Skip to 0 minutes and 18 secondsHello and welcome to this online course about CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy. My name's Shirley Reynolds. I'm Director of the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading. My job as a clinical psychologist is to do research into treatments for anxiety and depression. One of those main treatments that we use is cognitive behaviour therapy. This course is for anybody who'd like to find out more about cognitive behaviour therapy. What it is, how it works, and how we use it to treat anxiety and depression.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsBecause anxiety and depression are so common many, many people were offered a course of CBT at some point in their lives, and we think you can get the most out of this if you know more about it. But it's not really just for people who might get CBT, really anyone with an interest in mental health issues or mental health problems might find it interesting. It's also important for me to explain that this is not a substitute for any kind of treatment that you might receive elsewhere. So if you feel that you would benefit from cognitive behaviour therapy, then my advice is really to go and talk to your own family doctor.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsThey're usually the best person to be able to refer you to the right kind of therapist. Across the five sessions you'll come across a number of different ways of learning about CBT, anxiety, and depression. We're going to be meeting some clients and some therapists and they'll talk to us about their experiences of having therapy and of doing therapy, and give us an idea about what it's really like to have treatment, and what it's like after treatment. There's online resources for you to go and read further if you want to go off and read more about CBT or anxiety and depression.

Skip to 1 minute and 57 secondsAnd we've got online discussion forum for you to post your comments to see what other people think, and to kind of find out how other people are experiencing the course. But you will find your own way to use these resources and it's important for you to just think about what works best for you to get the most out of the course. As this is week one, we're going to start off with an introduction. CBT is based on the idea that we are constantly making sense of the world around us, that we're active processors, that our brains are constantly firing and making sense of the world. And there's a lot going on.

Skip to 2 minutes and 30 secondsIf you just think about where you are right now, if you listen you'll hear all sorts of sounds. If you look a round they'll be hundreds of different things you could focus on. All of this information is bombarding us all of the time, all of the time, and sometimes it's really overwhelming. So the way we handle this in our brain is to take a lot of short cuts. These shortcuts are really helpful, they help us survive, they help us spot danger, they make us attend to the important things, but sometimes they also are misleading. And when they're misleading that's how we start slipping into difficulties that we associate with anxiety and depression.

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 secondsIn this session we're going to cover three things. First, how do we make sense and understand the world about us? Secondly, how does that impact on our thoughts and feelings, and our emotions? And third, how does cognitive behaviour therapy help us understand that, and also to help us manage any difficult emotions.

Welcome to the course

Hello and welcome to this five week course on Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT. This course has been written by psychologists based at the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading.

This video will introduce you to the topics we’ll be covering over the next five weeks. If you’re new to FutureLearn, why not familiarise yourself with the How it works section.

Over the next five weeks we hope to increase your general understanding of two of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders, anxiety and depression. We will dispel common myths and stereotypes about them, and introduce you to an effective treatment for anxiety and depression called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or ‘CBT’.

In the first section of this introductory week, we will start off by explaining who the course is aimed at, what it will cover and how it is structured.

Is this course for me?

This course is essentially aimed at anyone with an interest in mental health, who would like to understand more about two of the most commonly presenting mental health difficulties – anxiety and depression. This may include the following people:

  • You may have experienced anxiety and/or depression in the past or currently be having difficulties. You may have been referred for CBT treatment and want to know more about what this may involve.
  • You may have a relative, friend or colleague who has experienced anxiety and/or depression and as a consequence of this, you might like to understand more about these difficulties. Your relative, friend or colleague may have been offered a course of CBT and you may just want to know more about this treatment.
  • You may come into contact with people experiencing these difficulties in a professional capacity (eg as a General Practitioner, Practice Nurse or Health Visitor). You might want to understand these difficulties more fully. You may also refer patients for CBT and might want to find out more about what this treatment involves and how it works.

It is important to point out that this is an introductory course. In other words, it assumes that you have no existing knowledge around anxiety, depression or CBT. This means that it should be appropriate for a general audience, ranging from members of the general population (including those who have experienced anxiety and/or depression and those who have friends or relatives who have experienced these difficulties) through to healthcare staff who want to know more about mental health.

Scope of the course: What do we want you to get out of it?

After completing all five weeks, we will hope that you will have answers for the following questions:

  • What is depression? What are some of the key signs and symptoms and how is depression diagnosed? How is a depressive disorder different from simply feeling low or down?
  • What is anxiety? What are some of the key signs and symptoms and how is anxiety diagnosed? How is an anxiety disorder different from simply feeling anxious or worried?
  • What are the key components of a cognitive behavioural approach to anxiety or depression? How can CBT explain why these disorders persist?
  • How does CBT ‘work’? What kinds of techniques are used to address the difficulties faced in anxiety and depression? What does it feel like to have CBT? How useful can it be?

What does this course not cover?

It is extremely important from the outset to be very clear about what this course is not. Whilst this course will be a source of information about anxiety, depression and CBT; we cannot comment on individual cases and it is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for psychological treatment. If you are currently experiencing these difficulties, you should seek professional help. In the UK, your first point of call would normally be your General Practitioner (or out of hours service) or local Accident and Emergency service (in an emergency, for example, if you were feeling suicidal). The Samaritans is another source of help based in the UK and Republic of Ireland who can be contacted on freephone number 116 123 (UK) or via their contact page. It’s important to note that this is a UK and Ireland based charity. Since 2003, Samaritans has been working with Befrienders Worldwide, a network of 400 international centres in 39 countries set up to help people who need emotional support, to talk about problems in a confidential space.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

University of Reading