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Second Edition (2009

The first addition of this book was authored by Rod Booth at Clarity Insight Ltd Clarity, 2008 The second edition is a revised and updated version carried out by Penney Upton and Dominic Upton from the Psychological Sciences Unit at the University of Worcester, 2009

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any other information, storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the authors. Contact: Val Chapman, University of Worcester


The Thinksmart Programme for Young People Content
Introduction: The Thinksmart approach


Session 1: Getting Started, Getting To Know You & Setting Goals
- Introductions, setting goals & expectations, establishing rapport, Self Assessment 1, group rules & contract


Session 2: Thoughts, Feelings & What You Do
- The „magic circle‟ of thoughts, feelings & behaviours

28 39 57 71

Session 3: Identifying Thoughts & Types of Thinking
- Thinking errors, automatic thoughts & balanced thinking

Session 4: Controlling Your Thoughts
- Testing your thoughts & positive self-talk

Session 5: How Do You Feel?
- Identifying what feelings you have - Feelings & what you think & do

Session 6: Controlling Your Feelings
- Identifying helpful & unhelpful feelings - Learning to relax & be in control of how you feel


Session 7: Why Do We Do What We Do?
- Identifying & understanding your actions and behaviours - How what we do affects how we feel


Session 8: Changing Our Behaviours
- Positive activities & behavioural experiments - Choosing how to feel by picking the right behaviour


Session 9: Learning to Solve Problems
- Learning to cope and manage problems more effectively - Learning the value of consequential thinking


Session 10: Final Evaluation
Where were you at the beginning? Where are you now? What are the key differences? What can you do next to keep improving? Preparing for life & work – setting your own goals Self Assessment 2 Evaluation of the Thinksmart programme



Introduction: The Thinksmart Approach


role play and creative activities. appropriate activities or games and educational materials. Group participants are involved in written exercises. share experiences and work with each other in a way that helps the development of social skills and self-confidence. coping and problem-solving skills Ability to manage and control emotions and behaviours A sense of self-confidence and positive self-esteem Each of these elements is built into the structure of every session. interact with others. The programme has been designed for use on a group basis. All will be encouraged to be autonomous in completing the exercises. with a core component of 10 group coaching sessions. The intended outcomes for the young people who participate in the programme include: improved emotional well-being.Overview of the Thinksmart Programme The Thinksmart programme is a personal development programme which is underpinned by sound psychological theory and techniques. Thinksmart is facilitated as a structured programme. with skills and coping strategies developing in a systematic way over the duration of the 10 week programme. 4 . Thinksmart is intended to be delivered systematically as a programme supported by a coach or mentor. and to feel more confident. referred to as a facilitator. Structure of the Programme The essential focus of the programme is to foster and support the building of:       Team working and collaboration with others Communication and interpersonal skills Self-Discovery and awareness Cognitive. learning to manage anxiety during exams. These sessions will be a mixture of fun. discussions.

with lots of information and activities covered in a short space of time. The explanatory section can be photocopied and used as a handout. The facilitator can then emphasise and focus on those issues that are most relevant for the participants. to help participants apply the information to their own particular difficulties. Each topic has a brief explanatory section that provides a concrete and understandable summary of the key issues. evidence-based approach to problem solving is also recommended to maximise effectiveness. or it can be used to structure the session. a Home Activity Feedback Sheet is provided for each 5 . which can be found at the back of this workbook. The pace is generally designed to be quite fast. and are intended to be used flexibly and adapted by facilitators. Illustrations and practical examples provide a way of relating the materials to issues and problems with which the young person may be familiar. attitude and re quired actions after each session using the Individual Recording Sheet for Facilitators. Each of the subsequent sessions introduces a new topic or idea which builds upon previous information and learning.The first session sets goals for the programme. The worksheets provide examples of how the concepts can be conveyed. A scientific. and aims to help the participants get to know each other and develop rapport with the facilitator. based on their own experience. This style is designed to raise both the momentum and motivation of both group participants and facilitators. whilst reducing any anxiety or worry. It is also recommended that facilitators keep a record of each individual‟s activities. performance. A series of worksheets accompany each section. In addition. tailoring the sessions accordingly. In keeping with best practice the group facilitator should aim to work in collaboration with the participants.

the more time given to each individual session. and who appear to be disengaged and demotivated. inviting young people programme. A minimum of one hour per week (or 6 . Those interested complete a simple questionnaire giving their name and reason for wishing to take part. Time Planning In simple terms. yet have the potential to achieve given the appropriate support mechanisms. who may have low self-esteem. with a group of approximately 5-6 young people per facilitator chosen. quiet and private setting is identified and remains the setting for the group throughout the programme. Setting This will clearly be defined by available facilities. Recruitment Recruitment to the programme will be voluntary.session in order to monitor progress and development in home activities. It is recommended that a consistent. Groups of 6-8 tend to be the most effective scale for working with older children and adolescents) to involve themselves in the Definition of Target Group The target group will be learners aged 13-14 currently at school. promoting a sense of security. Consultation with staff and Programme Managers or Outreach Workers would follow. (NB. It is generally advised to inform all possible participants perhaps at an assembly. and follows the definition of the target group below. the more the participants will benefit.

Support Materials Each facilitator is provided with a master copy of all the materials and exercises for each session. being briefly reviewed at the beginning of the following week. Thus between. explained that participants are more likely to get more from the programme if they 7 . Home Activities and the Involvement of Parents or Carers „Homework‟ is a common and successful formula to cement progress and support change. promoting autonomy and self-discipline. These activities will be backed by the content of the session.the equivalent of one lesson in a school timetable). participants will have their own personal workbook. There is increasing research that suggests involving parents or carers in such programmes may increase the benefits and manage potential difficulties. should be required. This provides time to reflect on the previous week‟s home activity. although best practice suggests the optimum session would be 2 hours. home activities are voluntary and participants complete them only if they choose to. It is of course complete the extra work. Unlike school or college work. Participants can also add their own home activities or other assignments. In addition. Parents and carers can contribute by supporting and encouraging the participant. or allowing them to practice new skills or behaviours at home. They can also be encouraged to reinforce the young person and work with them in planning for and addressing problems encountered.session home activities will be given at the end of each session. creating a personal portfolio of work. complete all the exercises and discuss forthcoming activities.

If at any point in the programme a young person. However. Thus real life issues such as poor school performance may be directly linked to unhelpful or irrational beliefs about the self (e. It acknowledges the link between what we think and feel and how we behave. Feeling and Behaviour in order to explore and test their cognitions and to learn alternative 8 . behaviour (behavioural intervention) and feelings (affective interventions) to be more positive and rational. This evidence based programme draws on the principles of cognitive behaviour theory (CBT). substance abuse. Any breaches of confidentiality can be addressed openly at the next session. teachers don‟t expect me to do very well) and the world (e. university isn‟t for people like me). Methods Used in Thinksmart The methods which underpin the Thinksmart approach are based on sound psychological theory and practice. others (e. participants are informed about confidentiality. facilitators are advised to record the information given and follow the Duty of Care procedures agreed for the Thinksmart programme. self-harm. parent or carer raises issues regarding the safety of themselves or others (abuse. an approach which aims to give people the skills to think. often without naming the person involved.g. or they are unlikely to share personal information. I can‟t do school work). It is critically important that all participants feel safe in the group. Confidentiality should be respected at all times throughout the programme. an important component of the programme involves teaching participants about the link between Thinking. The different types of intervention used are outlined in more detail below. etc).Confidentiality In the introductory session.g. act and feel positively. with group rules discussed in the introductory session.g. Thinksmart therefore uses a range of approaches aimed at helping young people change their thinking (cognitive interventions).

„My House‟ can also be used as the format of a final creative and self evaluative activity that the participants present back to their peers. Intervention Terms There are a number of terms you are likely to encounter as you begin to learn about the intervention programme and these are briefly defined for you below: Cognitive Interventions Thought Monitoring Common cognitions and patterns of thinking are assessed and recorded. it is important to begin by defining the problem.cognitive and behavioural skills. The Aimhigher Project Manager. Helen Dowdeswell. friends. Identification of Unhelpful Cognitions Thought monitoring provides an opportunity to identify common negative or unhelpful cognitions which results in an increased awareness of the nature and type of cognitive distortions and unhelpful thinking. are labelled and explained. teachers and families. has created a visual tool called „My House‟ (see session 1) which helps make this complex process to be simply illustrated in a meaningful way for the participants. Thought Evaluation and Development of Alternate Cognitive Processes The identification of unhelpful cognitive processes leads to systematic testing and evaluation leading to the development of 9 . Representing the problem through a familiar object such as a house and its environment enables creative and personalised activities to be created. with the underlying causes and triggers. To achieve this. This process involves developing a clear and shared understanding of the relationship between the vicious cycle (or „Magic Circle‟ in Thinksmart) of thoughts. feelings and what we do. Hot thoughts (those producing a strong emotional response).

such as a dry mouth or sweaty hands. are explained. anxiety or unhappiness. and is a core focus in both sessions and home activity work. Emotion Management An awareness of emotional patterns can lead to the development of preventative strategies such as balanced thinking. Emotion Monitoring Monitoring strong emotions can help to identify times. selfinstructional training. Physiological changes usually associated with emotions. Learning New Cognitive Skills These skills will include distraction. positive self-talk. consequential thinking and problem solving skills. Rating scales can be used to rate the intensity of emotions to provide a way to monitor performance and assessing any change. Behavioural Interventions Target Setting and Activity Scheduling 10 . places. This encourages a process of balanced thinking or „cognitive restructuring‟. more balanced and helpful cognitions.alternative skills. Affective Interventions Emotional Education Emotional education is designed to identify and distinguish core emotions such as anger. activities or thoughts that are associated with unpleasant feelings. such as: Looking for new information Thinking from an alternate perspective Developing consequential thinking Assessing contradictory information This evaluation will provide an opportunity to develop alternative.

