to start my therapy journey. I was curious to see what therapy could do that for me, it was also free so I wasn’t going to say no to free therapy.
Already from the first few sessions, I can see that I want to go on and try another form of talking therapy to work through my past, as I feel I may be able to use the tools from CBT better then.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy typically used by those with anxiety and depression. CBT can be used to help manage our problems by changing the way we think and behave.
CBT focuses on our current problems, instead of past issues and provides us with the tools to manage those problems. It is Free on the NHS, you can either speak to your GP about CBT or you can refer to yourself as I did via the NHS.
What 3 Lessons Did I Learn From My First 3 Sessions of CBT?
First Session: It Is Okay To Cry
Answering questions on what brought you to therapy and explaining why you have rated 3 (nearly every day) for “little interest or pleasure in doing things” can have you in tears and reaching for the tissues, but it is okay. Things that we may not think about every day or emotions and feelings we suppress can surface when we are asked to dig a little deeper. Your therapist would have definitely seen people cry before, and even when your therapist tells you “it’s okay” you may still try to sniff those tears back up, it’s all part of the journey.
For the past two years, I have found myself crying more than I would normally, I mean I would barely cry before, but I think in those past two years so much has happened and I guess I haven’t been able to process it all. I have learnt to let go more often, instead of holding it all in, find a way to let it out. I journal more now, I speak to my family and I write. Feel what you have to feel, give yourself the day or two to work through those emotions and feelings.
Second Session: Balance Is Key
We know just how important balance is in all aspects of our lives. For some of us balance doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50, it is all relative to our own lifestyles and how we manage the circumstances around us.
In our second session, I realised how important it is to have a balance that is personal to you and in order to find that balance you do have to go through a trial and error process.
My therapist shared that there are three main forms of activities that we need to cover in order to find our balance; routine, pleasurable activities and necessary activities. All of these three areas are equally important and need to be covered in order to reduce stress and anxiety.
After looking at my week I noticed I have a lot of pleasurable activities but when it comes to routine and necessary activities it is very sporadic. I have been working on creating a better routine, seeing what works, what doesn’t work and what needs adjusting slightly to fit into my lifestyle better.
Third Session: Be honest With Yourself And Your Therapist
This might sound obvious but if you have spent some time saying you’re okay when you aren’t, it does become a bad habit. It is important that you feel comfortable enough with your therapist to share any concerns you may have, it isn’t easy being vulnerable with someone you do not know, however, they are there to help so take your time, there is no right or wrong way to experience therapy.
After my last session before the Christmas holidays, I said I was okay to get on with the activity I had been set. I said it all looked good, but soon after leaving I felt like I had lied. It may all sound good, achievable and simple but I know myself, and I know that sticking to something can sometimes be difficult. I wanted to go back and say “this all looks great, but I know what I am like. I stick at it for a day or two and then I’ll stop. What do I do when/if that happens?“.
Share the concerns you have with your therapist and they will be able to give you the advice you need, no question or concern is silly. What you put into therapy is what you get out.
If you want to know more or have any questions regarding CBT and my experience feel free to send me a message or email and I will be happy to help any way that I can.