Topic 5a: Behavioral Activation & Automatic Thoughts {by 9/28}

[Behavioral Activation] – Watch MDD-7: Behavioral Activation – Introducing Daily Activity Schedule.  Answer the following: (1) What part of the DAS introduction (i.e., what was said or done) do you think was most helpful for Mark in understanding the DAS?  (2) Based on what you know about Mark and his response to being introduced to the DAS, what activity would you most want to follow-up on?  Explain.

 

[Automatic Thoughts] – There are six “Key Elements of Automatic Thoughts” (Table 7.1).  Identify at least two of these elements that resonate with you the most and explain why?

 

Your original post should be posted by 9/28.  Have your two replies posted no later than 9/30.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madi
    Sep 25, 2020 @ 17:21:24

    1. I think that spending the 15 minutes to go through what assignment helped Mark and gave him time to ask questions. I also think that posing examples and explaining how the assignment might not go as planned was okay.
    2. I would want the morning routine most followed up upon follow the next session because this seems to be the area that he is having the most difficulty. By following up with him about this part specifically will highlight the issues he is having with this behavior activation.
    3. The two elements that resonate with me the most are focus on emotions and the follow-up. First, the focus on emotions resonated with me because I find validation of emotions helps clients a lot for. It calms them down and makes what they are feeling normal. Second, the follow-up is important for it allows the counselor and the client to start to find the origin of the negative automatic thought.

    Reply

    • Allie Supernor
      Sep 26, 2020 @ 10:33:15

      Hi Madi, I also chose ‘experienced as emotions’ as an element that struck me the most. I think automatic thoughts experienced as emotions is important to recognize because clients are most likely to recognize an emotion and bring that back to therapy. Automatic Thoughts happen and they often go unrecognized. Whereas, a client is most likely to recognize and want to change a negative emotion! I really liked your point about clients needing these emotions to be validated though. That was something I didn’t think about when drafting my post.

      Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 12:32:35

      Hey Madi,
      I agree with your statements throughout your post. I think the extended time to go over the daily activity schedule was needed for Mark as it seemed daunting to him when the weekly one was gone over. I think you are right when you say that when Dr. V used examples that related to Mark and his life were helpful in explaining the assignment. We learned too, that if examples were distant from the client or too vague it may lead to confusion, so it was great that he incorporated some relating to him. I also agreed with you on following up with his morning routine, it seems to me that he struggles with this the most compared to other aspects of his life. I too originally agreed with you on your answer to automatic thoughts, but then realized I was looking (slightly) at the wrong section of notes/table!

      Reply

    • Alison Kahn
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 13:27:51

      Hi, Madi!

      I completely agree with your thoughts about Dr. V encouraging Mark to brainstorm potential activities and reminding him that it would be okay if things didn’t go as planned. I think that this took some anxiety away from the process of engaging in this activity for Mark, because he know that if he returned to session and reported that he was unable to engage in a scheduled activity, he wouldn’t need to feel as though he failed or didn’t do the activity appropriately, rather, he would be able to process and troubleshoot for future schedules.

      Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:31:55

      Hi Madi,
      I liked how you pointed out the use of examples and explanation of how the assignment might not go as planned because those were things I thought were helpful to Mark too. I also put that I would like to focus on Marks morning routine since he struggles so much in that area compared to the others. And lastly, I agree that validating emotions helps clients as well as following-up because both help build rapport but also help us dig deeper into that automatic thought that is associated with those emotions.

      Reply

  2. Allie Supernor
    Sep 26, 2020 @ 10:31:12

    Part One MDD-7:
    I think the part that helped Mark understand the Daily Activity Schedule the most was the ‘troubleshooting’ part. This allowed Mark a space to really get his worries out of the way. He was able to talk about the activities that might have the most risk to sabotage his success- morning routine and date night. Dr. V giving Mark that time to troubleshoot and brainstorm his ideas, remind him to be realistic with his goals and schedule and reduce his stress about it seemed really beneficial to Mark’s understanding and willingness to do the Daily Activity Schedule over the next week. Finally, that allowed Dr. V to remind Mark not to be too hard on himself and prompt him to write down his thoughts in the thoughts/emotions column! Therefore, they have some potential automatic thoughts and cognitive distortions to work through the following session. Similarly, the activity that would be most critical to follow-up on would be the morning schedule. A close second would be date night, however, Mark seemed most reluctant to change his morning routine. In the session he even shared he was a ‘serial snoozer’ and the idea of even waking up ½ hour early seemed so daunting to him.