External reinforcement from others is 11 . „win -win‟ experiments being built on over a gradual progressive programme of exposure. Experiments can determine whether what happens is similar or different to what was predicted. Starting with the least difficult. The process of observing others modelling appropriate behaviours or skills can result in new behaviours being rehearsed in role play or imagination before being practised in real life. providing evidence which can be evaluated and tested. The transfer of skills from session to real life is encouraged by the systematic use of assignment tasks and practice. It enables positive skills and alternate solutions to be learned and practiced safely. Behavioural Experiments Guided discovery will test and challenge thoughts and assumptions. exposure follows steps in a hierarchy (either live or in imagination). with easier. Targets may include increasing activities that will produce positive emotions or rescheduling to prevent or minimise activities associated with unpleasant emotions. Role Play. avoiding certain events to prevent anxiety. Exposure A process of graduated exposure designed to master difficulties is often used. aiding insight and awareness. The achievement of specified targets is regularly reviewed and will provide an overview of progress. either live or in-session. for example. Modelling and Rehearsal This provides an opportunity to practice dealing with difficult or challenging situations. aiding relapse prevention.Goal setting is a core activity within Thinksmart and overall objectives are mutually agreed and assessed. Continued exposure also helps to prevent habitual and unhelpful responses re-occurring. Reinforcement and Reward Positive reinforcement of any appropriate behaviour is a cornerstone of the Thinksmart programme.

carers and teachers.important. with authority figures such as parents. particularly for younger people. Self-reinforcement is also a key area of learning. 12 . helpers. with re-balancing of negative thinking and positive self-talk taught within the programme.

Session 1: Getting Started. Getting to Know You & Setting Goals 13 .

The SES consists of 10 statements related to overall feelings of self-worth or selfacceptance. Allowing the group to discuss.Overview Activity-based worksheets include. the Personal Checklist and Rosenberg‟s Self Esteem Scale (SES). Good reliability and validity has been demonstrated across a large number of different sample groups. critical to successful outcomes. Session Aims and Objectives Enable group members to get to know each other in order to form a collaborative self-supporting group Agree some group rules and set boundaries Set some goals and objectives for the programme Introduce the Thinksmart learning journal Have fun! 14 .. collaboration and support within the programme. The home activity includes two self report measures. These assessments are used at the start and end of the programme to assess progress. These first steps are key elements in establishing the framework of positive reinforcement. The exercises „Who Am I?‟ and „Character Sketch‟ initiate the process of self-reflection. The Personal Checklist enables a participant to assess and self-monitor shifts and changes in thinking and feeling towards self and others. It also enables evaluation of behavioural shifts. negotiate and agree their own rules is self-reinforcing and starts the process of empowerment and ownership. „Remembering Names‟ and „Getting to Know the Group‟. as well as encouraging the group to get to know each other.

Remembering names Being part of a group Getting to know the group Group rules: Produce a summary on flipchart/whiteboard for all to put in their learning journal. Participants should be assured that this is a personal record that does not have to be shared with the group. This should include a discussion about confidentiality and boundaries of work Activity 1: Who Am I? An exercise to enable participants to begin the process of describing how they see themselves Activity 2: Character sketch.g. Includes activities designed to enable group members to get to know each other e. These questionnaires are designed to enable participants to identify their sense of selfconcept and self-esteem. Activity 3: My House. participants should now be ready to start thinking about their problems and how Thinksmart might help. Participants only share the information they are comfortable with. 15 . However it provides a starting point for the group discussion that follows Group Discussion: Produce a summary of the main goals of Thinksmart Home Activity: Personal checklist and SES.Session Plan Welcome participants and share agenda for session with group Introduction to the course Getting to know each other. Some young people may be selfconscious about acting/role playing so they can draw a picture or just write their thoughts if they are anxious Feedback: On completion of these exercises. participants are encouraged to feedback two pieces of information about themselves to the group (one could be a name!).

solve problems more effectively. thinking and sensing then you are likely to come up with some creative solutions to your difficulties. For example.  Change of any sort affects us on all levels.  Remember „thinking smartly‟ is a great way to start to think and feel better about yourself! 16 . if you take note of what the „whole‟ of you is feeling. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of how to do this. Here are some important points to keep in mind as you make a start:  We all have the ability to solve problems and to make effective changes in our lives.  A programme of this type can help you to feel more in control of your life and to enjoy more fulfilling relationships.Introduction to the Course This course has been designed to help you to help yourself. and feel better about yourself. The activity sheets and discussion topics will provide you with the opportunity to explore different aspects of how you think. feel and behave. then help you make the changes that you want in your life.  When you feel „stuck‟. a change in the way that you think about a certain situation can lead to changes in how you feel physically and in how you behave in that situation.

a colour they like to wear and so on. Remembering other people‟s names is an important skill and there are many techniques that can help you do this. One is to link the person‟s name with something else – an object.Remembering Names Names are an important part of who we are. something they like doing. note down something that will help you to remember his or her name. For each person in the group. You may have chosen to shorten your name or use a nickname to reflect how you would like to be known. Name Memory aid 17 .

Write their names in the space provided.Getting to Know the Group Find as many people as possible in the group who can agree with the following statements. Statement I own a mobile phone People that agree I have a pet I enjoy watching sport I have seen one of my favourite films more than three times I like spicy food I got the bus here today I have an unusual hobby I don‟t like chocolate 18 .

work.Being Part of a Group Throughout life most of us have the chance to be part of many different groups. sport and friendship groups. school. You may feel more comfortable in some types of groups than others and you will have developed certain ways of „being‟ and thinking about yourself in relation to different groups. How I normally cope with groups How I would like to be in this group What I believe I can contribute What would help me to feel most comfortable in this group 19 . including family. It is important to recognise that you have some choice about this.

By making this choice you can decide to leave at any time. for safety reasons it is important that you let the group facilitators know of your whereabouts at all times. your actions will suggest that you no longer wish to take part and you will be given the choice to either stay and stop disturbing the session or leave the group. By making the commitment to become part of the group you also commit to doing the home activity work and taking part in all group activities. not just the ones you like. we will not make anyone do anything. Timekeeping It makes it difficult if you are not on time for the group to start. it is your responsibility not to be late. If you are disrupting the group. This involves supporting and listening to each other and taking turns to speak. 20 . Commitment It is important that if you are to get something out of this group then you are prepared to put something in of yourself. However. If you choose to leave on more than one occasion you may be asked to leave the group altogether. However. We hope to encourage the entire group to take part in all the activities. While it is the responsibility of the group facilitators to ensure groups are organised to start and finish on time. Personal Choice It is your choice to be in the group.Group Rules Respect Each Other It is important that we each try to respect others in the group and the group facilitators.

Our group rules about Confidentiality are: I agree to keep to the group rules and to stick to the confidentiality agreement.Confidentiality „Confidentiality‟ means that what we talk about in the group is special to us and we won‟t tell anyone outside the group. what others say is private. It‟s OK for you to talk to your own family and friends about what you do and say in the group if you want to. but remember. But they will try to tell you what they are doing and why. If you tell the group facilitators anything that makes them think that you are not safe outside the group or that you are in danger they will have to talk to someone outside the group who can help protect you. The most important thing is that you are safe. Signature:__________________________________________ 21 . Please think about the rules you would like to have in your group to feel safe.

Activity 1: Who am I? Something important about me Physical features Personality Beliefs Talents and skills Things I enjoy Things I dislike Important events Important people Important places Difficulties I have overcome Hopes/ambitions Anything else? 22 .

. _________________________________ is.. someone who knows you better than anyone else and is supporting and understanding of the true you. 23 .Activity 2: Character Sketch Imagine that you are writing a script for a play about your life. Start with your name. How would you describe yourself in a character sketch? Write as though you are your own best friend.

Chimney of Fears (what do I worry about?) Window of Truth (my beliefs) 1. 2. 3. 2. (what rules do I believe?) Roof of Rules 1. Doorbell (my trigger) Yellow Brick Road (my early experiences) 24 . 3.Activity 3: My House 3 . 1. Window of Truth Window of Truth (my beliefs) (my beliefs) 3. Behaviour Birds (how do I act?) Sensation Smoke (how do I feel?) 1. 2. 2.

___________________________________________________ 25 . At the end of the course I would like to: 1.__________________________________________________ 2.__________________________________________________ 3.Group goals and objectives.

I have a strong sense of who I am I am very aware of how I behave in different ways according to the situation I am in I can usually see things from other people‟s perspectives I have a good understanding of how different relationships work I am usually realistic about how I think others view me I am able to be independent and self-reliant I am able to be in a relationship without feeling swamped or overwhelmed by the other person I understand my emotions and why I feel the way I do in different situations I believe that I am a likeable and worthwhile person I am respectful and tolerant of other people‟s views I feel in control of how I express my emotions I am able to distinguish my feelings from those of others I can accept constructive criticism from others I am able to acknowledge my own strengths I recognise areas that I find difficult and may want to work on I like and respect myself I am self-motivated. I tend not to worry too much what others might think of me I am assertive in the way that I deal with unjustified criticism from others I take good care of myself I believe that I have mastery over my life I can tolerate my own mistakes I know how to relax and enjoy myself I feel OK about my physical appearance I am able to adjust my actions. thoughts and actions have value I enjoy talking to new people I consider myself to be a creative person I am confident enough in my own abilities to be able to try different ways of solving problems I cope well with unexpected events I am generally optimistic I tend not to dwell on past events or worry about the future I regularly set myself realistic yet challenging goals I believe that I am capable of fulfilling my potential 26 . feelings and thoughts according to realistic assessments of my progress I am usually able to listen well to what others have to say I enjoy new challenges I believe that I let other people see who I really am through my words and actions I believe that my options.Home Activity 1: Personal Checklist Shade in the boxes to show how much each of these statements is true for you.

