Therapy Diaries // CBT Session 3

I'm almost halfway through my sessions of CBT already and that absolutely terrifies me! Luckily, I can see some real progress already so I'm hoping things will continue to improve.

I was a lot less nervous this week, since my last session was such a huge improvement on the first. I'd had a bit of a meltdown the day before, when I heard Ofsted were coming in, but this actually turned out to be useful as we based our whole session around this one event.

The Forms
I'm resigned to the evil that is The Forms now. Saying that, they do stress me out a bit since I can't remember what I put the week before. What if it gets a lot worse and she thinks I'm lying? What if it gets a lot better and she thinks I'm lying? My anxiety levels have stayed the same (the maximum of 21 points)- What if she thinks I'm lying? Actually, and probably predictably, the results were very close to my previous ones but slightly lower. From what I remember, my "depression" symptoms (in speech marks because I'm not actually depressed) have gone down by one point each session, which is definitely a good sign! The only area that showed up as worse was the one about fidgeting too much. This makes sense as my dermatillomania and scratching has returned full force this week. 

After this, we had our review of the previous session where she asked me what I had learned and seemed surprised that I could pretty much reel of everything she'd said in a neat, concise little package. 

The Analysis
Here, we looked over my homework from last week and discussed the major panic from the previous day. I was chuffed that she was very impressed with my homework. Apparently she would usually help her patients go through this again but it was obvious that I had the process pretty well understood. The therapist questioned me about my behaviours to get more information. I had cried to pretty much everyone and she asked "How long did you preoccupy everyone's time with your crying?" which made me feel awful. Shortly afterwards, she asked me how I felt about my behaviours and of course, I felt horrendously guilty for wasting everyone's time with my crying! In fact, as I'd only cried for about half an hour, before cracking on with work and staying until 9pm to prepare, she was really impressed with me. As she explained, everybody needs to cry sometimes and there's no point bottling it up. The most important thing is that I picked myself up and did something productive, rather than hiding from it. She actually said I'd dealt with it "perfectly", before back-pedalling when she realised she'd praised someone with perfectionism issues for being perfect. That's only going to feed my obsession with being perfect!

Since we didn't need to focus on behaviours as we were going to in this session, she turned her attention to my thinking and pointed out that I had a lot of catastrophic thoughts (I thought she was being dramatic but it turns out that's the official name of anxiety-riddled thoughts) and asked me to choose one of the many, many negative thoughts that I had during that time. I didn't even need to think about which one since I'd be crying to the headteacher saying "I'm going to let everyone down". I explained how devoted I am to my school and the surrounding community, which she said she found very touching. 

Next, I listed all of the emotions I felt at that time and rated them with a percentage according to how intense they were. She then asked me to return to the overriding thought of "I'm going to let everyone down" and instructed me to list the evidence to support that as fact and evidence against it while she photocopied my forms. When she returned, she was very surprised to find that, not only had I filled the form in, but I'd done it correctly (there's a reason why I'm telling you how impressed she was- I'm not just boasting!)

Using the evidence for, including work not being up-to-date due to my extended absence, and evidence against, such as the fact they would be made aware of my health problems, I had to come up with a balanced thought. After a little thought, I came up with "My work not being updated would usually result in a bad report for the school, but the circumstances mean they'll see me as an exception, not indicative of the whole school". 

With this balanced thought in mind, I went back to the emotion percentages and rated them again as if I had had these thoughts in mind at the time. Tellingly, the percentages were much lower the second time. My therapist then called me a "star pupil" before explaining the homework.

This week, I need to keep track of my catastrophic thinking and keep a thought diary with evidence for, against and a resulting balanced thought. I'm already practising and think I'm doing quite well!

Finally, she asked me to recap what I'd learned today and, again, I could summarise the session without any issues. She was hugely complimentary about how well I'd picked it all up.

Now, it might seem like I was just boasting by going on and on about how well she said I was doing, but I did say there was a reason! My issues are very much brought on through my obsessive desire with meeting, and exceeding, the high standard that I perceive everybody to have of me. By praising me so much, I now feel that she expects me to be wonderful in every session and this puts pressure on me to not only deliver what she expects (which, in my mind, is a very high bar) but to continually impress her by doing even better. Of course praise is important but, in my case, too much is far, far worse than too little* Despite this, I'm really proud of myself and I'm looking forward to improving week on week! 

*Mind you, that doesn't mean stop giving me lovely comments...

Previous Posts:
If this post has interested you, you can read my previous post in the series below. Please do share with anybody who it may help as, from my experience, it's very scary to start talking therapies with no knowledge of what to expect.

CBT Session 1
CBT Session 2
CBT Session 3
CBT Session 4

CBT Session 5
CBT Session 6


  1. Hey =) I'm glad you feel better with your CBT than in the first week. I know the forms are boring (I'm studying psychology, I have filled out A LOT of forms) but they're very important for you to know how you're doing. You don't need to be anxious about it, they're not meant to impress your therapist on how well she's helping you, they're meant for you to track your own progress. I hope you continue to feel better and better and that by the end of it you feel like it was worth it.

    1. Thank you- That's a really helpful comment!

  2. I'm doing Thought Diaries as homework this week! (different core issue, same style of therapy). I'm glad you're feeling better about CBT, I'm really hoping it'll start helping me much more soon. Last week was my first actual CBT session and I've not noticed much yet, but at least the therapist thinks I'm doing better. I hope it continues to be really helpful for you, and I think you're awesome for doing this series to help people :)

  3. well done Becky! i'm so glad it is going well. When i attended a course to manage anxiety they told us to put our thoughts on trial - to weigh up the arguments for and against - as usually our thoughts are irrational. After reading your posts, i really want to ask my GP for help like you have! :) keep up the fantastic work x

  4. What I'm getting from reading through these is that you need to stop worrying. I know right? I should get paid for this shit. Stop worrying about your answers on the sheets. Write what you want to write and let her try and understand them! Xx


I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright Becky Craggs 2017