This self-help course
will be helpful for individuals who have problems with anxiety, depression or
anger. The course can also be adapted for other problems. Clinicians
can use the course with their clients, using one step each weekly or fortnightly
The best way to use the
CBT Self-Help course is to work through it, one step at a time. As
you complete each step over at least a few days (with LOTS of practice),
then return and move on to the next step.
The documents linked from the
bottom of each page are intended to be an integral part of this course, and
should not be omitted - the worksheet documents are included in the downloadable
Steps linked above.
This mini 7-step
self-help course includes techniques which could be useful for all, but
professional help should be sought for complex or long-standing problems.
Let's use a recent example, when you've been distressed - perhaps something has
happened in the past week or so when you've felt particularly anxious, angry, or
What was the situation?
What happened? When did it happen? What
else was going on? Was it a situation that you often find yourself in?
Who were you with?
What thoughts or images went
through your mind just before or during that time?
If you had that thought, what did that mean to you, or what did that say about
you or the situation? If your thought was a question, try to answer it.
What disturbed me?
emotion/s did you feel? What
E.g. Anger, anxiety, terror, rage, depression, frustration, guilt, shame,
What did you notice in
E.g. In anxiety and anger (and excitement) the body's adrenaline can result in
us feeling physical sensations which include:
heart pounding or racing, palpitations, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing,
light-headed, dizzy, shaky, sweaty, hot, red, pins & needles, tense or sore
muscles, urge to go to the toilet, butterflies in the tummy, warm uncomfortable
feeling in the abdomen or chest, difficulty concentrating, lump in throat.
This is the fight & flight response - the body's survival mechanism which helps
us escape or to stand up to the threat at times of real danger. The body
is unable to differentiate between a real or imagined danger, so the alarm
pressed and activated regardless.
In depression, we can feel tired, lethargic, exhausted, experience appetite and
sleep changes, aches and pains, headaches, digestive changes (e.g.
constipation), agitation and feel unable to settle, experience lack of interest in sex,
and have slow
movement or speech.
What did you do?
What didn't you do? How did you cope?
(Anxiety): Stayed home, left wherever you were or felt the urge to leave,
didn't talk to anyone, avoided eye contact, fiddled with a pen, sat in a corner,
didn't go out, chose to shop at less busy times, went to local corner shop instead of
the big supermarket, distracted yourself (tv, radio, kept busy etc), urge to go
(or went) to toilet, looked for reassurance, drank more, smoked more, ate more
(or less), disturbed sleep.
(Depression): Stayed in bed, pulled covers over your head, didn't go out,
sat and stared, watched television, didn't answer the phone, turned down an invite
from a friend, didn't go to work, ate more (or less), slept more (or less), paced
around , kept starting to do things but couldn't finish, no interest in others,
no interest in sex, no interest in anything.
(Anger): shouted at someone, hit out, screamed, had a go at someone,
sulked, criticised others (or had urge to do those things), used put-downs and threats,
bottled it up, lost control.
Practice noticing these thoughts, feelings and
behaviours - the more you practice, the more you will notice them. The
more you notice them, the more you will be able to make helpful and effective
form will help you practice - write down at least one
situation every day for the next few days.