I think I am no good at all I feel that I have a number of good qualities I am able to do things as well as most other people I feel I do not have much to be proud of I feel useless at times I feel that I should be valued and I am equal to others I wish I could have more respect for myself I often think I am a failure I take a positive attitude toward myself Add up the total number of points in the shaded boxes to get your final score: 27 .Home Activity 2: Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (SES) Please read the following statements and shade the box that best describes how much you agree or disagree with each one Strongly Agree On the whole. I am satisfied with myself 3 0 3 3 0 0 3 0 0 Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 0 3 0 0 3 3 0 3 3 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 At times.

Feelings & What You Do 28 .Session 2: Thoughts.

the role of assumptions is highlighted. Different types of thoughts (automatic and core beliefs) are explained. The home activity „My Thought Diary‟ builds on the concepts leant during the session by providing a structure for recording emotionally charged. Session Aims and Objectives Understand the links between thoughts. feelings and actions Learn about „The Magic Circle‟ as a way to remembe r these links Begin the process of understanding how to monitor your thoughts 29 . feelings and behaviours. and the effects of positive and negative thoughts on feelings and behaviour are described. The worksheet „Magic Circle‟ is designed to introduce the participant to the concept of thought monitoring. or „hot thoughts‟. and learning to link these to emotional reactions. feelings and behaviours.Overview This session is designed to introduce the link between thinking. and learning the key skill of making the link between thoughts.

30 . Alternatively participants can fill in the sheets individually and present to the group. Creativity in the use of these tools is key.Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. Catching and monitoring specific thoughts helps young people develop awareness and begin to validate their feelings. Facilitators can demonstrate an example first and the group can discuss their own examples. Participants will be encouraged to share their thoughts with the group at the start of Session 3 but would not be pressurised into doing so. Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Introduce topic ‘Thoughts. Facilitators should ensure that they involve all participants in discussions by asking if others would have similar or different feelings and actions Home Activity My Thought Diary: Facilitators introduce the idea of practising „catching‟ thoughts and how it can help to explain changes in feelings. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. Feelings and What You Do’: Discuss the basic concept of „The Magic Circle‟ using handouts supplied in order to raise self-awareness Activity 1: The Magic Circle.

3. 6. 4.Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 2. 5. 31 .

Cognitive refers to what you think. This may be because: They happen fairly often They have been around for some time They feel totally overwhelming They seem to affect everything you do Sometimes these problems take over and life becomes one big unhappy worry. The Magic Circle Thinksmart aims to help you discover helpful ways of dealing with your problems. we are quite good at coping with many of these problems and they are quickly and successfully sorted out. behaviour is about what you do. Parents. work – in fact almost everything – create problems at some time or another. It is based on something called cognitive behaviour theory (CBT). According to this theory what you think about things affects how you feel and what you do: What you think What you do 32 How you feel . Feelings and What You Do Hassles and problems are part of everyday life. school. Other problems seem more difficult. boy or girlfriends. friends. Luckily.Thoughts.

another arrives to take its place. You may go quiet and not talk very much. or to think about how things could be different. Thinking that no one likes you may make you feel sad. and maybe only look at one side of the story – usually the bit that hasn‟t quite gone right. but here are some examples to help you understand how it works: Thinking that you are not very good at talking to people may make you feel very worried or anxious when you are out with your friends. Often. Many of our thoughts are describing things that are going on around us. you may not even realise what you are doing. It has become part of everyday life and it can be very difficult to see any way out. Thinking that you never get things right may make you feel angry.We will find out more about this link. What You Think Our minds are always busy. Others will be about ourselves. You may stay at home on your own. As soon as one thought passes through. We are constantly thinking about all sorts of things. Thinksmart will help you realise that sometimes you may not see the whole picture. You may give up trying because you think it‟ll be wrong. These might be about the way we see ourselves: I‟m fat I have lots of friends I‟ve got a bad temper These might be about how we judge what we do: I‟m hopeless at organising myself I‟m good at sports I‟m pretty good at making friends 33 .

unhappiness and anger. these unpleasant feelings take over. At other times. The thought “I look quite nice in these clothes” may make you feel relaxed. 34 . the way in which we think affects how we feel. The thought “We lost again – we will never win” may make you feel angry or sad. and these often produce unpleasant feelings: The thought “I bet no one will turn up to my party” may make you feel anxious. At other times we may have more negative thoughts. Positive or nice thoughts often produce pleasant feelings.They might describe our view of the future: No one will ever want to go out with me I‟ll never get to university I‟ll be a millionaire by the time I‟m thirty How You Feel As we have begun to see. The thought “I don‟t like these clothes” may make you feel worried and unhappy. They become very strong and seem to last. The unpleasant feelings people notice most often are those of stress. Many of these feelings will not be strong and will not last for very long. Our thoughts will result in many different feelings. The thought “Although we lost I played really well” may make you feel pleased. You may not even notice them. The thought “I‟m really looking forward to that party” may make you feel happy.

We like to feel good. they start to have an effect on what you do. you may stop going. If you feel sad or unhappy at school. There are lots of ways in which your thoughts and feelings can affect what you do. You may notice that you: give up and stop doing things avoid situations that might be difficult become reluctant to try new things It would seem that these changes prove that our thoughts were right all along! Difficulty in concentrating would prove the thought that “I will never pass these exams” Staying at home would prove the thought that “No one likes me – I haven‟t got any friends” Finding it difficult to sleep or putting on weight would prove the thoughts that “I look a wreck” and “No one would want to go out with me” 35 . you may avoid going out or turn down invitations to meet up and do things with your friends. You may feel happier when you stay at home. If you feel anxious when talking to other people. If you feel angry when people criticise your work.What You Do If these feelings last or become very strong. so we usually try to do more of those things that make us feel good and less of those things that make us feel unpleasant. When you stay on your own you may feel more relaxed. you may give up trying so hard.

Thoughts may magically come true because you are only looking for evidence that supports them. and when you have had a good night‟s sleep you are able to concentrate. You may have stayed at home last night. but you have arranged to go out with your friends tomorrow. You may have gained 2 kg but does that really make such a big difference to how you look? Your favourite clothes still fit well. You may only be looking for evidence to support your negative thoughts. Is it possible that you are only seeing one side of the story? Sometimes by becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings. we can start to see how the things we do are affected by our thoughts and feelings. 36 . This is the first step to changing our behaviour. You may have found it difficult to concentrate today – you didn‟t sleep very well last night. Usually you sleep better.Can we look at this again? You may be caught in a trap.

What were you thinking? What did you do? How did you feel? Think of a situation where you felt sad or angry.Activity 1: The Magic Circle Think of a situation where you felt happy. What were you thinking? What did you do? How did you feel? 37 .

just jot down a few notes! Day & Time Situation Where were you? Who were you with? What happened? Thoughts What were you thinking? Feelings How were you feeling? 38 .Home Activity: My Thought Diary Throughout the week note down in your thought diary three experiences you have had Try to give examples of both a good and bad experience Think about what happened in these situations and what you thought and felt at the time You don‟t need to write lots.

Session 3: Identifying Thoughts & Types of Thinking 39 .

For example. The reasons why automatic thoughts seem so real are explained. others and the future. Session Aims and Objectives Understanding what an automatic thought is Learn about common types of thinking errors Understand what a negative trap is and how it applies to you 40 . where the main errors are highlighted to confirm awareness. „What Are They Thinking?‟ encourages the young person to both identify and rate the extent to which they believe negative thoughts. as are the effects of positive and negative automatic thoughts on feelings and behaviour. as is the Cognitive Triad featuring thoughts about self. It is a self completed questionnaire that encourages participants to reflect upon the thinking errors they make.Overview Automatic thoughts are discussed and explained. cognitive errors result in positive events being overlooked. The „Negative Trap‟ exercise reinforces the concept of thought monitoring whilst cementing the thinking – feeling – behaviour link. which bias the way in which situations and events are interpreted and assessed. The home activity „What Thinking Errors Do You Make?‟ builds upon this new knowledge and understanding. Cognitive distortions are introduced as thinking errors. Negative aspects are highlighted using six key themes of thinking.

Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. Introduce thinking errors: Using the „Thinking Errors‟ handouts the idea of common types of unhelpful thinking is introduced. The scenarios should represent a variety of emotions Home Activity Self assessment questionnaire: What thinking errors do you make? Encourage the participant to look at their own thinking errors as their homework.Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Introduce topic ‘Thoughts and Types of Thinking” : Discuss different types of thinking using the introductory section on automatic thoughts and the cognitive triad of view of self. They may then present these to the group if they wish. Activity 1: ‘The Negative Trap’ cycle Facilitators can demonstrate an example first and work through the “Sam” example. Encourage participant to fill in the thought bubbles either by drawing a picture or writing a sentence. Activity 2: „What Are They Thinking?‟ worksheets. others and the future. The group should then fill in their own examples. This will be useful to help them see what type of thinking errors they usually make 41 . Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity.

4. 42 . 2. 3. 6.Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 5.

Being asked to complete your coursework may trigger automatic thoughts like: “I don‟t know what to do”. “I‟ll never be able to drive” or “I knew I wouldn‟t be able to do it”. “This isn‟t good enough” or “I‟m not sure that they want more than this”.I‟m not very good at getting on with people . and they are important because they affect what we do and how we feel. Failing your driving test may result in automatic thoughts like: “I really screwed this up”.I did really well in my maths test The way you see the future: 43 . They might be about any of the following: How you see yourself: . What I Do and My Future The automatic thoughts we are most interested in are those that are about you.Everything I do goes wrong . “He/she was just making fun of me” or “I‟ll never get another boyfriend/girlfriend”.I‟m clever .I‟m hopeless at sport . We have these thoughts all the time. They provide you with a running commentary about what happens and what you do.Thoughts and Types of Thinking Automatic Thoughts Thoughts that quickly pop into your head throughout the day are called automatic thoughts.I‟m good-looking The way you judge yourself: . Me. A relationship ending may result in automatic thoughts like: “I knew this wouldn‟t last. it never does”.