    Part Two- Automatic Thoughts:
    The text outlines 6 key elements to Automatic Thoughts. The two that resonate with me the most are (3) experienced as emotions and (4) believe to be valid. Although all the elements equally influence an automatic thought, these two stuck out to me the most. I think automatic thoughts experienced as emotions is important to recognize because clients are most likely to recognize an emotion and bring that back to therapy. As early helpers we know that automatic thoughts are rapid, reflexive thoughts. Therefore, we also know that these thoughts often go unrecognized. Whereas, a client is most likely to recognize and want to change a negative emotion! Similarly, I chose (4) believe to be valid as profound. I felt this was worth mentioning because it is one of the reasons why clients don’t change automatic thoughts and it can be so hard to change in therapy. Individuals really believe these negative automatic thoughts to be true, even when presented with contradictory evidence. Due to this, Judy Beck (2011) believed automatic thoughts exist in three categories based on the validity of a thought: (1) no validity and no utility, (2) valid but with misdirected/maladaptive utility, and (3) valid with no utility.

    Reply

    • Madi
      Sep 26, 2020 @ 18:36:33

      Hi Allie,
      I liked how you phrased it was “troubleshooting”. I agree with you that this open time to ask questions was very important for Mark to succeed in this homework assignment. In my post I also talked about how Dr. V gave Mark realistic expectations, which is important. I completely agree with you about the importance of validating a client’s emotions

      Reply

    • Alison Kahn
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 13:32:37

      Allie,

      I also chose the element of automatic thoughts being “experienced as emotions” in my bog post. I like how you mentioned clients coming into sessions having identified a specific emotion and focusing heavily on that without necessarily recognizing or even being consciously aware of the thoughts attached to the emotion. I think this is something I find myself doing often, too!

      Reply

  3. Francesca DePergola
    Sep 27, 2020 @ 23:58:07

    Behavioral Activation
    (1) I think it was really helpful for Mark to focus on only two days of the DAS. I think if he had to do the entire week he would have felt a little overwhelmed as I believe he has mentioned in past videos with the weekly activity monitoring log. It was also really nice that you told him what he did well and gave him that hope and motivation that he can work on this independently. I think the mentioning of breaking down the morning into more manageable parts will work best for him and was very important to mention in this introduction. The trouble-shooting was also very good for him because you got to tell him that he may not see changes fast and this gave Mark the opportunity to express more concern about his mornings and date nights. Lastly, I think simply explaining what behavioral activation is was helpful because as you stated in the video that Mark is the type of person who, once he starts doing something, he is better at following through.
    (2) Based on what I know about Mark and his response to being introduced to the DAS, I would most want to follow-up on the morning activities. I feel he has expressed a lot of anxiety and depressed mood in the morning, whether very unmotivated, barely awake until work, etc. I would specifically like to look at his expected pleasure with those mundane activities and see if there were any higher than expected pleasurable moments in the morning. I think focusing on that could bring some relief to him as it might show him that morning can be more manageable and might not be as difficult as he is appraising. I would also love to hear how his date nights went as his next step is to be better at planning them ahead of time to avoid any stress.
    Automatic Thoughts
    The two key elements of automatic thoughts that resonated with me the most were the focus on emotions and the follow-up. The reason I picked focusing on emotions was that it is important to validate what the client is feeling. Trying to modify, accidentally dismissing, generalizing their feelings, and more could all lead to some damage to the therapeutic relationship. I also picked follow-up on the initial automatic thought because there could be a possible chain reaction of automatic thoughts following that one that is part of a larger theme. This is very important to understand in the client to help shift those negative automatic thoughts to be more manageable.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 12:27:02

      So, I take back my response to the key elements of the automatic thoughts. I was looking at the wrong table/notes. The two key elements of automatic thoughts that resonate with me the most are the believability that they are valid and their persistence. First, automatic thoughts are believed to be valid, even if there is contradictory evidence. This struck me because I feel like sometimes I catch myself having negative automatic thoughts about something and then someone else will point out to me that evidence that I should not be thinking this way. I think this is very important to understand as a client since this could be very pivotal in modifying the thoughts when they can be aware of this evidence and remind themselves of that when these negative automatic thoughts occur. Second, their persistent and self-perpetuating manner was something that resonated with me because automatic thoughts are hard to stop and change. These thoughts might also be a part of a larger theme like core beliefs. It is also very important in understanding this element of automatic thoughts because having high expectations that a client can modify and stop them quickly will lead to disappointment and lower motivation going forward. It is important to note that they are hard for this reason.

