Behavioural activation & Cognitive restructuring

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
Hiya, anyone else received a bit of these thar treatments?

Am booked in for a couple 2 hour sessions, one of each of the above.

I know behavioural activation is about getting you to do things that help you feel better, and I'll google both of them to read up more. Just wondered if others here had experiences of them n did you find them helpful?
 

Sideways

Moderator
Just wondered if others here had experiences of them n did you find them helpful?
Yes, and (absolutely, enthusiastically, 100%) yes.

I've done a lot of behavioural activation over the course of my treatment. It's something that still forms a core part of my ongoing symptom management, every day, every week. When it starts to fall apart, and I start to fall apart, both of my Ts return to it to help me get back functioning again.

One of my ongoing personal mantras is that: when I get unwell, I have to behave my way out of it (with therapeutic support, sure). I can't think my way out of it, I can't will my way out of it. Behavioural activation provides a nice solid framework for me to do that. And tbh, I'd be a hot mess and depressed and agoraphobic without it.

Will it work for everyone? Nope, no magic bullets in this world. And I've come to learn (through trial and error) just how much structure I need, because if I get too particular, it becomes counter-therapeutic (for me...as in, planning my week in 15 minute intervals is setting me up for failure, where that may work for others).
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
Really helpful @Sideways Thanks :)

And I can totally get needing to avoid over organising yourself.

But is it ok to ask what behavioural activation looks like for you?

I remember too that you were a fan of ACT, which I like very much. Are there other such therapies / techniques which you find very helpful too?
 

Sideways

Moderator
Yeah, so often it looked like a weekly planner, with time slots marked out for each day, and filling all the time slots.

The activities need to vary, and reflect the amount of detail you're going into. If you're trying the 15 mins thing, you need to include things like time to brush your hair and your teeth. And that has value in its own right: partly because you've set yourself a goal to do some self care, and because it helps you acknowledge that even those things count when you're managing your mental health...actually ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) like that are super important to mental health management, and slip easily by the wayside with a lot of disorders, so that level of detail can be really helpful.

These days, it's a week-to-page diary. I write down the week's activities in advance, so I can be mentally prepared, and also fill out gaps that I haven't seen coming. I can also see in advance where I'm going to struggle - so Wednesday morning needs to be something gentle and private, because I can see that Tuesday is a crapload of therapy. That's a bit 'further back' than the 15 min type planning, but both have their own pros and cons.

ACT falls really nicely into this. Because you can start to utilise your behavioural activation planning to utilise and practice your ACT skills. With a lot of ACT behind me, I know my weekly plan needs to include grounding activities, so there's usually gardening or dog-washing in there.

I also need to make sure that the activities in my plan are value-driven. That's the core of ACT. Not trying to find that elusive state of eternal 'happiness', but making choices about the here and now, and what we do with our time, that have value for me.

For me? That means a little bit of time supporting family members, but crucially, I have to keep going to my boxing class. It's both grounding and emptying-stress-cup oriented. But crucially, I'm currently working on trying to be comfortable valuing myself, as a unique individual. And it's the only big activity I do each week where the only person (or animal) to benefit is me - all my other activities cover community contribution, family, animal welfare values, good health, etc. Only boxing covers "I value me". I do boxing because I enjoy it and I'm good at it, and anything else is bonus.

Using the 2 together is a motivating way to approach behavioural activation. It makes it seem a bit less like I'm just being an obsessive control freak, and more like "Am I making choices that are moving my life towards what I value?" With chronic depression on board? That's really helpful.

I'll be honest, I've gotten value out of all the core treatment modalities I've done over the years - CBT and DBT included, as well as schema therapy (although that was a bit tough emotionally). Probably a solid base in CBT made my DBT and ACT take a bit quicker than they do for some folks.

But personally, out of all of them? ACT has been the one that resonated best, in terms of actually making the here and now more worthwhile.
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you muchly :)

Recently was talking to a friend who mentioned schema therapy. She liked it too, tho said it was heavy going.

Makes me smile to think of becoming someone wiho behaves more in line with my values as I've been so chaotic for so long.

The session are in he next coupe / three weeks, looking forward yo em. :)
 
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