They seem to look through negative glasses and will only see and hear the things that are not right. These thoughts can be positive: I played well in that game I had a really nice time with my friends tonight Mike seems to like me These positive thoughts might encourage you to: Continue training and playing sport Make another arrangement to go out with your friends Invite Mike round and spend more time with him Automatic thoughts can also be negative: That‟s the worst I‟ve ever played None of my friends are talking to me tonight I‟m not sure.There are plenty of things I can do when I leave school These are the building blocks that form the overall picture of how you see yourself. You might start to: Miss training sessions Become less interested in going out and seeing friends Avoid going to places if you know that Mike might be there We have a mixture of negative and positive automatic thoughts. Their thoughts tend to be very negative 44 . and what you expect will happen in the future. Most people are able to see both sides and end up making balanced decisions and judgements.. These thoughts shape what you think about yourself. but I don‟t think Mike likes me Negative automatic thoughts might make you stop or avoid doing things.One day I‟ll settle down .I‟m never going to be happy . how you judge what you do. Others find it harder to think about things positively.

The Downers With these types of errors we focus only on the negative things that happen. These are thinking errors. There are six common types of thinking errors that we make. hear or see anything good about themselves They do not recognise any positive skills They have a gloomy view about their future and do not believe that they could be successful For some people. we do the opposite – the more we hear them. Their automatic thoughts become mainly negative.They find it hard to think. It is these negative things that you notice and remember most. and the more we look for evidence or select things to prove them. Anything positive is overlooked. the negative glasses will still find the things that went wrong or weren‟t quite good enough. 45 . In fact. They may make us feel unpleasant or prevent us from doing things. We only see the things that go wrong or that aren‟t right. disbelieved or thought to be unimportant. Thinking Errors We have begun to see that some of our „hot‟ automatic thoughts are not helpful. the more we believe them. There are two common types of downers: Negative glasses Negative glasses only let you see one part of what happens – the negative part! If you have a good time. The problem with negative automatic thoughts is that they continue to go round and round in our heads and we seldom stop to challenge or question them. or if nice things happen. 1. this way of thinking takes over.

You may have a disagreement with your best friend and think to yourself: “That‟s it – you‟re not my friend any more”. The person who hears that a boy or girl wants to go out with them may think: “They probably can‟t find anyone else to go out with”. Doing well in a maths test may be discounted as you think: “But it was easy – we learned all that last year”. “I forgot his name and everyone was looking at me and laughing at me” 46 . then you see yourself as a total failure. anything positive is dismissed as unimportant or else discredited. but at lunchtime your favourite cafe was full. 2. It is either boiling hot or freezing cold. Blowing things up The second type of thinking errors are those when negative things are blown up and become bigger than they really are. When you are asked whether you had a good time. Magnifying the negative With this thinking error. the importance of things that happen is exaggerated. Getting 72% in a maths test may cause someone to think “I never get anything right – I‟m going to give up maths”. you reply “No. If you fall short of perfect.You may have had a really good day out with your friends. Positive doesn’t count With this thinking error. Negative events are magnified and blown up out of all proportion. and there doesn‟t seem to be anything in between. we couldn‟t get into the cafe”. This happens in three main ways: All-or-nothing thinking Everything is seen in all-or-nothing terms.

Not being picked for the sports team could result in thoughts such as “I‟m no good at sports. I just can‟t do anything”. “I know I‟m not going to be able to do this work”. The first grey cloud in the sky becomes evidence of an approaching thunderstorm.” “I bet everyone is laughing at me. These types of errors often predict failure and make us expect the worse. the person thinks that they know what will happen. the person thinks that they know what everyone else is thinking. a single event or upset snowballs and quickly grows into a never-ending pattern of defeat.” The fortune-teller With this thinking error. “I know she doesn‟t like me. “If we go out. Predicting failure Another type of thinking error is about what we expect will happen. This can happen in two main ways: The mind-reader With this thinking error. I can‟t understand maths. I‟ll end up sitting on my own”. 3. 47 .“I dropped my book and the whole class was watching me” Snowballing With this thinking error.

which we can‟t achieve. Setting yourself up to fail This error is about the standards and expectations that we set ourselves. These thoughts often start with words such as: I should I must I shouldn‟t I can‟t They result in us setting impossible standards. “I‟m just a loser” “It‟s me. We become very aware of our failings and the things we have not done. 48 . Dustbin labels You attach a label to yourself and think of everything you do in these terms. too. Your emotions take over and colour the way in which you think. Often our targets are too high. What we think depends on how we feel. not on what actually happens. Emotional reasoning Because you feel bad. Feeling thoughts With this thinking error our emotions become very strong and cloud the way in which we actually think and see things. We set ourselves up to fail. I‟m just hopeless” “I‟m rubbish” 5. sad and down. and we never seem to achieve them.4. then you assume that everything else is.

The problem starts when they happen regularly and when they prevent you from making real choices about the things you can or want to do in your life. you may think „I must have said something to upset him”. even though we have no control over them. “If your friend doesn‟t see you and walks past without talking to you. Blame me! At other times we feel responsible for the negative things that happen. it broke down”. Everything that goes wrong is down to us! “As soon as I got on the bus. 49 .6. Remember! It is important to remember that everyone makes these errors at some stage.

depressed.Activity 1: The Negative Trap Confirm your failure Negative thoughts Feels disinterested & unmotivated Create doubts/ worries Affect what you do Produce unpleasant feelings Make you feel sad. anxious and uptight 50 .

Sam’s Negative Trap My exam went really badly I‟m going to fail my exam I can‟t be bothered to revise if I‟m going to fail anyway I‟m never going to get into Uni and my family will think I‟m a failure I‟m not in the mood to go to school or do any work I don‟t like myself for letting my family down I feel upset and tearful thinking about it 51 .

My Negative Trap 52 .

Imagine you are in their position. What would their automatic thoughts be? Failing an essay Having fun with friends Seeing a younger child being bullied 53 .Activity 2: What Are They Thinking? Look at the pictures of young people in different scenarios.

What Are They Thinking? Doing your favourite hobby Being given a present Being left out by friends 54 .

Home Activity: What Thinking Errors Do You Make? The downers 1. How often do you magnify or blow up the things that go wrong? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 3. How often do you play down the positive or good things that happen? Never Sometimes Often All of the time Blowing things up 1. How often do single negative events seem to snowball into something bigger? Never Sometimes Often All of the time Predicting failure 1. How often do you think you know what other people are thinking about you? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 2. How often do you find yourself looking for the bad things that happen? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 2. How often do you ignore or overlook the positive or good things that happen? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 4. How often do you find yourself looking for the things that go wrong or which aren‟t quite good enough? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 3. How often do you expect things to go wrong? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 55 . How often do you find yourself all-or-nothing thinking? Never Sometimes Often All of the time 2.

Feeling thoughts
1. How often do you think that you are a stupid or bad person? Never Sometimes Often All of the time

2. How often do you think that you are a loser who can never do anything right? Never Sometimes Often All of the time

Setting yourself up to fail
1. How often do you think that things are not good enough unless they are perfect? Never Sometimes Often All of the time

2. How often do you find yourself thinking that you „should‟ do this or that? Never Sometimes Often All of the time

3. How often do you find yourself saying ”I must”? Never Sometimes Often All of the time

Blame me!
1. How often do you blame yourself for the things that happen or go wrong? Never Sometimes Often All of the time


Session 4: Controlling Your Thoughts


Participants are introduced to the idea of checking and testing negative thoughts. This is designed to ensure that they have looked for all the relevant evidence that thoughts are not distorted, and are balanced and reasonable to the situation. This process leads to cognitive restructuring, where on the basis of the evidence; a young person identifies an alternative, more helpful and balanced thought. „Positive Self-Talk‟ and the „Thought Thermometer‟ are exercises designed to check, test and evaluate negative thinking. Scaling is reinforced within the thermometer and can be used to demonstrate change and progress towards balanced thinking. „Jamie‟s Day‟ is an interactive group exercise which enables participants to review their learning regarding cognitive evaluation and restructuring. It is designed to be a group assessment of the progress being made by participants. Home activity „Deal With It!‟ balanced thinking. is an exercise designed to reinforce

Session Aims and Objectives
Learn how to identify and challenge negative thoughts What we should say when we talk to ourselves (positive self talk) Learn how our thoughts can affect our mood


This case study should be introduced and used as the basis for a brief group discussion to illustrate the principle of positive self talk. Review the case study together. Discuss examples of thinking errors and their consequences Introduce concept of balanced thinking and controlling your thoughts: Work through the handout using the questions that you might ask yourself to test your balanced thinking Positive Self-Talk . brainstorm what went well and what didn‟t. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. Encourage participant to complete handouts with: One negative thing they might think about often What they do to help themselves Other things they could do How other people can help them 59 .Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. Activity 1: Jamie’s Day. It may be useful for facilitators to use spider diagrams (or other visual illustrations) to summarise the good and bad points.Abbie’s Story. using the whiteboard to capture the information. Would Jamie describe his day as being half empty or half full? Activity 2: Thought Thermometer Optionally the thought thermometer can now be used to demonstrate change and progress towards balanced thinking Home Activity Deal With It: Worksheet to help participants appraise and evaluate negative thinking.

Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 4. 2. 5. 3. 60 . 6.

