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Behavioural Experiment

Session 11 of 18Duration 12mins 06secs

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In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us how to challenge our stubborn assumptions and rules by using a behavioural experiment. She walks us through a step-by-step process to design a good experiment to test our beliefs that we are having difficulty shifting. With clear steps to follow, Dr Axelsen urges us to start somewhere achievable and provides us with common situations that are likely to crop up. The opportunity here is to evaluate our beliefs by collecting evidence from situations which could perpetuate conflict or limitations. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Behavioural Experiment example

Sessions in this Series

  1. 01

    Understanding Your Depression

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen describes the symptoms of depression, and how they may vary from person to person. We discover how to identify depression, which is an important first step to take towards treating depression. Dr Axelsen identifies the various types of symptoms, which include; physical, behavioural, thoughts and feelings. Dr Axelsen explains Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and how it can treat the symptoms of depression. She outlines the three levels of thought that can help us change our negative beliefs about ourselves, lesson our emotional reactions, and approach life and our problems with clarity.
  2. 02

    Monitoring Your Depression

    Download the weekly activity monitor to follow along and work through this session. In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us how to monitor our depression. When everything feels like a struggle, and we are without joy, it’s not enough rating our mood with an arbitrary 1 to 10.Dr Axelsen guides us through the process of monitoring our typical week, showing us how to create meaningful mood monitors that are anchored in our experience. She provides us with place to start, showing us an effective way to monitor and compare our progress. Download the weekly activity monitor to follow along and work through this session.
  3. 03

    Goal Setting For Your Recovery

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen discusses coming to terms with suffering from depression. She addresses the problems you might be noticing, offering steps to change by using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to set new behavioural goals. Dr Axelsen shows us how to approach and develop a problem list and effectively prioritise. She assists us by building an understanding and helping us plan achievable self-help goals. Allowing us to effectively monitor our progress so we can see other irregularities that might have a flow on effect.
  4. 04

    Reactivating Your Life

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen discusses how to schedule activities into our week that will lift our mood. When we’re depressed everything feels like a struggle, we stop doing activities because we no longer enjoy them or we feel worthless. This is a slippery slope that worsens our depression. Behavioral activation is one of the most powerful tools to help lift us out of a depressed state. Dr Axelsen shows us how to start scheduling activities that are achievable. She outlines the three different types of activity that will help lift our mood. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Weekly Activity Scheduling Worksheet Behavioural Activation Brainstorm
  5. 05

    Healthy Sleep Routines

    Download the Sleep Diary worksheet to follow along and work through this session. In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates the complications with sleep disorders. Experiencing issues with sleep is a common symptom of depression. Dr Axelsen explains the complications with the two sleep disorders; insomnia and hyper-somnia. She discusses why it is very important to develop a healthy sleep routine, showing us how to develop good sleep habits by outlining effective techniques that recharge our body clock. We also discover how to increase our serotonin levels through the day, which allows us to sleep better at night. Download the Sleep Diary worksheet to follow along and work through this session.
  6. 06

    Capturing Your Automatic Thoughts

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates negative thoughts that make us feel despair, rage or guilt. She explains the automatic thought process and shows us how to capture these negative thoughts and identify them as symptoms of our depression. We discover how to start looking at our negative thoughts in an objective, evidence based way. Dr Axelsen shows us how to keep a thought log and outlines the ABC model. She describes depressive thought categories to apply to our automatic thoughts which help us recognise the symptoms of our depression. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Brief Thought Log
  7. 07

    Challenging Your Automatic Thoughts

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us how to challenge our automatic thoughts. When we are depressed our thoughts can be very distressing and confronting, you might have noticed how much of a bully you can be to yourself. Dr Axelsen offers us an effective way to develop an alternative thought based on evidence. We discover how to put our distressing thoughts on trial to achieve an objective way of thinking that enables us to lower our distress level, so we can think more clearly and rationally.
  8. 08

    Grief and Guilt

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates the complications with grief and guilt, which can send us into a depressive cycle. She describes the difference between guilt and depression and how our self-blame can be a precursor for depression. Dr Axelsen shows us how to use a thought challenging process called ‘responsibility reattribution’ to shift self-blame. We also learn about retrospect bias and the importance of capturing our automatic thoughts. Dr Axelsen offers techniques to help us deal with our grief and guilt in a healthy way.
  9. 09

