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CBT Group Therapy Activities.

CBT Group Therapy Activities. The Benefits of CBT Group Therapy

Group therapy is an amazing way to seek help together. But finding activities that keep everyone engaged is a challenge. 

Which activities can help you enjoy and heal together? Continue reading to explore:

  • CBT – The Basic Idea
  • CBT Group Therapy Activities
  • The Benefits of CBT Group Therapy
  • And more! 

CBT – The Basic Idea

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that focuses on one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It also focuses on how they are connected to each other. 

CBT followers believe that your thoughts have a direct impact on how you feel and how you react. 

For instance, roller coasters might scare you. 

You might be thinking along the lines of “this roller coaster is so tall, it can’t be safe!”. This thought will make you feel anxious (feelings). You might also feel your heartbeat racing, sweating or shivering (behaviors).  

CBT practitioners will focus on the inter-connection and how it causes you distress. 

They help clients understand the process behind their attitudes, feelings and thoughts. Understanding things this way can usually decrease your symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc. 

CBT Group Therapy Activities

CBT Group Therapy Activities

CBT practitioners want to provide their clients with activities that will help them understand CBT better. Some of the fun ways to do that is by creating a backwards/forwards chain or exercise together!

1. Backwards Chaining and Forwards Chaining 

The name sounds daunting but it is pretty easy and helpful for CBT. In this activity, clients will try to identify:

  1. Their triggers or causes of discomfort. Triggers or things that make us uneasy usually have an additive effect. So, focus on the whole picture rather than one single event in the entire day. 
  2. What kind of behaviors happened as a result 
  3. What were the consequences of those behaviors
  4. Was that the best thing to help relieve my stress? 
  5. What could I have done better?

Think of it as replaying a short film of everything that happened that day. These triggers, behaviors and consequences should be looked at:

  • Emotionally
  • Physically
  • Socially
  • Environmentally

Including the time and date is very important! You might find that certain dates or times of the hours make you uneasy. 

For instance, birthdays or anniversaries can be uncomfortable for people who might not be together anymore. For many, night time can make people really anxious because they are usually alone. 

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So how do you put this together? Here is an example to help you. 


Example Scenario

You get off after a long exhausting day of work. You’re on your way home but find yourself stuck in a traffic jam for one hour. 
When you come back home, your loved one might greet you and tell you about their problems. This makes you really angry and you yell at them. 

Let’s unravel this together. 

You might think that the traffic jam alone made you angry. But what if I told you that your long day at work also had something to do with it? This is how stressors have an additive effect. 

Your long day of work and the traffic jam must have emotionally and physically exhausted you. 

As a result, you lashed out at your loved one (behavior). 

What were the consequences? Your loved one was hurt. 

Was getting angry at them the best way to help your anger? There are better ways to help relieve it. 

So what could be done better? You could try to tell them that you are exhausted and need to rest right now. But you will be able to listen to them better once you’re fully rested. 

2. Aerobic Exercises 

Meeting up for aerobic exercises are a great way for groups to bond and socialize. You also get to heal yourself in the process! 

Get together for cycling or jogging around a park. Need to beat the summer heat? Go out for swimming together. All of these can be done twice or thrice a week.

Research investigated the effects of aerobic exercises on people who were in therapy. These people found their therapy sessions to be more effective. So exercise is an added benefit! 

Fun Fact: Exercise brings us together! 
Exercising together helps you enjoy the moment more. It also gives you a sense of security and togetherness, where everyone is working hard to work towards a single goal. 

The Benefits of CBT Group Therapy

CBT Group Therapy Activities
  1. You’re not Alone 

CBT in a group has been found to provide a wonderful and strong support system. When others share their problems in the group, you come to realize that you are not alone. 

You might even find that many people face the same problems as you. 

  1. Improve Social and Quality of Life 

Group therapy creates an opportunity for people to connect. These connections often deepen because of the similar struggles we face. All of this can promote a better social life. 

A study shows that group CBT therapy (combined with medication if needed) has long lasting effects on a person. People had a better quality of life for over a year after their sessions ended. 

  1. Learn from Others

One of the best things about group therapy is being able to learn from the experience of others. You might find someone who has been through similar problems. They will most likely give you very detailed advice about how you can navigate yourself through your problems. 

  1. Deepened Insight

People in group therapy are also very likely to give you detailed feedback on your thought process. You also receive feedback from many different perspectives. This helps you understand your situation from many different angles! 
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Key Takeaway

CBT focuses on your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviors. CBT Practitioners try to understand how your thoughts influence your feelings, attitudes and behaviors to help you. 

When in group therapy, creating a backward and forward chain is very helpful.You identify and understand your triggers, actions and consequences of an event. You also evaluate whether that was the best action and how it can be improved. 

Also, aerobic exercises are a great way to bond after therapy! 

Lastly, group therapy helps you understand yourself better and makes you realize you are not alone. Everyone is in it together! 

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