Lexi's Compassion Focused Therapy Diary

Discussion in 'Strategies for Success' started by Butterfly, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    Due to popular request, and that my therapists suggest I keep a diary of what goes on in therapy sessions, I have decided to keep a diary. I will write about what happens during my sessions, my thoughts on things and I will share useful techniques that could help others.

    Today was mostly an introductory session and we kind of went over the same things as last week, now that the two groups have merged to make one big group. We mostly looked at symptoms of depression and we had to make a list of them and we discussed whether they were thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms. I know it sounds boring, but that's pretty much all we did after going through all the introductions. For homework I've got to try and make myself aware of my thoughts/feelings/behaviours/physical symptoms and see how they affect me.
     
  2. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Thanks for starting this thread Lexi, I really appreciate the extra effort to let myself and others that are not familiar with the "Compassion Therapy". Have found lots of stuff about CB, and some stuff about DBT, but next to nothing on this approach and have been very curious how it unfolds and what the difference is in approaches. Thanks!
     
  3. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    So today we did a lot of work on identifying whether our reactions to certain situations were physical, thoughts, emotions and behaviour. We worked in groups to discuss these symptoms. I think it was important to recognise what each symptom was so we can challenge it. We discussed the rumination of thoughts. Most people said that they were thoughts which I disagreed with and said that it was a behaviour. When I was asked why, I said "You might not always choose to sit and ruminate, but you can choose not to" and the therapists said that I was exactly right. Then after the break we went through the model of depression (the spoon model). We went through the model of early life experiences > core beliefs > rules for living > critical incidents > negative automatic thoughts > depression. The idea of the therapy is that you eventually change your core beliefs and modify your rules for living. For homework this week I have to see how I react to a situation that challenges me (anxiety, depression etc) and identify how the thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical symptoms all affect one another.
     
  4. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Butterfly, thank you for sharing this. It sounds like it helps people to focus more easily on what is being "triggered" - whether that is emotional, physical, thoughts or a behavior. What a great way to catch ourselves sliding into the muck and re-evaluating before we're in too deep!
     
  5. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    Today was kind of a blur if I'm honest. To begin with we got into pairs and discussed our homework, which was to see how an event affects our thoughts, emotions, behaviour and physical. I chose the night before my interview. I was anxious, thoughts on overdrive which meant I couldn't sleep, then I got anxious about not being able to sleep which kept me awake even longer, so on and so forth. We discussed the spoon model again to try and get a better understanding of it. We also discussed flight and fight and the physical symptoms of it. To be honest, today seemed such a blur that I don't really remember a lot from it. It was quite intense, and the room was so hot I was fighting to stay awake. For homework I have to keep an activity diary, and then keep a pleasure an mastery score, to see how much pleasure I get from the tasks I do and how well I think I did them.

    To be honest this part of the therapy is a little repetitive for me as this is what I did on my last CBT course, but the therapist says that they need to cover the CBT aspect of the therapy first before they can get into the actual compassionate mind training. I understand, and I know that not everybody in the group has done a model of CBT before. But I guess going over it all again refreshes the memory.
     
  6. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    The aim of the therapy is to try and get you to think more compassionately towards yourself. I know that later on in the therapy gets really tough as they make you go back to your childhood and your early life experiences, as that is what has formed your core beliefs and rules for living. I guess one of my core beliefs is I don't ever really think that I am good enough, so the aim of the therapy would be to try and see what caused that belief and eventually try to change it by modifying rules for living.
     
  7. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    My mood seems to have dropped significantly in the past couple of days. I'm not depressed, but I am having a lot of negative feelings. I know exactly what has brought this on which I guess is a good sign. I failed my mentor prep assignment and I am not sure why. I worked really hard on it and spent days writing it, included plenty of references and was very analytical so I am not sure where I went wrong. I have to make an appointment with the tutor to discuss my result, but I am on nights and my tutor is off sick. I believe the course was badly taught, as different tutors said completely different things so it was hard to make heads or tails of what we were actually supposed to do, so it is possible that I have got confused with the objective of the assignment. When I am back on days or have recovered from my night shifts I will go down to the university to pick up my mark sheet and read the feedback then try and arrange an appt with a tutor. I feel bad about it because I had worked hard on it, and I have never failed anything before so it has upset me. I think I could possibly get over this feeling if it was just the failed assignment, but it's not. I recently went for the sister's post on my ward, and I didn't get the job which was fine because I didn't expect to get it and my boss said my interview went extremely well and was going to put me on management and leadership courses to get me ready for when the next sisters post becomes available, which will be in a couple of weeks as one of our sisters is being seconded to another ward. I have since found out that the initial interview was fixed for a certain individual to get the sisters post (my friend, which makes thing difficult) so it was a whole waste of time, and my boss has been practically saying to another member of staff that when our sister moves to the other ward the post is as good as hers. I feel very disappointed and feel like I have been lead down the garden path a bit, and like the whole thing was a waste of time. I don't begrudge the people who will get the posts as they are my friends and I think they will do a very good job, it's just the principle on how they got their jobs that stinks. The combination of the failed assignment and the job situation has just reaffirmed my feelings of worthlessness and feeling shit at everything, and just generally feel like I'm a piece of shit. It's hard to work on these feelings and change these beliefs when these things happen to you. I'm just feeling now like, what is the point of even bothering for anything. I feel like my face just doesn't fit in anywhere, and that's a lonely feeling to have.
     