      Reply

    • Madi
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 18:20:13

      Hi Francesca,
      I thought it was interesting that you commented on the fact that he only had to do the DAS for 2 days and not the whole week. I completely agree with you that if he had to do the whole week he would have probably be overwhelmed. I liked how you focused on the morning part and seeing if he finds pleasure in any of the mundane activities. I tend to focus more on nighttime routine, so I liked your perspective.

      Reply

  4. Selene Anaya
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 12:13:56

    Part 1:
    1. The part of the DAS introduction that I thought was most helpful for Mark in understanding the DAS was allowing him to express his concerns or areas which he already knows that he will have a hard time following on the schedule. Allowing the time to talk through some possibilities with Dr. V about how to help his areas of concern was also helpful. Mark understands the logistics of the schedule, but given that scheduling and getting himself to do things on his schedule is more difficult for him, talking through what might hinder or help him do the activities was a good idea. Mark knows which part of his day he struggles with, so talking with Dr. V about different approaches he can do for the activities seemed to spark some motivation in Mark. Acknowledging the struggles and the imperfections the schedule may have and telling Mark to write down his thoughts seemed to make Mark feel a little better about the DAS and his ability to complete it.

    2. Based on what I know about Mark and his response to the DAS, I would really like to follow up on him getting up and how his mornings go. He has already acknowledged that simply putting on the schedule to get up earlier makes him feel as though he’s already defeating himself and knows it will be hard to follow. Dr. V explained it to him as a gentle challenge and advised Mark to try and tackle it regardless of how it actually goes. Telling Mark to write down his thoughts and emotions during the hard times of the morning was good because as Dr. V said it will give them something to look at and break apart to see what they need to work on. I am curious to see if he tried any of the specific things they talking about that he could try in the mornings to help him and to hear how they went.

    Part 2 – In Dr. V’s textbook, there are 6 key elements of automatic thoughts that are described. Two of the elements that resonate with me the most is the fact that automatic thoughts are reflexive in nature and that they are learned based on past experiences. Automatic thoughts come and go fairly quickly which is why they are so hard to identify and be aware of unless you are actively trying to catch them. Being able to identify automatic thoughts is a crucial part of CBT. These thoughts have the ability to affect many areas of an individual’s life. Not only that, but once identified, they can reveal very important information about why an individual feels or acts a certain way during specific events. Since learning about automatic thoughts, I have been more aware of my own and can really see how many thoughts one can have without even realizing it. The other element of automatic thoughts that resonated with me is that they are learned based on past experiences. I have always thought about how certain life experiences and events can shape an individual’s view of themself, others, and the world. Being able to identify where these thoughts originated from and/or when they started can be helpful when changing certain negative thoughts is desired. Some of these thoughts have been with individuals for as long as they can remember, so either going back and trying to uncover/cope with those emotions from a past event or trying to cope now and change the patterns of thinking can be helpful for positive change.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 12:19:28

      Hi Selene,
      I completely agree with you for part one of behavioral activation. I thought that it was very beneficial for Mark to troubleshoot with the daily activity schedule, especially for his morning routine. You mentioned something that I missed in my post that was very important, the written thoughts and emotions that Mark will note in the morning. Even though I did not mention this in my post, I feel like a depressed client such as Mark would benefit from acknowledging those thoughts and emotions by modifying them later. At least if he knows he is having negative thoughts and emotions he can try and tackle them whereas being unaware he might not notice where the negativity is coming from.

      Reply

    • Allie Supernor
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 14:35:04

      Hi Selene,
      I really liked that you chose your second element as “based on prior experiences.” I always forget about that element and it is critically important. I also really appreciated your candid comment about becoming aware of your own thoughts! I have found myself trying to do this as well!

