The target audience for this course isn't clear. Is it for the person looking to become a therapist? Is it for a patient looking to see which type of therapy suits him or her best? Is it for someone looking to acquire new habits? That's completely unclear. As a result I spent the first couple of episodes kinda confused, but then got into it.
The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is that traditional therapy is open-ended, doesn't have any hard end-points, and all too focused on digging deep into the human psyche without providing any relief from the symptoms the patient is suffering from. That's great for producing a continuous stream of revenue from a few patients, but if your goal is to help as many people as possible, it's unsatisfying.
CBT differs from this in having completely different goals:
- Specific treatment of symptoms and behaviors that the patient would like to change
- Providing tools for the patient to use, so that when he/she leaves therapy, he/she can continue to use those tools to prevent relapse or help himself/herself.
- Specific end point in mind. Since the goal is self-sufficiency and self-treatment, once those symptoms are relieved, the patient gets off the therapy, with only occasional checkups.
- Capture a thought diary, so that triggering situations can be analyzed and dissected at a distance.
- Note that thoughts are opinions, and strength of emotion doesn't necessarily mean that the opinions are true.
- Attack those opinions using three approaches: (1) experiment with behavioral changes to prove those opinions false (2) stand from a distance to see if you can reinterpret the same events in a different way (3) make a prediction of whether you'll enjoy a new activity, and then re-evaluating that activity after you've done it to show that what you rated as being unenjoyable turned out to be good
- Muscle relaxation (progressive relaxation of muscle)
- A mindfulness based approach of meditation --- including talking to yourself. This seemed very new-agey to me, but hey, if it works, it works.