    Unhelpful Predictions

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates the deeper levels of thought in terms of our assumptions and rules. Following on from the earlier session in Challenging Your Automatic Thoughts, Dr Axelsen assesses the rationality of assumptions and rules that guide our behaviour, and can maintain our depression. Dr Axelsen shows us how to challenge the intermediate level of thought, and how once we shift these thoughts long lasting change is possible. We discover how to identify our assumptions and rules, and we are taught strategies to evaluate and challenge them, to develop a more balanced, alternative way of thinking. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Common Assumptions & Expectations Common Problematic Thinking Styles
  10. 10

    Perpetuating Behaviour

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates the perpetuating behaviours that we often use as copying strategies to protect ourselves from depression and anxiety. When we are feeling distressed or upset, we often feel like we need to protect ourselves. Perpetuating behaviours and the subtler ‘safety’ behaviours, are designed to keep us safe in the short-term but they end up perpetuating our depression. These behaviours keep us from experiencing the discomfort that arises when we challenge our beliefs. Dr Axelsen shows us how to identify these perpetuating and safety behaviours so that we don’t prolong our depression.
  11. 11

    Behavioural Experiment

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us how to challenge our stubborn assumptions and rules by using a behavioural experiment. She walks us through a step-by-step process to design a good experiment to test our beliefs that we are having difficulty shifting. With clear steps to follow, Dr Axelsen urges us to start somewhere achievable and provides us with common situations that are likely to crop up. The opportunity here is to evaluate our beliefs by collecting evidence from situations which could perpetuate conflict or limitations. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Behavioural Experiment example
  12. 12

    Identifying Your Core Beliefs

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen investigates core beliefs, outlining what the common core beliefs in depression are, and how to identify what ours might be. She explains that there are confirmed negative beliefs which come with depression and they’re very hard to shift. We all have core beliefs about ourselves, they can be positive but when we are depressed they tend to be negative. Dr Axelsen advises we go through the first two levels of thought featured in previous sessions, Capturing Your Automatic Thoughts and Behavioural Experiment, to ensure we have the knowledge and skills to confront our core beliefs.
  13. 13

    Challenging Your Core Beliefs

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us how to challenge our negative core beliefs that perpetuate depression. Acknowledging a core belief can be painful and challenging but it’s very important that we confront them. Dr Axelsen provides us with effective techniques that are designed to help us look at our negative core beliefs in an objective way and question their validity. Dr Axelsen outlines a process on how to increase our self-worth by supporting and nurturing positive core beliefs that will enable us to rise out of depression.
  14. 14

    Positive Data Logs

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen congratulates us for making our new core belief, before explaining the importance of positive data logs, which are needed to support our new core beliefs. Dr Axelsen explains the different ways we can collect and create evidence to support our new core beliefs. She outlines what a positive data log is and what kind of information we should include. Dr Axelsen explores our value system and teaches us how this can help us to develop evidence to support our new core beliefs and also help us to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Positive Daily Data Log
  15. 15

    Emotional Tolerance

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen shows us that emotion is a healthy human experience. Dr Axelsen explains what primary emotion and secondary emotion are and describes emotional regulators which assist with our understanding of emotion. Dr Axelsen provides strategies to help ease anxiety and control arousal by using a short meditation that helps articulate the mechanisms around emotions. In this session we discover skills and techniques to help us tolerate our emotion, and manage anxiety around distressing emotion.
  16. 16

    Self-Compassion

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen examines what self-compassion is and what it is not. She outlines the underlying problems a depressed person may experience, highlighting self-esteem issues. Dr Axelsen discusses changing the tone we speak to ourselves in, and guides us through an experience of self-compassion, offering us the skills to practice ourselves. This session offers us an understanding of self-compassion, and gives us key tools that help us support and comfort ourself in a ‘feeling place’, which lowers our emotional distress when we are struggling with depression.
  17. 17

    Suicide Safety Planning

    In this session, Lauren walks us through how to create a safety plan for times of crisis, when you are considering how and when to take your life. Suicidal thoughts and planning are symptoms of depression, that arise as a natural progression from feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Lauren provides us with a step by step process to ensure our safety in these times of crises.
  18. 18

    Relapse Prevention

    In this session, Dr Lauren Axelsen firstly congratulates us on coming out of a depressive episode. This is a wonderful place to be and it’s likely you don’t want to look back. However, depression does tend to return, especially if you’ve had more than one episode. Dr Axelsen discusses the importance of creating a relapse prevention plan whilst we are well, using our personal insight and perspective, so we know what to do when we experience the re-emergence of our depression symptoms. Dr Axelsen walks us through how to develop a plan, teaching us effective skills and techniques to help prevent a relapse. Download the following resources to accompany this session: Plan of Action to Prevent Relapse System Monitoring for Preventing Relapse

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