Summary Module 8: Therapy - Your Progress and Plan

Your Progress and Plan

This is a summary of the module Your Progress and Plan for your reference.

In this final program module, you’ll review the therapy strategies and your treatment and progress goals. Then, you’ll develop a practice plan.

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First, a homework check

Did you complete an Emotion Assessments and Progress Record this past week? How have your ratings changed throughout the program? Please describe.

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Did you practice Emotion Exposures? Have you been facing the situations/activities and using your Record of Emotion Exposure Practice Form to write about your experiences?

In order to tolerate strong emotions, most people have to practice emotion exposure a lot. If you haven’t practiced, please get started. If you have, good for you!

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You’ve reached the top floor of the “emotion” house! You’ve been working on building a healthy relationship with your emotions. 

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Think back through your therapy. What has been most helpful to you?

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Here are some key takeaways from this program: 

  • Your emotions, even negative ones, provide information that can help you take action.

  • Remaining in the moment and being non-judgmental can help increase your willingness to experience strong emotions. At the same time, you won’t have to rely on unhelpful coping strategies.

  • Your thoughts about a situation affect how you feel about it. And, your feelings about a situation affect what you think about/how you interpret it.

  • Avoiding emotional experiences might help in the short term. But, in the long term, avoidance isn’t very effective.

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We want you to use the skills you’ve learned when you notice your emotions starting to build. We suggest you use the following to help.

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Your Progress

How do you feel about the change in your symptoms - i.e. your progress, since you started this therapy program? Please choose the best answer.

  • I’m excited about the progress I’ve made.

  • I’m disappointed - I thought I’d improve more.

  • I’m neither excited nor disappointed.

  • I don’t know.

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The goal of treatment is to learn how to respond to your emotions in a more helpful way. You may notice some progress, but there is likely room for additional improvement.

As you use the skills you’ve learned, we expect that you will continue to improve over the next several months.

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Your Progress Record

If you’ve been using the Emotions Assessments and the Progress Record, you can actually “see” how some of your symptoms have changed. Overall, do you have less anxiety or depression? Do you have more positive emotions?

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Your Progress Evaluation Form

Go to your workbook to complete the Progress Evaluation Form. Take the time to answer each of the questions and provide examples. 

You’ll write about the ways the skills have helped you cope with intense emotions. Doing so will help you to better understand the connection between the skills and positive changes in your life.

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Since you’re almost done with the program, you may think it’s time for a break from all of the hard work. It’s not - keep moving forward!

The following strategies can help you stay motivated:

  • Review and update your goals.

  • Develop a plan for practicing skills.

  • Continue to be your “own coach.”  

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Review and update your goals

In the first module, you set goals. Take another look at them (see your Treatment Goals form). 

Now that you’re done with the program, it’s likely that you’ve taken steps toward, or even reached, some of your goals. 

Ready to set some new goals? They should be:

  • Specific and measurable - so you can check your progress. 

  • Meaningful and achievable - to help you stay motivated.

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What other goals do you have in mind?

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Create your practice plan.

We’ve stressed the importance of practicing all of the skills. In order to maintain the progress you’ve made, you’ll need to continue.

To help with this, you’ll use the Practice Plan Form in your workbook. 

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First, you’ll write down the way each of the skills relates to your treatment goals (again, refer to your completed Treatment Goals form in your workbook).

For example, you may have the goal of attending one social activity a week. To reach this goal, you might use cognitive flexibility when you have negative automatic thoughts. You might think, “I know I’ll feel better once I’m with other people,” instead of “I’m so tired, I need to lie down - I just can’t do it.”

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Second, you’ll write down how and when you’ll practice each skill. 

To continue with the example, when you feel tired, you might use your cue to anchor in the present, then go for a short walk. 

Or you might call one of your friends to make plans. Instead of avoiding - i.e. taking a nap, you’ll use a helpful behavior

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The third part of the Practice Plan is to make sure you follow through with your plan. You can:

  • Ask a friend, family member, or your Goodpath coach for their support - they can remind you about your plan.

  • Link part of your plan to something you do every day (e.g. practice one of the exercises on the Physical Sensations Test Exercises Form every morning before you brush your teeth).

And,

  • Take steps to make it easier to follow your plan (e.g. set a reminder on your phone to call a friend at a certain time).

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Continue to be your own coach.

You have your Goodpath coach to support you, but you also have to be your own coach. You have to do the work. 

We suggest you block off time on your calendar every week. You’ll:

  • Check your symptoms (Use your Emotion Assessments)

  • Monitor your progress (Use your Progress Record and review your Progress Evaluation Form)

  • Update your Practice Plan

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It is also helpful to plan ahead for events/activities that may be especially challenging. Think about a situation that is coming up for you. Write down your plan.

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No matter how much you’ve progressed in coping with intense emotions, difficulties and setbacks are common.

You may find that increased stress in your life makes it more difficult to cope with your intense emotions (Have you noticed you’re more likely to get sick when you’re very stressed? It’s very similar). Realize that this is “normal.” 

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Even without increased stress, you may fall back into old patterns and avoid your emotions. Emotions naturally change over time, so this is also “normal.”

Remember to use the skills you’ve learned when you notice your emotions starting to build. Again, we suggest you use the following to help:

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Make Time For Homework

Complete your Progress Evaluation and Practice Plan Forms. 

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Learning to change unhelpful coping strategies is hard work - it takes time and effort. With practice, you’ll be able to respond to your emotions in more helpful ways, and make lasting life changes. 

Wishing you health and happiness as you continue on your journey!