UWB Crest

Staying Well after Depression

Cognitive Psycho-Education (CPE)

What is Cognitive Psycho-Education (CPE)?

CPE is a new treatment. It is a group-based intervention drawing from cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is a psychological treatment focusing on the negative thinking that is central to depression and despair. Previous research has shown that cognitive therapy reduces the risk of depression recurring. We are now exploring whether people who have had suicidal thoughts as part of their depression in the past can benefit from CPE. People randomised to CPE will take part in eight weekly classes. These classes will be given by an experienced teacher to small groups of about 12 people. There they will learn ways of handling difficult thoughts and feelings differently. Homework activities and exercises will encourage them to try out new ways of responding to their thoughts and feelings. CPE also includes basic education about depression and suicidal thoughts, with exercises that show the links between thinking and feeling, and that help to establish how best to look after yourself when your moods threaten to overwhelm you.

In addition to the 8 weekly classes, you will be invited to two follow-up ‘reunion’ sessions, 6-8 weeks and approximately 6 months after the end of treatment. These will allow you to refresh the skills you have learnt and reflect on how things have been going since the last class.

Opening remarks

I’m really pleased I went on the course it was quite a revelation to me, having a different slant on things.

 This is not a magic wand but it can really give me the tools to help myself and I have to be prepared to put some work into it.

What we’ve learnt over the 8 weeks is just a start I have to be an active practitioner now.

It felt like the group of us bonded, probably because we shared a link of experience, a thread that connected us. 

Things that you found particularly helpful

Just being in a group to explore ideas was very helpful, in the past I have been trying to do things on my own and I have felt isolated.
I feel as if I have a “tool box” now

Being kind to myself this can be very difficult to apply, it can bring on feelings of guilt, that then lead me down the path of depression.

The idea of just pausing, taking a step back, ‘holding the thought’ not reacting.
The ‘poison dart’ the understanding that I can add layers to a difficulty through my automatic thinking patterns that lead me to feel depressed.

Learning to recognise I may not be thinking objectively when I have my depression head on.

I particularly liked the sense that the learning felt organic rather than being taught by rote.

Things you liked about the group

I am more aware now of my mood, my thoughts feelings and emotions. I try to remember to just pause and take a step back when my mood begins to spiral.

The greatest thing for me is learning to take a step back and take stock, to notice something is wrong and recognise it for what it is. I can then get a different view and choose what’s best to do. Remembering to be kind to myself.

Yes, spotting triggers and using the action plan.

Things you disliked about the group

I wanted to talk more about my past the things that have happened to me but it didn’t feel like the right place, time or anything.

There were a few times when I felt bad because I was feeling quite cheerful when I arrived at class and some of the others were clearly down at the time.  It was as if I was too well but my depression is like that I have extremely low moods when it gets so bad I think of suicide etc and in between I feel ok.

Where there times you felt like dropping out

I didn’t think of dropping out but I had real difficulty making myself go there in the first place, I really find it difficult to be in groups.
There were a couple of times when I was late and in the past I would have decided it was best not to attend these sessions but this time I just turned up anyway.

What helped you keep going with it

It was very important to me not to allow myself to fail again as I recognise this pattern of automatically giving up as one that depresses me.