Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of therapy treatment that is proven to help a wide variety of problems, including depression, anxiety, and even alcohol and drug use. But does that mean that you can only use CBT techniques under the supervision of a therapist? The simple answer is: no.
July to August of 2020, CandleX hosted a 5-week CBT course online that helped participants to understand what CBT is and how they can apply it to everyday life. With the help of the course material from University of Reading on Future Learn, participants were given weekly material, including readings and exercises to expand their knowledge of CBT. CandleX hosted a weekly virtual meeting to go over the concepts that were learned, as well as to answer any questions that might have come up during the week. We also provided two different types of groups to facilitate learning: small groups of 4, where participants could discuss the exercises and have smaller, more intimate chats; as well as a large group where general information and concerns were discussed.
There were some obstacles that CandleX faced, including low turnout. “Some weeks only one person came, other weeks 3-5,” stated Melena, the video meeting facilitator. That was not to say it was all bad though, “The ones that came were able to share a lot about personal anxiety and how it had affected their lives,” she continued. The video meetings were unique in that everyone was able to share different techniques that they had learned, including journaling, mindful breathing, and facing their fears.
Beyond themselves, the group learned how to talk to a potentially suicidal friend and how to appropriately support the person, whether it be to listen to them or help them seek help immediately. These types of skills can be incredibly important when you have a close friend or loved one with thoughts of completing suicide.
The course had outside factors that made it difficult, including the CoVid-19 pandemic. This might have contributed to the low turnout, as many are experiencing increased complications with health, including mental health, as well as job/money insecurity. The low turn out also enabled a more intimate setting, where members might have felt more comfortable sharing than if they were in a larger group. In the future, there will be adjustments made to encourage more participation and hopefully an in-person meeting to encourage the group to feel comfortable sharing with one another.
For those who are interested, you can still find this course here and sign up for future learning
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