For the last few weeks at 4pm on Thursdays I have been attending a University of Dundee Counselling Service run class called “Living Life to the Full”. The class concentrates on encouraging mental wellbeing through introducing CBT skills to students who are struggling with anxiety & or depression in the context of their university experience. llttf.com/ – the visual tone of this website very much reflects the patronising tone of the course itself.
The first class was the most relevant to my project. It followed a book from the LLTTF syllabus’ reading list called “Why Do I Feel So Bad”. The book introduces the concept of a vicious circle – ‘a complex chain of events which reinforce themselves through a feedback loop leading to increasingly detrimental results.’ After introducing the concept and breaking it down into steps it then encourages the reader to understand what is happening and use their rational thought to ‘reverse the spinning circle’.
It breaks the circle down into four quadrants: altered thinking, altered feelings, altered physical symptoms & altered behaviour. The key revelation here is that this is not the ‘real you’, but an ‘altered you’ which has been triggered by an outside event.
Some of the spreads:
The focus is all on looking outside in at your situation and then making a plan to counteract it. The activity of rationally writing down what is happening followed by what you are going to do about it is an introductory basic CBT skill – the most widely used therapy for anxiety disorders.
More detailed CBT research to follow.
PS: A succinct way of explaining the vicious circle.