Am I blowing things up? 61 . the more we believe our negative thoughts and the harder it becomes to challenge them and see things in a different way. What would I say to my best friend if he or she had this thought? Q. Until you get used to doing it.Balanced Thinking Often we become stuck in a negative trap and find ourselves making the same thinking errors time and time again. we have to learn to identify and challenge our negative thoughts. What evidence is there to question this thought? Q. What evidence is there to support this thought? Q. Am I having a downer on myself and forgetting my strengths? Q. balanced thinking can be hard. The more we make these errors. Am I making any thinking errors? Think back to the previous session on negative thinking and ask yourself: Q. What would my best friend/teacher/parent say if they heard me thinking in this way? Q. In order to break out of this cycle. By doing this we shall be able to gain a more balanced view of what is going on. The following questions might be helpful: Q.

Remember! Balanced thinking is not about rationalising your thoughts. Balanced thinking is about looking for new information that you might otherwise overlook. Otherwise we would be fooling ourselves into thinking that everything is problem free – and this just isn‟t the case. Am I setting myself up to fail? Q. Are these feeling thoughts (emotional reasoning and dustbin labels)? Q. Balanced thinking is not about seeing everything positively.Q. Am I blaming myself for the things that have gone wrong? Our thoughts have to be realistic. 62 . Am I predicting failure (mind-reader or fortune-teller)? Q.

Controlling Your Thoughts We spend a great deal of time listening to our thoughts. we accept many of these thoughts as true without really questioning them. Looking for new evidence to test these thoughts is important. How strongly do you believe them? Where would you rate them on the thermometer? 63 . You can use the Thought Thermometer to test the strength of your thoughts. the more unpleasant feelings we experience. As we have already found out. We then become trapped The negative thoughts become louder It becomes harder to turn down the volume and hear other thoughts The more we listen. and the less we end up doing We have started to identify some of our negative thoughts and to learn about the types of thinking errors that we make. and it will help us to check that our thinking is balanced. what we do and what we expect to happen in the future. particularly the negative ones. Some of these thoughts are negative and are about ourselves.

64 . while others only seem to see the bad or negative things in life. This can be described as seeing the glass as half full or half empty. Positive self-talk is a way of helping us to take more notice of our achievements. they may be better than you think! Because everyone is different. use positive self-talk such as “That‟s the first question finished – now for the next one”. Instead of thinking “I‟ve only answered on question – I‟ll never be able to finish all ten”. Instead of thinking “No one talks to me when we go out”. Some people always seem to see the good or positive things in everything and everybody. Positive self-talk helps you to recognise that although things may not be perfect. people often have quite different thoughts about things.Positive Self-Talk We are not always very good at praising ourselves for being successful. use positive self-talk such as “That was the first time Rory has ever said anything to me”.

Abbie decided to try coping and positive self-talk when she next went out. “That‟s good. Abbie kept repeating these thoughts to herself until she returned home. I‟m halfway there”. Instead of listening to her negative doubts and worries. she decided to think differently. I‟m in charge and I want to go out”. I‟m feeling relaxed. As Abbie walked down the road. Before she went out she used her coping self-talk. After Abbie arrived home she remembered to congratulate herself and thought. Abbie said to herself. with comments such as. that wasn‟t so bad after all”. She then treated herself to a long. relaxing bubble bath. “Well done.Abbie’s story Abbie becomes very anxious and fearful whenever she goes out of her house. “I knew I could do it” and “ It‟s going OK and I know I‟m going to do it”. 65 . it will be alright. I have been out before and everything was OK. she used her positive self-talk. She has lots of negative thoughts about what will happen. and these make her feel very anxious. “I‟m going to do this today.

Activity 1: Jamie’s Day Read through the story of Jamie‟s day together. Mrs Rogers. and wondered if he would get into trouble. looked up sternly as he burst into the classroom. and she shouted at him to hurry up as he was very late. the teacher quickly 66 . get your homework out”. he tried to hurry the rest of the way. he mouthed back at her. he got out his books for Maths and rummaged in his bag for his pencil case. he leapt out of bed and threw on his school uniform. Jamie felt scared. as he hated getting told off by the head teacher. Jamie was running so fast along the pavement to school that he tripped over a large crack and went sprawling. Jamie‟s form tutor. his teacher told the class. but as she noticed his bleeding knees. Discuss the good and bad points of his day. Did the positive parts of the day make up for the bad points? At the end of his day do you think Jamie would describe the glass as being half full or half empty? Jamie woke up and looked at his clock. Using a whiteboard. she replied. He whispered over to Sarah. He felt a sharp pain and peered down at his bleeding knees. The head teacher was walking across the empty school yard when Jamie arrived at school. He grabbed his school bag and lunch and ran out of the door. Luckily. and asked if he could borrow a pen for the day. She gently sent him off to the school nurse to look at his knees. Limping. “No”. He had overslept.30am! Hurriedly. He didn‟t want to get in any more trouble today. take it in turns to brainstorm the positive and negative things that happened to him during the day. feeling relieved. “You should have brought your own!” Amy leaned over towards him. hoping that his teacher wouldn‟t notice he didn‟t have his with him. When he got back to the classroom. passed him a pen and smiled. but his knees were hurting so much that they slowed him down. it was 8. she looked on more kindly. What homework? He couldn‟t remember any homework being set! Everyone else was pulling their homework out of their bags so Jamie pretended he was too and sat low in his chair. He was really hungry but didn‟t have time to eat breakfast. but realised he had forgotten it. “Right. “Thank you”. Jamie looked up in confusion.

Jamie jumped up and jogged onto the pitch. He jogged all the way home. He was an avid Leeds United fan and loved watching. “I need our best team out there”. Lunchtime meant football practice. He pulled on his boots and wandered over to the pitch. The afternoon‟s lessons dragged a bit and Jamie was glad when it was time to go home. which was Jamie‟s favourite part of the day. Jamie went bright red and quickly shut the lunch box lid. He couldn‟t believe his mum could embarrass him like that! Especially as one of the girls in the group. reading about or watching football. he had really liked for ages.moved on and Jamie felt relieved. don‟t think you should really be playing Jamie”. A group of girls walked behind where Jamie was sat. He crossed the street quickly to try and avoid them and kept his head down so they didn‟t spot him. Instead his lunch box was full of carrot sticks. “No. He wasn‟t going to let some scratched knees ruin his game! He went on to score the winning goal and the team congratulated him. He shouted goodbye to his friends and ran out of school.” Steve said. “Stupid knees”. you should sit out today mate. as he‟d been looking forward to the practice all morning. the captain said as he noticed Jamie limping slightly. There was a big group of older boys huddled together at the corner of the street. salad and some really smelly egg sandwiches. “Umm. Jamie slumped off and sat in the bench. He was starving after missing breakfast and opened his lunch box eagerly. what‟s that stink?” one of the girls said. The oldest boy had spotted Jamie and 67 . “Please let me play Steve”. “I feel sick!” The other girls started sniggering. Tina. Jamie sat down with his two best friends at lunch time and began chatting away. he thought and sat looking glum. Jamie said. Now she would just think he was an idiot. These boys were well known at school for causing trouble and bullying younger pupils. But it was too late. expecting his favourite snacks to be inside. He was gutted . He felt really good and quite proud of himself. He‟d just have to catch up on the homework tonight. Halfway through practice Steve wandered over to the bench. “Urrrggghhh. “I‟ll be fine”. “Go and give it a shot then Jamie. but slowed down as he reached his street. the team‟s not as good without you!” and smiled.

“It‟ll save me some hassle”. Gary snarled. “I don‟t want to”. sorry”. “Just smoke it”. being embarrassed at lunch. “Jamie said. piped up one the other boys. One of the boys looked back and winked at him and he smiled back. “Come here runt”. “Have one of these”. “Don‟t you walk away from me”. he thought. and Jamie felt so relieved. he said. Gary lunged towards him and Jamie thought he was about to hit him. Gary laughed. although inside he was really scared. Jamie approached him and Gary started sniggering. don‟t bother”. He went upstairs and collapsed down on his bed . Jamie said and tried to back away. “My mum‟s expecting me”. “Yeah. “Your mummy‟s expecting you?! Mummy‟s boy!” laughed Gary and the others joined in. then wandered home. He lay back and thought about not bothering going into school tomorrow. Jamie muttered. yelled the boy. His parents must have still been at work. and staring at Jamie who felt about two feet tall. another muttered.shouted over to him. cutting his knees. and asked if he wanted to do something at the weekend. He had liked Tina for ages but had always been too scared to ask her out. and he picked it up to read the text. “What a rubbish day”. “Where are you off to?” “Just home”. Jamie muttered and carrying on towards home. “No thanks”. His heart leapt with excitement. He lay back on his bed and began texting her back. He turned on his Playstation and began playing to take his mind off it all. They were all stood smoking and laughing. It was Tina! He didn‟t even know how she had his number! She was apologising for laughing at him at lunchtime. “I don‟t want to face them all again tomorrow”. He reluctantly crossed the road and wandered towards the group of boys. Jamie said. had a reputation around school and he had heard stories of him beating a lot of people up. Jamie got into his house and found it was empty. Gary looked around him at his gang of mates and turned and walked away. Gary said. “You don‟t want to be going home when you could be having fun with us!” “I‟m ok thanks. Gary. trying to sound confident. “Oi you. what you looking at?” “Nothing. The others followed. “Come hang out with us”. “Leave him alone Gaz”. Maybe he would go to school tomorrow after all! 68 . not being allowed to play football and then the incident with Gary. “Get over here!” Jamie really didn‟t want to but knew that this boy. he thought. thinking back to being late. and threw a cigarette at Jamie. Ten minutes later his phone began vibrating. forgetting his homework and pencil case.

Activity 2: The Thought Thermometer Think of a thought you have quite often How strongly do you believe this thought? Where would you place this thought on this Thought Thermometer? I strongly believe it 10 9 8 I believe it fairly strongly 7 6 5 4 3 I believe it a little 2 1 I don’t believe it at all 69 .