      Reply

  5. Alison Kahn
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 13:23:06

    1) During the DAS introduction, I noticed several things that I believe were helpful for Mark in preparing to engage in activity scheduling for the week. Firstly, I think that Mark was able to better understand the DAS in general when Dr. V explained it to him in the context of the activity monitoring that he was already familiar with. I also think that Dr. V helped Mark to feel more confident completing the activity schedule when he reminded him to be realistic and not try to do too much at once. He also reminded Mark that the mundane activities can be just as informative as the more interesting ones. Finally, I think that processing through Mark’s immediate thoughts about the daily activity schedule and how well he thinks he can execute the task was very helpful for him. Discussing potential ideas for activities helped Mark to get a better picture for what the DAS looks like and which types of activities would be appropriate/areas of focus to document.

    2) Based on what I know about Mark, I would want to follow up on his social activities and morning routines. In several previous sessions, Mark has discussed that his mornings are particularly difficult, and that he struggles to wake up early or engage in a regular morning routine. Given that this has been an area of focus, I would want to follow up with Mark and determine if he was able to wake up earlier and engage in the morning routines he scheduled before work. If not, I would want to process with Mark and troubleshoot potential barriers/next steps. I would also want to follow up with Mark regarding his social interactions. Mark has frequently reported that he would like to engage in more social outings with friends or in outdoor activities with his dog. I would be curious to see if Mark was able to spend more time in social situations and how he rated his accomplishment/pleasure related to those activities.

    3) One of the key elements of automatic thoughts that resonates with me the most is their tendency to be experienced as emotions. A common theme I have noticed as it relates to CBT highlights that often times, individuals are not readily cognizant of their thoughts, rather, they experience strong emotions without a full understanding of where those emotions are coming from or why they are happening. Further, a large part of CBT involves identifying automatic thoughts that result in negative emotions and behaviors. I think it is extremely important to help clients become more aware of their thoughts not only so they can challenge those thoughts, but also so that they can better understand their emotions.
    Another key element of automatic thoughts that resonates with me is their self-perpetuating and persistent nature. Much like the reciprocal nature of thoughts/emotions, behaviors, and the environment that is emphasized in CBT, negative automatic thoughts inform emotions and behaviors, which in turn can impact the environment, and result in reinforcement of those negative automatic thoughts. As this cycle continues, broader and more core beliefs about oneself can become reinforced and validated, even further perpetuating the cycle. I think this is particularly important for a client to understand given that often times, these negative automatic thoughts are inaccurate or distorted.

    Reply

    • Eileen Kinnane
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:34:08

      Hi Alison,

      I really appreciated that you chose your second element as self-perpetuating and persistent in nature.I sometimes overlook that element even though it is crucial in understanding automatic thoughts. I also thought your explanation of how they can be reciprocal in nature was an excellent point in expand on automatic thoughts.

      Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Oct 03, 2020 @ 14:19:58

      Hi Alison!

      I also believe that checking in on Mark’s ability to engage in social activities throughout the week would be a good plan for the next session. It seems as though Mark truly does want to spend time with others, and it would likely be good for him to have additional contact with others outside of his girlfriend. Despite his willingness to attempt initiating contact with others, it appears that he becomes very easily dissuaded when plans do not work out, or if people deny his requests to spend time with him, regardless of the reason. He has a tendency to take such outcomes personally, interpreting them not as coincidental, but rather as a result of others’ negative opinions of him. Breaking down barriers such as these would likely help him to appraise similar situations in the future far more accurately.

      Reply

  6. Trey Powers
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:00:37

    Behavioral Activation
    1.
    I think that the element of the BAS introduction that was most helpful for Mark is understanding that even though you plan something, it may either change, or not end up happening…and that’s okay. Individuals with depression can tend to be very self-critical, which we have seen to some extent with Mark in the past. Also, given his difficulty with initiating activities, he is more likely to have difficulty following through with his planned activities. Given these realities, I think it was important for him to understand that even if things do not end up going as planned, this is not a sign of failure. Doing so will help him avoid becoming more critical of himself, reduce the likelihood that he will view himself as unable to complete the homework assignment, and hopefully serve as motivation for actually following through on a future planned task.
    2.
    An activity that I would like to follow up on is engaging in more interactions with his girlfriend. I think that the relationship he has is reliable and readily-available source of social interaction, pleasure, support, and hope. Capitalizing on these many positive features that are derived from one person is both convenient and beneficial. Additionally, avoiding conflict within the relationship, or worse, the relationship ending, will prevent Mark from becoming more depressed.

