• University of Reading

Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

Improve your understanding of depression and anxiety and find out more about an effective and evidence-based treatment: CBT.

144,785 enrolled on this course

Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

Anxiety and depression are terms discussed widely, in different media and amongst family and friends. But what do those labels actually mean?

On this five-week course from the University of Reading, you will explore what it means to have anxiety or depression and how they are identified. The course will also demonstrate the leading evidence-based treatment–Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

It’s important to emphasise that this course is not intended to be a self-help treatment for anyone experiencing anxiety or depression, nor can it be used to formally diagnose yourself or anyone else.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Hello, and welcome to this online course in understanding cognitive behaviour therapy, anxiety, and depression. My name is Shirley Reynolds. I’m Director of the Charlie Waller Institute here at the University of Reading. The course is really aimed for a very wide audience. So this includes people who might want to seek therapy for themselves, their family and friends, or professionals who are interested in learning a little bit more about CBT and how it works. It’s important to say at this point, though, that this is not a substitute for professional therapy. Over the next five weeks, we’re going to examine what cognitive behaviour therapy is, how it works, and most importantly, how it helps people with anxiety and depression.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds And we’re also going to meet some therapists and their clients who are going to tell us about their experiences of CBT. We look forward to welcoming you.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Making sense of the world around us

    • Welcome to Week 1

      Welcome to the course. This set of steps will let you know what you can expect from the course and introduce you to the Educator and Mentor team.

    • Processing and making sense of the world

      We are continually bombarded by information from the world around us, but what does this information look like, and how do we make sense of it?

    • Influences on perception: Selective attention and perceptual expectancy

      How do we select the information we attend to from our environment and why is context important?

    • The influence of mood on perception

      How can our mood influence how we process the world around us? Learn more about how psychologists have investigated this, and how people with anxiety and depression may process information differently.

    • How does perception relate to CBT?

      Thinking about how we process the world around us plays a key role in cognitive behavioural therapy. In this activity you will learn more about the CBT approach, how it is delivered, and what difficulties it can help with.

    • Review and reflect

      In this final activity we summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learned. We also think about what we will be doing in Week 2.

  • Week 2

    Understanding depression and the CBT approach

    • Welcome to Week 2

      In this activity, Shirley provides you with an overview of this week’s session on understanding depression and the CBT approach. We also provide you with the opportunity to test out your knowledge of depression in a quiz.

    • What does depression look and feel like?

      Learn more about what depression is, how it presents, and how this differs from simply feeling a bit low or down.

    • Depression in the real world

      What does it feel like to have depression? In this section, we will hear a first-hand account of what depression feels like for Ailsa, who has received CBT for her difficulties. We will also look at a fictional case of depression

    • A CBT model of depression

      In this activity, we look at depression in the context of CBT, and how a CBT model of depression can explain how and why depression persists.

    • Review and reflect

      In this final activity we summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you've learned. We also think about what we will be doing in Week 3.

  • Week 3

    Understanding anxiety and the CBT approach

    • Welcome to Week 3

      In this activity, Shirley provides you with an overview of this week’s session on understanding anxiety and the CBT approach. We also provide you with the opportunity to test out your knowledge of anxiety in a quiz.

    • Thinking about 'normal' anxiety

      Learn more about the physical manifestation of ‘normal’ anxiety, and what function this might have in our day to day lives.

    • Thinking about 'normal' anxiety and anxiety disorders

      Learn more about how the everyday anxiety that most of us experience from time to time differs from having an anxiety disorder.

    • What do anxiety disorders look and feel like?

      Learn more about the different disorders coming under the umbrella term of anxiety and how they might present.

    • Anxiety in the real world

      What does it feel like to have anxiety? In this section, we will hear a first-hand account of what anxiety feels like for Chris and a fictional case of anxiety to understand these difficulties better from a CBT point of view.

    • A CBT model of anxiety

      In this section, we look at anxiety in the context of CBT, and how a CBT model of anxiety can explain how and why anxiety persists.