Home Activity: Deal With It! Think of a negative thought that you have quite often. My negative thought: These are 3 things that help me to cope with my negative thought: These are 3 new ideas of how I can help myself cope with this negative thought in the future: This is how other people could help me: 70 . Consider ideas or people that could help you to cope with this negative thought.

Session 5: How Do You Feel? 71 .

Aims and Objectives Understand how what you think affects how you feel and what you do (the magic circle) Understand how you can identify your feelings and become more self aware 72 . The word search activity „Find the Feeling‟ is a fun way to rei nforce the importance of being able to identify and label different emotions. A key learning point is to educate participants about the connection between feelings and situations or events that produce the most unpleasant or difficult emotions. thoughts and behaviour is highlighted by r eviewing the „Magic Circle‟ from Session 2. „Sticky Situations‟ is an exercise where participants can consider what they would be feeling in different situations and links can be made to changes in thinking and behaviours that follow. depression and stress. „„How Do You Feel?‟ is a home activity exercise designed to reinforce the accurate identification and labelling of emotions. which .Overview Participants are introduced to affective education. Recognising the cues and signs of different emotional states through such exercises is a key part of affective education in Thinksmart. the relationship between feelings. It helps young people identify common unpleasant emotions such as anger.aims to increase awareness and understanding of different feelings. In doing so. A number of different feelings can be introduced through „What Feelings Do I Have?‟ and participants can learn to identify their most common difficult feelings.

Session Plan
Welcome: set agenda for the session. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Return to the ‘Magic Circle’ from session 2. Check whether the participants believe their strongest feelings are linked to thoughts. Encourage participants to become more aware of how they feel. Activity 1: Sticky situations Encourage participants to complete worksheets regarding thinking, feeling and doing. Discuss the outcomes. Activity 2: Find the feeling. Word search.

Home Activity: How Do You Feel? This worksheet enables
participants to identify feelings that are linked to places and situations raising self awareness. Complete using coloured pens/pencils.


Home Activity Feedback
What did you learn or notice from your homework this week?







The Magic Circle
Think back to the Magic Circle from Session 2. It will help you with your learning in this session. What you think

What you


How you feel

How You Feel
Each day you will probably notice yourself having a range of different feelings. For example, you could: Wake up feeling anxious about going to school Feel happy on the school bus talking with friends Feel angry when your friend forgets to bring the CD you wanted to borrow Feel stressed about completing your history homework Feel relaxed when watching TV at the end of the day You will find that: Some of these feelings will last only a short time Others will go on and on Some will be so weak that you may not even notice them Others will be very strong and seem to take over Our first job is to find out more about the types of feelings that you have. This is not always easy because: We are not always very good at identifying our feelings We often wrap all our feelings up together under one label


What feelings are the strongest? Q. Three of the strongest and most common unpleasant feelings are stress. as it may help you to learn how to control them. For example. # Stress When people feel stressed or wound up they notice a number of different symptoms. What thoughts go with these feelings? What Feelings Do I Have? Learning to identify your feelings is important. unhappiness and anger. but not with feelings of sadness.Here are some questions it would be helpful to answer about your feelings: Q. breathing exercises may help with feelings of anxiety or worry. The signs of stress vary from one person to another but may include: feeling sick butterflies in the stomach shortness of breath sweating legs feeling heavy or like jelly going red in the face feeling light-headed fainting aching muscles your mind going blank difficulty in making decisions 76 . What feelings do you have? Q. Where you are most likely to have these feelings? Q.

fighting wanting to harm oneself 77 . They might find themselves: regularly tearful crying for no clear reason or over small things waking up early in the morning having difficulty falling asleep at night feeling constantly tired and lacking in energy comfort eating or losing their appetite having difficulty in concentrating losing interest in things that they used to enjoy going out less often Because these feelings produce some very strong physical reactions. # Anger Anger is a very common feeling and can be expressed in many different ways: shouting. It may be part of a trap where your negative thoughts create these symptoms. so I have given up my weekend job”. “I‟m not sleeping and can‟t concentrate.# Unhappiness Everyone feels unhappy at some time or another. but you may not be unwell. These symptoms then become the reason why they stop or avoid doing things. then check this by talking with your doctor. These physical reactions are very real. yelling and screaming swearing and threatening throwing things breaking things slamming doors hitting. but for some people this feeling takes over their life and they end up feeling very depressed. people sometimes end up thinking that they are ill or unwell. kicking. If you are unsure or want some reassurance.

you may feel worried If you think that you did well with your homework. You will have different feelings in different places: At school you may feel anxious At home you may feel relaxed In town you may feel worried You will notice different feelings when you engage in different activities: When watching TV you may feel calm When talking with people you may feel anxious When doing maths you may feel happy When playing sport you may feel tense You will also notice that you feel different with different people: With With With With your your your your dad you may feel angry best friend you may feel relaxed and confident teacher you may feel happy sister you may feel stressed Feelings and What You Think The way in which we think causes feelings: If you think that you have no friends. you may feel pleased 78 .Feelings and What You Do Feelings don‟t just suddenly happen. then you will remember that how you feel will be affected by what you do and what you think. There is usually something that triggers them. you may feel sad If you think that you are disliked. If you remember the Magic Circle.

What you think What you do How you feel Sad How you feel What you do Stay at home alone What you think I‟ve got no friends Go out with Jim Happy We always have a laugh together Go to school Stressed I just can‟t keep up with my work Go clothes shopping Angry I can never find anything that looks good on me Have a bath Relaxed. . you will probably start to notice a pattern. Try to identify the different feelings that you have. calm It‟s nice lying here Remember! How we feel depends on what we do and what we think. Check whether your strongest79 feelings are linked to particular thoughts or what you do.Putting it all together If you put all this together.

we can begin to think quite negatively (“I‟m no good”) and feel down. When we label ourselves in this way. Things like “I‟m no good at any subject at school. a success or a failure. We are good or bad. Learning to accept yourself can be hard. It can make you feel angry or upset and also cause you to compare yourself negatively with others. but one good way to learn is to work on ways that you put yourself down. Feeling Better About Yourself We all rate ourselves all the time. “What‟s the point. We might not bother to try then. doesn‟t make it helpful though. a winner or a loser. so that you are more real around people.Putting Yourself Down Low self-esteem (or self-opinion) can sometimes lead to all sorts of problems with people around you. I‟m no good at it anyway!” Then we just feel worse. Here are some examples of labels: # I‟m weak # I‟m useless # I‟m pathetic # I‟m a loser # I‟m no good # I‟m bad # I‟m a failure # I don‟t matter # I‟m crazy # I‟m stupid # I‟m disgusting # I‟m worthless Just because we do this all the time 80 . One of the healthiest ways to be around others is to feel equal or the same as others by being your real self – not someone you think they might like. We need to try to stop giving ourselves overall general ratings all the time.” are labels we give ourselves that suggest we are no good. and say to ourselves. You might think other people won‟t like you.

This will show you how often you use them and remind you to stop.Here are some ideas of how to deal with your labels: Try not to use them! Every time you refuse to use them (inside your head or out loud) you are improving. make yourself keep count – put 5p in a jar. If you use them. more helpful ideas I have strengths and weaknesses I have some really good qualities I‟m normal so I get things wrong and I get things right I can do stupid things sometimes but that doesn‟t mean I‟m stupid 81 . Try replacing these „general‟ labels for ones that are more accurate: Unhelpful labels I‟m weak I‟m no good I‟m a failure I‟m stupid Different. Instead of using general labels (“I‟m no good”) just focus on what part of you or what you do (or don‟t do) that you aren‟t happy with. or keep a note in your diary or on a chart.

You spent ages doing it the night before and worked really hard on it. What would you do? 82 . You are really proud of your efforts. What do you think? Q.Activity 1: Sticky Situations Situation 1 Your best friend hasn‟t done her homework and asks to copy yours. How do you feel? Q. You know you‟ll get into trouble if the teacher realises. Q.

How do you feel? Q. He tells you not to tell your parents and says he‟ll lend you the game if you keep quiet. What would you do? 83 . Q.Situation 2 You see your brother stealing a video game from a shop. What do you think? Q.

What do you think? Q. Q. How do you feel? Q. What would you do? 84 .Situation 3 You see some older boys picking on a younger pupil at school. They are being aggressive and the smaller child looks really scared.

What do you think? Q. Q. How do you feel? Q. What would you do? 85 . The other girl hasn‟t done anything to upset your friend.Situation 4 You are sat eating lunch with your friend when she starts saying unkind things about another girl in your class.

They are thinking of running away from home. What would you do? 86 . What do you think? Q. How do you feel? Q. Q.Situation 5 Your friend tells you that they are having a horrible time at home and that their parents are always shouting at them for no reason.

Activity 2: Find the Feeling!  Checklist Afraid Amazed Angry Ashamed Cheerful Confident Confused Content Depressed Excited Frightened Glad Grumpy Happy Hurt Insecure Mad Nervous Relaxed Sad Scared Tense Unhappy Worried 87 .

Think about how you feel when you are in these situations. You can add your own feelings that aren‟t included in the list too Sharing my feelings At school Doing my favourite hobby With my mum or dad With my friends Happy Sad Bored Relaxed Feelings Angry Frightened Frustrated Upset Excited Lonely Guilty Confused 88 . Look at the list of words at the bottom of the page.Home Activity: How Do You Feel? Here is a list of situations that you are sometimes in. Do any of these feelings match up to the situations for you? Write them in the thought bubbles.