    Automatic Thoughts
    Two of the elements of automatic thoughts that resonate most with me are that they are persistent and self-perpetuating, and are based on past experiences. It can be very difficult to change your thinking when there are constant negative thoughts running through your mind, which is something I have personal experience with. At one point, I would just be sitting and doing nothing while my mind was racing with a steady stream of thoughts that were impossible to stop. Even telling myself to stop thinking about them and making conscious effort to divert my attention would not work. I would have to both physically and mentally distract myself for the thoughts to be drowned out, but they would still reemerge once I had nothing left to do. It can be almost paralyzing to have such negativity running through your mind, and can cause hopelessness because of how little control you have over the thoughts.

    It is also difficult to dismiss automatic thoughts when they are based in previous experience. If we have learned through various situations in the past that we are bad at something, lacking certain skills, or are prone to behaving in certain ways, this can be amplified over time, and generalize to other scenarios as well. Someone who received a bad grade on an assignment, for example, may eventually believe that they are a complete failure academically, and they there is no point in continuing their education because they will just end up failing anyway. It is also easy to learn these things, but far more difficult to unlearn them, which perpetuates the process.

    Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:17:29

      Hi Trey,
      I completely agree with you first point that Mark understanding that although everything may not go perfectly its fine and he will make it through. I also put in my post that I thought he withdrawals and gets discouraged pretty fast which makes “failure” in his eyes more frequent and prominent than your average person. I also really liked how you chose to focus on his relationship with Melissa because I also feel the relationship is reliable and a positive to focus on. Lastly, I thought using yourself as an example for Table 7.1 was really insightful and helps apply it to daily life. I agree that that element is helpful for its reason to gain some sense of “control” over your thoughts. You did a really nice job at discussing these topics!

      Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Sep 30, 2020 @ 17:11:43

      Hey Trey!
      I completely agree with you that the most helpful element that Dr. V presented to Mark when introducing the BAS was that not everything needs to happen on it. I like how you went further and connected Mark’s diagnosis to why this could be helpful for him to hear. I failed to mention that in my post, and I think that is one thing that should be on the top of every therapist’s mind when introducing a technique. The piece you included of also having this element play a role in Mark being less critical of himself is also very important to mention! Given what you would like to work on with Mark, I find it thoughtful that you viewed Mark’s relationship with his wife as a readily-available source of social interaction and support. We know how important it can be to have a strong, reliable support system in an individual’s environment, so strengthening this relationship definitely has the power to impact all other areas of Mark’s life!

      Reply

  7. Haley Scola
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:10:20

    1a. I thought that explaining to Mark to not aim too high and be realistic but not keep too low of expectations as well. This helped him know he needed to find a balance between the two. I also think not focusing on the entire week but rather two days was more helpful to him because he was able motivate himself on those two days and organize his thoughts. Also, I thought that the trouble-shooting part was the most beneficial to Mark because this seemed to reduce anxiety by allowing him to express his worries and talk through those possibilities. Mark tends to get discouraged and withdrawal in situations that cause stress which makes trouble-shooting even more powerful because he’s able to talk through these doubts and hear from a professional that this task doesn’t need to go perfectly.
    1b. Because Mark pointed out that he wanted to focus more on the morning was an opportunity for collaboration and building rapport. I also would have wanted to focus on the morning since this is the area he seems to struggle with the most so I would find it vital to follow-up on if he was able to find that motivation for the two days. Additionally, I would like to focus on his date nights and if he were able to plan with Melissa beforehand and how that went. This is important because if he was able to find this experience more pleasurable when they did plan it, it may indicate and be insightful to Mark himself that making and following structure is important in his life.
    2a. The first element that resonated with me was “Struggling to Identify Automatic Thoughts” because since these thoughts are so rapid and instinctive we tend to not even “notice” them. This element focuses and helps with that because it gives options to dig deeper into what that thought was which may additionally lead to awareness in the future of these thoughts. The second element that resonated with me was “Strong Mood Shift” because this element utilizes the rapid emotions that come with out automatic thoughts. Although we may not know exactly how we “feel” about something, we do have initial reactions and emotions that appear very intensely that are the key to discovering those automatic thoughts and core beliefs.