    • Review and reflect

      In this final activity, we summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you’ve learned. We also think about what we will be doing in Week 4.

  • Week 4

    Tackling the ‘B’ in CBT: Addressing unhelpful behaviours in anxiety and depression

    • Welcome to Week 4

      In this activity, Shirley provides you with an overview of this week’s session on tackling unhelpful behaviours in anxiety and depression.

    • Behaviour change in depression

      How does behaviour change in people experiencing depression, and what are the consequences of this?

    • Behavioural activation

      Learn more about the CBT technique which addresses the vicious cycle of withdrawal in depression.

    • Behaviour change in anxiety

      How do people with anxiety behave differently, and what are the consequences of this behavioural change?

    • Graded exposure

      Learn more about the CBT technique which addresses the vicious cycle of avoidance in anxiety.

    • Reviewing the evidence

      What has research told us about the efficacy of behavioural techniques within CBT?

    • Review and reflect

      In this final activity, we summarise the main points covered this week and encourage you to reflect on what you’ve learned. We also think about what we will be doing our final week.

  • Week 5

    Tackling the ‘C’ in CBT: Addressing unhelpful thinking in anxiety and depression

    • Welcome to Week 5

      In this activity, Shirley provides you with an overview of this week’s session on tackling unhelpful thinking in anxiety and depression.

    • How is thinking affected in anxiety and depression?

      How does thinking change in people with anxiety and depression and what are the consequences of this?

    • Cognitive restructuring

      Learn more about how thinking errors can be identified and assessed within therapy.

    • Behavioural experiments

      Learn more about how thinking errors can be tackled using an effective CBT technique

    • Reviewing the evidence

      What has research told us about the efficacy of cognitive techniques within CBT?

    • Review and reflect

      In this final activity, we summarise the main points covered this week and over the course as a whole. We encourage you to reflect on what you will take from the course, and leave you with some final thoughts from Ailsa.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the key signs and symptoms of depression and identify how a depressive disorder differs from simply feeling low or down
  • Describe how a depressive disorder is diagnosed and identify an appropriate assessment tool
  • Describe the key signs and symptoms of the most frequently occurring anxiety disorders and identify how anxiety disorders differ from simply feeling worried or nervous
  • Describe how anxiety disorders are diagnosed and identify an appropriate assessment tool
  • Identify the most common stereotypes surrounding anxiety and depression and evaluate them on the basis of current knowledge
  • Describe how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be delivered and identify the types of difficulties that it can help with
  • Summarise how what we know about perception (making sense of the world around us) can help us to understand the CBT approach better
  • Identify the key components of a Cognitive Behavioural approach to understanding anxiety and depression
  • Describe how specific kinds of behaviours and thought pattern can maintain difficulties in anxiety and depression and identify key CBT techniques which are used to address these in therapy

Who is the course for?

This beginner’s course is aimed at anyone with an interest in mental illness generally, and anxiety and depression in particular. This may include:

• those who are currently experiencing or have previously experienced emotional difficulties,

• family and friends of those who are experiencing emotional difficulties,

• primary (or other) healthcare professionals who have a frontline role in detecting mental health difficulties and offering appropriate support and guidance to those affected.

What do people say about this course?

""This course has shown evidence of the effectiveness of CBT and has been useful in explaining the difference between the methods used for the different disorders. The reason I started this course was to try to help myself understand why I feel the way I do when I am in the grip of anxiety or a low mood period. The course has improved the knowledge I already had and has provided hope for the future that things won't be so bad as I have methods and ways of helping myself to tackle the negative thoughts and facing fears. Thank You to the course organisers and contributors for all the knowledge, information and support given/shared throughout.""

Who will you learn with?

I head up a number of educational outreach projects and am interested in spreading knowledge about evidence-based therapies for common mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression.

I am a psychologist conducting research on anxiety and depression in young people. My work focuses on how young people develop mental health problems, and how we can prevent or treat them.

I’m a clinical psychologist. Most of my work has been research on depression and anxiety and how to improve treatments. We need to make effective treatment available to everyone @DrS_Reynolds

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

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