Session 6: Controlling Your Feelings 89 .

both cognitive and physiological (body relaxation) to relieve pressure as it builds. continuing a process of affective education for participants. modifying the nature and type of the violent outburst. Home activity focuses around relaxation ideas utilising the „Time To Relax‟ worksheet which can be followed up in Session 7. can be used as a method to help young people who experience aggressive or angry feelings and outbursts.Overview Practical methods of controlling unpleasant feelings are discussed and explored in Session 6. as they progress from calmness to an angry outburst. physiological responses and behavioural reactions. feelings and actions. „Feeling Footsteps‟ for example. This process can be visualised as a „volcano‟ which develops through varying degrees b efore „erupting‟ into aggressive thoughts. „Hey Relax‟ teaches relaxation techniques. Participants are helped to plot their own unique anger build-up by focusing on their thoughts. Aims and Objectives Learn how to identify helpful and unhelpful feelings Learn how to relax Gain an awareness of how to be in control of how you feel 90 . Participants are introduced to methods to relax and manage angry or unhelpful emotions.

g. Plotting the steps shows how the feeling builds up and leads to behaviour that you don‟t want to reach.relax! Try some physical and mental relaxation exercises using handout as an example Activity 2: Feeling Footsteps Work through handout to demonstrate how an initial thought can soon escalate. What do the participants do to relax? Activity 1: Hey…. Use the blank „Feeling Footsteps‟ handout and encourage participants to include thoughts. feeling anxious when you go out. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. e. Think about what helps you to relax 91 . Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Introduce topic ‘Controlling Your Feelings”’ Discuss times where how you feel relates to what you do. Home Activity: What helps you to relax.Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. Use flipchart paper and coloured pens to illustrate Learning How To Relax: Brainstorm what you could do to relax. Encourage participants to complete the „Time to Relax‟ handout. feelings and behaviours at each step.

2. 6. 92 .Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 5. 4. 3.

But sometimes your feelings take over and stop or limit what you really want to do. Learning how to control your feelings will help to break down these barriers. You may want to be with friends. and we try to avoid those that make us feel unpleasant. We have discovered that we can learn to control our feelings in different ways. After all. but because you feel so worried you feel unable to see them. This seems to make sense. For example. but because you feel so anxious you feel unable to go. At these times. none of us want to feel unpleasant for most of the day. you may notice that you: feel anxious when you go out feel calm and safe at home feel worried when you are with others feel relaxed and happy on your own We try to do things or go to places that give us pleasant feelings. the way you feel is stopping or preventing you from doing those things that you really want to do. You may want to call up a friend.Controlling Your Feelings The feeling finder has helped us to discover that the places we go to or the things we may sometimes produce strong feelings. but because you feel so unhappy you feel unable to do this. You may want to go out. 93 .

Others will teach you to imagine relaxing pictures in your mind. It is important to remember the following points: There is no one way of relaxing People find different methods useful at different times It is important to find what works for you Relaxing Activities There will probably be some things that you enjoy doing and which make you feel good. At these times our feelings become too strong and no matter what we do we just can‟t seem to regain control.Learn To Relax There are different ways in which you can learn to relax. but often we leave it too late to do something about them. Examples of these might include: reading a book watching TV playing football listening to music taking the dog for a walk playing the piano How do you relax (make a list of ideas from the group on the whilteboard) Prevention Sometimes we are aware of our feelings. and these calming images will help you to feel more pleasant. Some methods will take you through a series of physical exercises to tense and then relax each of the large muscle groups in your body. We need to learn to identify these times so that we can try to control our feelings before they get too strong. 94 .

These exercises are easy enough for you to be able to do yourself at home! The more you practice. take a breath and hold it. Arms and hands Clench your fists and push your arms straight out in front of you. Stomach Push out your tummy muscles. Concentrate on your muscles and especially the ones that seem the most tense. the better and faster you will become at relaxing. 95 .Activity 1: Hey… Relax! Here a few short exercises you can try to help you relax if you feel tense or stressed. Legs and feet Push your toes downwards. gently raise your legs and stretch them out in front of you.

a babbling brook. the sun on your face. What kind of images can you conjure up to feel more calm and relaxed> 96 . Face Screw up your face. Sometimes people think about images that make them feel soothed – for example the waves on a beach.Shoulders Scrunch up your shoulders Neck Push your head back against the chair or bed. squeeze your eyes tight and push your lips together.

upset or experience another feeling You should plot your thoughts. angry face. feels calm 97 . red face. mind blank Step 4: Clench fists. threaten Step 3: Seems like a dream Step 2: Watching myself from above “Stop it” and “I‟m going to hit you” Feels hot and starts to sweat Step 1: “You‟re trying to wind me up” Normal voice and volume. re Swear.Activity 2: Feeling Footsteps The Feeling Footsteps diagram helps you to plot out the steps that you take up to a certain point It could plot a time when you are angry. feelings and behaviours Plotting each step will help you to realise how this feeling builds up and can lead to a behaviour that you don‟t want to reach You will then be able to work to help stop this build up of feelings and to remain calmer and more in control There may only be a couple of steps or there may be many Here is an example of the feeling footsteps for you: Step 5: Step 6: Hit them Swear. grit.

upset or another feeling Try to include your thoughts.Feeling Footsteps Here is a blank diagram of the Feeling Footsteps for you to fill in It can be from an experience of feeling angry. feelings and behaviours at each step 98 .

Home activity: Time To Relax… Think about what helps you to relax when you are feeling angry. tense or stressed. Then jot down some ideas of things you are going to try in the future to help you to relax. Note down these ideas in the thought bubbles. Things that help me relax: Things that I will try in the future to help me relax: 99 .

Session 7: How Do We Do What We Do?


The way in which thoughts and feelings affect behaviour is introduced in this session. „Why We Do What We Do‟ is describ ed in a simple and memorable A-B-C process: Activating Event  Beliefs  Consequences This key theory is introduced at this stage to explain behavioural responses and raise awareness of consequential outcomes. The A-B-C principle is explained through a series of simple worksheets, which encourage participants to reflect upon situations in which their response to a situation was influenced by their beliefs. In this way participants learn about their own behavioural responses to situations or events, and how these unique view or belief about an event triggers consequential changes in thinking, feelings and behaviours. Rescheduling activities, breaking down challenges into small steps, graded exposure and response prevention, are identified as ways in which the young person can understand and then control what they do (or don‟t do) more often. Home activity is an exercise called „Your Actions‟ which focuses on the changes that occur in a person‟s behaviour when their emotional state is unpleasant or negative. This is an exercise which teaches activity monitoring, and can be followed up in Session 8 when behavioural experiments and graded exposure are introduced into the programme.

Aims and Objectives
Learn how to identify our actions and behaviours Learn how what we do affects how we feel


Session Plan
Welcome: set agenda for the session. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Introduce topic: ‘Why Do We Do What We Do’ – it’s as easy as ABC!” Explain the ABC theory and the link between situations and a person‟s behavioural reaction. Activity 1: Personal ABC examples. Discuss the example to highlight how this works. Highlight a different belief to show how the outcome changes. Encourage group to consider different scenarios, such as: Being bullied Being pressured into doing something you don‟t want to Falling out with your friend Activity 2: What Did I Do? Participants should be encouraged to brainstorm as many of their own real experiences as possible in this activity.

Home Activity: Your Actions. Encourage participants to complete
„Your Actions‟ handout. What do I do when I am happy? What do I do when I am scared? What do I do when I am upset? Useful to ask participants what they would usually do but to also consider a different more positive outcome (Ref: Session 8)


103 .Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 5. 4. 3. 2. 6.

you might avoid situations where you don‟t know many people. you feel more and more down. you might stop trying. The thought: “I bet no-one will turn up to my party. both good and bad. Often when you do less.Why Do We Do What We Do? What we think. Trying anything different or new takes a lot of effort. they often have an effect on what you do next. To make changes that will work. In Session 8. When the unpleasant feelings last for a long time. we look at how to change your behaviour.” might make you feel anxious. and sometimes unpleasant feelings come back. If you feel anxious when meeting new friends.” might make you feel happy. so we know what to change and how. as what you try doesn‟t always work out the way you want. If you feel worried about going to school. but later on you might feel worse. has an effect on our feelings. you might withdraw and stay where you feel safe. 104 . withdrawing and stopping might make you feel a bit better at the time. we first need to understand why we do what we do. Avoiding. We now know that: The thought: “I‟m really looking forward to that party. If you feel upset when people criticise your efforts.

Or something you think might happen.Beliefs When the event happens your beliefs or thoughts about the event will lead to you feeling or behaving the way you do as a result. C-Consequences Your thoughts. you would feel upset and angry and then not speak to your friend. B. So if you think you won‟t be invited to the party. AA.Activating Activating Event Event Something that really happens to you.The ABC of Why We Do What We Do To help you understand how the things you do (or don‟t do) are linked to the way you think and feel about situations or events. we use a simple A B C. feelings and behaviours that come after the event. for example you fail a test. 105 . like not being invited to a party.

Activating Event B. here are 2 examples of events. upset and sad Behaviours: You decide not to bother revising for other exams  “I should not have failed”  “I‟ll never pass anything” Internal (Imaginary) You think you will not be invited to a friends‟ party and you worry about being left out  I‟m not popular because if I was I would be invited Feelings: You feel worried.Beliefs C-Consequences External (Real) You fail an exam  “I‟m a total idiot” Feelings: You feel angry. upset and lonely Behaviours: You avoid your friends because you think they won‟t like you  If everyone else goes but me I will look stupid  Nobody likes me 106 .ABC Examples To help you understand A B C better. A. one real and one imaginary.

107 .” You feel upset and lonely so you avoid seeing your friends. You imagine that you will not be invited to the party You believe that: “I am unpopular and nobody likes me” You tell yourself: “I am a loser.” You feel sad and upset so you decide not to revise for future exams.The ABC Approach Here is a summary of how the A B C problem approach works: A B C A B C You fail an exam at school You believe that: “I should have done better and have failed to get the mark I wanted “ You tell yourself: “I am a failure.