    Reply

    • Eileen Kinnane
      Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:29:50

      Hi Haley,

      I really like how you pointed out Mark aiming to not focus on the entire week. This was something I didn’t mention, but is actually really important. Setting reasonable expectations at the beginning of what can be an overwhelming experience can be crucial for a client. For Mark, this could allow for him to not have to strive for perfection for the entire week. Rather he could set his goals over the course of a few days, and be able to relax more for the remainder of the week.

      Reply

  8. Eileen Kinnane
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:26:24

    (1a) There were a few things I noticed as being really helpful for Mark in understanding the DAS. The first being the opportunity given to Mark to ask questions. This allowed for Mark to be part of the process and personalize the assignment to his own situations. The next part I noticed to be helpful was when Dr. V would offer suggestions of activities for Mark to integrate and plan ahead of time. This included spending time with his dog, doing more activities outside, and planning dates ahead of time so they are less stressful the night before. Along with this, I really like how Dr. V encouraged Mark to include Melissa in the DAS. Lastly, I think that allowing Mark to think of/suggest practices to help areas he sees as potential challenges was extremely helpful. Having this conversation appeared to help Mark plan his week in a way that he might not have otherwise.

    (1b) The area I would most like to follow-up with Mark on regarding the DAS is his morning routine. Mark mentioned several tactics to help his morning routine (going to bed earlier, moving his alarm clock, etc) and I think it’s crucial to follow-up on this. It’s also important to follow-up on this because Mark specifically mentioned is as an area he really wanted to focus on as it is a challenging part of the day for him. It would be really important to follow-up with him to see how it went, how he felt about it, and how he would want to proceed with working on his morning routine moving forward.

    (2)The first element I chose is that automatic thoughts are believed to be valid.This one resonated with me because it can be a driving force to why clients face challenges regarding their automatic thoughts. They can see all of the evidence that contradicts their thoughts, but as long as persists, it is true in their minds. The other element I chose is that automatic thoughts are based on past experiences. To me, being able to work with a client to identify the root of their thought and how it came to be can be extremely useful in starting the process of changing the automatic thought.

    Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Sep 30, 2020 @ 17:40:54

      Hi Eileen!
      I also said in my post that I thought allowing Mark to ask questions helped is understanding and allowed him to personalize the assignment to his situation. In my post, I also said that I liked how when Mark expressed concerns for certain parts of the assignment, they were able to brainstorm some ways that could make those activities easier for him which I thought was very helpful! I almost chose automatic thoughts being valid as an element that most resonated with me because I think that is what automatic thoughts are to the core. If a client thinks it, they believe it to be true. I thought it was extremely interesting when we learned about how clients can be given contradictory evidence to their thoughts and they will still believe it to be true. This goes to show that some thoughts can be very pervasive and hard to change which is why knowing so many techniques and tailoring therapy to each individual client can be so important.

      Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Sep 30, 2020 @ 23:14:39

      Hi Eileen,
      I like that you mentioned how Mark had the opportunity to ask questions because it highlights the collaborative nature of CBT. In my post, I also mentioned how it was helpful when Dr. V asked Mark what possible challenges he could face with the DAS. With the assistance of Dr. V, troubleshooting allowed Mark to think and talk out the ways he could potentially minimize those challenges. I agree- it would be best to follow-up on Mark’s morning routine. As you mentioned, Mark was encouraged to include Melissa in his DAS. Therefore, after following up on his morning routine, I would be interested in hearing how the date night went for Mark. It would be interesting to see if Mark tried to plan the date ahead of time since he struggles a bit to get ready.

