Use the treatment planning worksheet to help you identify the things you want to focus on in your CBT therapy.
CBT is an opportunity to explore, understand, and make changes in areas of your life that are causing you difficulty. Problems come in many guises. Some are relics of the past that continue to haunt our present; some are problems in living that disrupt our day-to-day life; and some diminish our ability to plan for, and invest in, our future.
Although the focus of CBT is often on the here-and-now, we understand the importance that past unhappiness or trauma can continue to have on the present. We see people as the products of interactions between our inherited characteristics and the environment we grew up in, which encompasses both our family of origin and the culture in which we were raised. You might have memories of painful or disturbing events that you continue to find upsetting and that you would like to come to terms with, or make peace with. You might feel that you would like to gain a better understanding of how past events continue to shape how you think, feel and behave in the present.
Whatever the origin of our current difficulties, we can struggle to live well in the present, often behaving in ways that we dislike or know are unhelpful, but that we find difficult to change. You might like to learn to live with more compassion and kindness towards yourself, or to have more fulfilling and effective relationships with people who are important to you. You might want to manage upsetting symptoms or learn to face situations where you know that your hesitancy is stopping you from following your values or pursuing important goals.
You might also find that the way you behave in the present is preventing you from planning for the future, or investing in activities that bring you a sense of hope and purpose. You might find it helpful to start to think of your longer-term goals and how you would like your life to be in the next five, ten or twenty years. You might like to consider what steps you could start taking now to make those goals a reality.
Start by asking yourself in what ways the past is still troubling you and how you would like that to change. Then, ask yourself in what ways you are struggling to live well in the present and how you would like that to change. Finally, ask yourself in what ways you are struggling to plan for and invest in your future and how you would like that to change. Completing this worksheet will help you to see more clearly what your priorities are for therapy so that you can discuss these with your CBT therapist.