  8. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    So today we looked at our activity diaries that we kept for homework from last week. Mine was pretty mundane really as it mainly consisted of work, surfing the internet and sleep. I missed the last day's diary as I was recovering from nights and totally forgot about it. We had to rate our activities in terms of how much pleasure we got from the task and how well we think we did it. My pleasure ratings ended up being a 5 or a 6, with the highest being a 9 when I saw my friend on Friday. My lowest pleasure rating was a 1, which was when I was driving as I have severe anxiety regarding driving at the moment that I need to work on. We shared our experiences as a group and basically we discovered that we enjoy doing activities that make us feel good like exercising, swimming, seeing friends etc. We talked about changing behaviours as people who are depressed tend to talk themselves out of doing stuff. For example "I won't go to the gym because I'm crap, I'm fat and I will look out of place so there's no point bothering" etc but in actual fact when we do things for ourselves that we enjoy it actually lifts our mood. The problem is the negative automatic thoughts which prevent us from changing our behaviour. Our therapist said that as a group we suffered from chronic depression, so it wasn't as simple as just changing behaviours to change thinking which will help you deal with depression and cure you from it. He said that even if you changed some behaviours, the likelihood is the negative automatic thoughts would come back and you would still be depressed to some degree. So our next focus is tackling negative automatic thoughts and learning how to detect them. He said that most of us will not realise we have had a negative automatic thought until we feel our mood drop. So he is trying to get us to catch it in the moment. So for homework we have got a sheet that we have to fill in. The first column is what is the situation/what were you thinking about? The second column is emotions and intensity rating and the last column is what thoughts were you having and how strongly did you believe they were true? He said that some negative automatic thoughts were natural to have for some situations. He used the example of being crap at putting up shelves, but deciding to do it anyway and the shelf comes out looking wonky and crap. He said I could look at that and think "I am not very good at putting up shelves". He said that although this was negative, it was true and not necessarily a thought you would change because it's not self criticising. He said that if he was to have the thought "I'm useless at everything" then that would be a "hot thought" which is something that would need to be worked on. So the idea of the exercise is to identify the "hot thoughts" that we are having in reaction to situations that happen to us in our day to day lives.
     
  9. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    So after a 2 week break due to my therapists being ill and on holiday, then me missing last weeks session because I had a lot of stuff going on and was poorly, I resumed my therapy today. It does not appear that I missed much last week as they did a recap and covered the "hot thoughts" and covered unhelpful thinking patterns e.g black and white thinking, catastrophizing, labelling etc. I can provide unhelpful thinking patterns in another post if anybody finds it useful. Today we practiced recognising our emotions and our thoughts, and which thoughts drive our emotions (hot thoughts). It was quite difficult, and I don't know how I am going to catch these hot thoughts in the middle of it happening so I may have to do some after the event reflection. Either way I have a diary to fill in this week, and we will have to do these for a few weeks.
     
  10. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    I'm sorry I have slacked a bit in keeping up this diary. I've not been feeling great and I just don't have the energy to keep up with everything at the minute. For the past few weeks we have been focusing on linking thoughts, to emotions and recognising thinking errors. I promise I will provide a post on thinking errors as it can be handy to reflect upon what thinking errors we have so we can try and change them.
     
  11. Butterfly

    Butterfly Pokémon Master Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    So it's been well over a month since I last wrote in this diary as I have had a month's break from therapy. I missed a week due to another appointment I needed to keep, then there was the break over Christmas and New Year and last week I was poorly. I haven't really missed much as the week before Christmas was just practicing tracking thoughts and feelings and spotting common thinking errors and although I have not written everything down in my diary I can definitely spot some of my common thinking errors when they occur, especially if they are anxiety related and that is a big step for me because anxiety has had a detrimental effect on my life over the past few years. Last week the group had an introduction into the actual compassion mind training part of the therapy. It sounds as though they just covered what self compassion means, and the group as a whole thought to be self compassionate was quite selfish because sometimes it means that you need to stop doing things for others in order to look after yourself. This is not unreasonable in the real world, but to someone who is depressed, with low self esteem and self worth this can be a massive problem if they think others view them as being selfish. They covered the different types of being self compassionate and then for their homework they looked at compassionate things people had done for other people.

    This week the group just talked about their homework and then we got into discussing how the brain and humans have evolved over millions of years and discussed "the old brain" and "the new brain". In groups we looked at different animals, their differences and similarities and how they were different or similar to humans. Then we discussed how each animal from fish to chimpanzee all resembled how the human brain has developed over the years and made up "the old brain" and then the human brain today is the "new brain". The old brain being basic thoughts, impulses, instinct, feelings etc and the new brain being complex thoughts etc and how we both have the old brain and the new brain within us and the two together means that we have all these complex thoughts, worries and emotions but also have basic needs and impulses of the old brain, which can be a problem for the mentally ill. My homework this week is to look out for compassionate acts and even try to be self compassionate.

    I will explain thinking errors and the aspects of self compassion in a another post when my brain is less, in a haze.