      Reply

  9. Haley Scola
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 17:27:24

    *** sorry for the double post but I misunderstood question 2 about Automatic thoughts and was referring to the wrong Table ***
    1a. I thought that explaining to Mark to not aim too high and be realistic but not keep too low of expectations as well. This helped him know he needed to find a balance between the two. I also think not focusing on the entire week but rather two days was more helpful to him because he was able motivate himself on those two days and organize his thoughts. Also, I thought that the trouble-shooting part was the most beneficial to Mark because this seemed to reduce anxiety by allowing him to express his worries and talk through those possibilities. Mark tends to get discouraged and withdrawal in situations that cause stress which makes trouble-shooting even more powerful because he’s able to talk through these doubts and hear from a professional that this task doesn’t need to go perfectly.
    1b. Because Mark pointed out that he wanted to focus more on the morning was an opportunity for collaboration and building rapport. I also would have wanted to focus on the morning since this is the area he seems to struggle with the most so I would find it vital to follow-up on if he was able to find that motivation for the two days. Additionally, I would like to focus on his date nights and if he were able to plan with Melissa beforehand and how that went. This is important because if he was able to find this experience more pleasurable when they did plan it, it may indicate and be insightful to Mark himself that making and following structure is important in his life.
    2a. The first element that resonated with me was “Experienced as Emotions” because a lot of the time we don’t fully understand how we feel about something but just how we had this intense emotion that came rapidly. This can help understand our thoughts future dig into ‘why’ we think that. The second element that resonated with me was “Based on past experiences” because even in my own life I try to tell myself “this is a different person” or situation but I still have that persistent belief deeper down as a “guard” that the experience will be relived.

    Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Sep 30, 2020 @ 23:24:55

      Hi Haley,
      Similar to you, I thought troubleshooting was the most valuable part of the introduction for Mark. I like that you explained the importance of troubleshooting with Mark because he tends to be too hard on himself. When I think of the key characteristics of automatic thoughts I do not think of based on past experiences. Reading how you relate to that element made me think deeper about it. Once I took the time to think, specific experiences began to pop up in my mind which helped reinforce why that characteristic is important.

      Reply

  10. Brigitte Manseau
    Sep 28, 2020 @ 21:30:33

    1. I believe the most helpful part of the Daily Activity Schedule introduction was Dr. V troubleshooting with Mark. It allowed Mark to express his concerns about particular activities such as waking up early and deciding what to do for date night. Dr. V and Mark were able to talk about possible roadblocks and brainstorm ways Mark could possibly minimize those issues. One thing that really stuck out to me was that throughout the introduction Dr. V explained that it was okay for some activities not to go as planned and emphasized it is important Mark continues to try throughout the week. I feel like that gave Mark a little bit of relief regarding the assignment.
    2. Based on what I know about Mark, I would want to follow-up on his morning routine. It seems like that is what he struggles with the most. Mark mentioned even thinking about waking up a half an hour earlier is a challenge. Therefore, I would be interested in seeing how many days Mark woke up earlier, what he thought and felt those mornings, and how his mornings went overall. For the days that Mark did not get up early, I would be focused on talking about the thoughts and emotions he had those mornings as well as what roadblocks occurred. Also, I would like to follow-up on how planning date night went for Mark. I would be interested to see if he and Melissa picked a time and place in advance, if they invited friends to join, and if the friends actually joined for date night.
    3. The two key elements of automatic thoughts that resonated with me were experienced as emotions and persistent and self-perpetuating. For me it was important to understand that most people are just left with the emotion(s) that an automatic thought triggers. It explains why clients may find it easier to recall emotions rather than what thoughts they had at a particular event. Clients may explain certain emotions which would cue me to ask particular questions that would help identify automatic thoughts. I like that the element persistent and self-perpetuating emphasizes why people will need and seek out our help. Clients believe their automatic thoughts which makes it extremely difficult to stop and change them on their own. Also, I like that this element helps explain a bigger picture. Most times persistent negative automatic thoughts are connected to larger issues like negative core beliefs. By identifying clients’ automatic thoughts, clinicians can begin to speculate what larger themes are at play.

    Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Oct 03, 2020 @ 14:26:33

      Hi Brigitte!

      I like the points that you bring up about automatic thoughts being connected to larger issues. Even though it is the thoughts themselves that are the seemingly obvious cause of emotional distress, there are often deeper underlying issues at play, like you mention. These are the issues that are far more difficult to properly identify and address, as we are often not even aware of them. Automatic thoughts can be identified with relative ease, however their true cause remains more elusive, and often requires an expert to help with the process of resolving the issues they cause.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 68 other followers

%d bloggers like this: