The following is the course outline with what you can expect in each session.
The next session, session 2, offers an introduction to the nature of mental illness, common symptoms, causes, and how it has affected your life. We provide guidelines of how to let go to best care for someone else.
In session 3, we explain the nature of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and how they act together to form a cycle that can be increasingly negative and destructive if not managed. The practical exercises include a daily thought record, and ABC monitoring worksheet used to assess situations and consequences.
Session 4 is all about relaxation, probably the most powerful ability of a caregiver. We introduce activity scheduling and explore triggers, thoughts, and feelings that are associated with your supporting relationship.
In session 5, we give you guidelines to develop an attitude of mindfulness, explaining the role of the mind’s default mode network, why mindfulness is important in caring, and the facets that it consist of. We a mindful walking exercise and a guided breathing exercise.
Session 6 covers different aspects of communication that are helpful in caregiving, such as motivational interviewing and reflective listening.
In session 7, we explore the facets of self-compassion and why it is important in a caring relationship. You learn how to care about yourself and improve self-compassion with the use of two questionnaires.
Session 8 explains the concept of risk and protective factors and how to use a SWOT analysis to reinforce strengths and eliminate weaknesses and threats.
In the final session, session 9, we explain the best way to prevent and handle setbacks and provide a handy checklist to monitor that you are using best practices every day in your caring relationship.
We are very pleased that you are joining us on this journey to improvement and hope that you enjoy the sessions. It will be satisfying, but difficult too. Accept setbacks as they are inevitable. Remember that progress is as much about moving forward as it is about picking yourself up when you are frustrated or lose hope, and motivating your partner, family member, or friend throughout ups and downs. Good luck!
What comes next?
Session 2, the next step of the 9-session program, discusses the nature of mental illness, how it typically develops, common symptoms, and how we respond to the trauma of mental illness. The importance of caring for yourself and letting go of various aspects to facilitate effective caregiving is discussed.