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Watch this simulated role play of a therapy session with Dr Hannah Whitney, Director of CBT programmes within the Charlie Waller Institute.

Psychoeducation is a very important part of BA (Behavioural Activation) and should happen before a patient is asked to make any behavioural changes.

It’s the role of the therapist to help the patient understand better how depression ‘works’ and the vicious cycles which help to maintain it (eg in particular how withdrawal and avoidance lead to reduced opportunity for pleasure and achievement and further reductions in mood). seeks to help patients to re-engage with life and re-introduce a variety of previously avoided activities, so it’s really important that people understand why they are being asked to make these changes and what impact this will hopefully have on their mood.

To illustrate what psychoeducation might look like in therapy, we have put together a simulated role play. In this extract, the therapist is played by by Dr Hannah Whitney, Director of Teaching and Learning within the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading, and the patient (Kate) is played by Dr Michelle Lee, Educator for this course and Educational Outreach Lead at the Charlie Waller Institute. While you are watching the clip, focus on how the therapist explains the vicious cycle and anything else that she does which might be considered helpful in this situation.

What does the therapist ask? How does the therapist come across? How does she show empathy (an ability to put herself in the patient’s shoes)? What will you take from this clip? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

In the next Step, we’ll look at this in closer detail.

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Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

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