Activity 1: Your Own ABC Examples Learning to write down and organise the separate parts of a problem will help you to understand and control what you do as a result. A. examples of two events that have had an effect on you recently.Beliefs _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ C-Consequences Feelings__________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ Behaviours________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ Feelings__________ __________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ Behaviours________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ _______________ External (Real) ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ Internal (Imaginary) ________________ ________________ __ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ ________________ _____ _________________ _______ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ ________ 108 . Write below or on a piece of paper. Think about one external event (something real that has happened to you). and one internal event (something you imagined might happen to you).Activating Event B.

Activity 2: What Did I Do? Pick one or more of the scenarios that you have experienced. and then how that made you feel. Describe what you did. Is your reaction good or bad? What did you do? Do you see a link between reacting well and feeling better? If you reacted badly. Scenario 1 Your friends pressured you into doing something you didn’t want to. did you feel worse? How did you feel after you did that? 109 .

Scenario 2 Your parents kept shouting at you for no apparent reason. Is your reaction good or bad? What did you do? Do you see a link between reacting well and feeling better? How did you feel after you did that? If you reacted badly. did you feel worse? 110 .

Scenario 3 You were teased a lot when you were younger. did you feel worse? Session 7: Why Do We Do What We Do? 111 . Is your reaction good or bad? What did you do? Do you see a link between reacting well and feeling better? How did you feel after you did that? If you reacted badly.

Scenario 4 You fell out with your best friend after a silly argument. did you feel worse? 112 . Is your reaction good or bad? What did you do? Do you see a link between reacting well and feeling better? How did you feel after you did that? If you reacted badly.

Draw or write these actions in the boxes. scared and upset.Home Activity: Your Actions Think about the things you do when you are happy. What do I do when I am happy? What do I do when I am scared? What do I do when I am upset? 113 .

Session 8: Changing Our Behaviours 114 .

. Changing long-term.Overview Thinking and feelings with regard to how they link to behaviour is reexplained and the learning cemented in Session 8. avoiding people or events that cause anxious feelings). and a young person may need support. achievable chunks which can then be translated into activity scheduling for behavioural experimentation. for example. „Stepping Stones‟ is a graded practice activity where a person can think through the phases of gradual change to challenging behaviours. Linking this exercise with positive reinforcement and feedback practice which „It‟s All About Me!‟ encourages will support the repetition and habituation of pleasure-seeking activities. whilst „Face Your Fears‟ is designed to be used in response prevention (where a young person is encouraged to change habitual responses to unpleasant or challenging situations. and graded practice and exposure to create positive evidence of progress is encouraged. All participants should be encouraged to identify and celebrate success. no matter how small. „Small Steps‟ also forms part of a systematic de-sensitisation programme. The need to understand and manage activities (e. positive reinforcement and encouragement whilst attempting to make shifts in behaviour. embedded patterns of behaviour is often very challenging. Participants 115 . It also serves as a cognitive evaluation and restructuring exercise. as problems are re-assessed and re-appraised into realistic. The idea of breaking down challenges with smaller more achievable chunks increases the likelihood of success is explained in „Small Steps‟ and exposure examined in „Face Your Fears‟.g. re-scheduling) as a method of overcoming safety-seeking (avoidant) behaviours is examined. The need for reinforcement and reward for progress and success is therefore highlighted throughout this session.

Aims and Objectives Learn about how you can change your behaviour Learn that you can have some control over how you feel by picking the right behaviour 116 . The „Feeling Thermometer‟ can also be used as a measurement scale. Home activity for this session focuses on reinforcing the affective management ideas introduced in session 6. Activities (behaviours) are linked to feelings via „My Activity Diary‟ and participants learn to recognise. evaluate and label the links between what you do and what you feel.should be encouraged to recognise and celebrate any success a group member achieves. and give positive feedback.

Home Activities: My Activity Diary. Encourage participants to keep a diary of what they do and how they feel each day. Discuss techniques that will help participants change their behaviour by Increasing fun activities. Mapping out how they feel and what they do (so as to understand how they link)‟ Breaking down activities into smaller steps (Jenny‟s Swimming helps illustrate this) and Facing fears Activity 1: Stepping Stones Encourage participants to think about a challenge that they have.Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. 117 . Above all encourage to keep practising and reward themselves when they have done well. then break it down into smaller tasks before looking at the steps and numbering them in order of difficulty Activity 2: It’s All About Me This activity is designed to encourage participants to think positively about themselves and others. Introduce topic: Changing Your Behaviour. It is also useful to refer to previous session‟s homework as an introduction to Session 8. Suggest that if there are times of the day that are difficult to plan their timetable differently. It also creates a sense of positive reinforcement and encourages participants to model appropriate and helpful behaviours in feedback. The „Feeling Thermometer‟ can then be used to rate the strength of the feelings. This activity can help the participant feel better and will give them less time to listen to negative thoughts. Encourage participants to break challenges down into smaller steps. to help chances of success. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity.

4. 3. 5. 2.Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 6. 118 .

Push yourself to do things. and on.. An important way of breaking out of this trap is to become more active and take control. We expect and predict the worse. but over time you will probably feel worse.. We have come to understand that these thoughts may make us feel uncomfortable.. and it becomes harder to tackle any new challenges. Sometimes it is hard to see anything positive.. We may try to make ourselves better by: Avoiding situations that we think will be difficult Withdrawing and staying where we feel safe Stopping doing things that might make us feel unpleasant This may bring some immediate relief. We think that things will be difficult.  You feel more in control You start to regain control of your life and do the things that you want to do 119 .  You feel better Becoming more active means that you have less time to notice any unpleasant feelings or to listen to any negative thoughts. As you do less you may find yourself feeling more and more down.. And so it goes on. Anything new needs an even greater effort... and on. As you become busier you will notice a number of benefits.Changing Your Behaviour We have discovered that sometimes we have negative and unhelpful thoughts. You will start to feel better. Strong unpleasant feelings flood back as you feel cross and disappointed with yourself.

Activity sharpens up your thinking. having someone round for tea Outdoor activities – going for a walk. Quite simply. the more you feel like doing. These can be any activities at all. Although it sounds silly.  You want to do more The hardest thing is to get started. Make a list of the things you enjoy/want to do and those activities that you used to enjoy and have now stopped. watching a video. They could be: Social activities – talking to a friend. the more you do. You feel less tired Doing nothing is very tiring! You will feel very lethargic and exhausted. A useful way to do this is to increase your enjoyable activities. swimming. Increase Fun Activities The first and hardest job is to get going again. the more active you become. the less tired you feel. Set yourself targets to increase the number of enjoyable activities that you do each day or week. and remember that they don‟t have to cost money. Once you become active you will want to do more. shopping Indoor activities – listening to music. drawing. playing video games 120 .  Your thinking becomes clearer Doing nothing makes you feel sluggish both mentally and physically. reading a book.

Use the Feeling Thermometer to rate how strong your feelings are. 121 . and each step will move you closer to your target The following case study shows how Jenny used this technique. At the end of the week. look at the diary and see if there are any particularly good/bad times and whether any activity made you feel better/worse. A useful way of doing this is to keep a diary: Write down what you are doing and how you feel each hour. try to do more of those activities that make you feel good and less of those that make you feel bad. It may be useful to tune into these and find out whether there are any patterns or particular difficult times. Small Steps Sometimes starting an activity might seem too large a step to tackle all in one go: At these times it might be useful to break down the task into smaller steps Each smaller step feels more manageable This increases the chances of success. If you find a link between certain activities and strong feelings. Choose a day.From your list choose the activity that you would most like to do. Where possible. Map How You Feel and What You Do There will probably be certain times of the day/week when you are more likely to notice strong pleasant or unpleasant feelings. then try planning your time differently. set a time and do it! Gradually build more and more enjoyable activities into your life.

Go on her own late one evening for a 30-minute swim. 3. Go on her own late one evening for a short 10-minute swim. Jenny decided to break this task down into the following smaller steps which she felt she could handle. but over the past six months she had become down-hearted and unhappy and had not been swimming at all. Go to the swimming baths and find out about opening times and costs.Jenny’s Swimming Jenny liked swimming. She listed all of the activities that she wanted to start again. 1. 4. Although she wanted to do it. Face Your Fears Breaking tasks down into smaller steps is helpful. the thought of going swimming with Susie seemed an enormous challenge. Go swimming with Susan one morning for 30 minutes. Go swimming on her own one morning (when it was busier) for 30 minutes. Anxious feelings often stop us doing the things we would really like to do. and chose swimming with her friend Susie as her number one choice. However. 2. but you may still put off doing them because you feel too anxious. by not 122 . Breaking the task down into smaller steps made it easier for Jenny to be successful. 5.

You might feel scared about going out with your friends. 3. 5. Use small steps to break down your challenge into smaller tasks. Test it out. but staying at home might make you feel sad. At these times it can be useful to face your fears and learn to overcome them. Praise yourself for being successful. 123 . You can do this by going through the following steps: 1. 4. 2. but staying in on your own might make you feel angry. one task at a time. You might feel very frightened about going to school.doing them we then have to cope with other unpleasant feelings such as sadness and anger. Think about coping self-talk and practice using it. Relax and imagine yourself successfully coping with your first task.

124 . You can now begin with the easiest step. Look at all the steps and number them in order of difficulty. and so on until all of the steps are completed! You will realise that breaking down challenges into smaller steps makes them easier to achieve. Once you have achieved it you can move onto the next.Activity 1: Stepping Stones What is your task or challenge? ________________________________________________________ Break this down into smaller steps that will be easier to manage.

Activity 2: It’s All About Me!
Write your name in the star. Pass the piece of paper round the group. Each person will write one positive comment about the named person – it can be about anything to do with them!

When the piece of paper comes back to you, read the comments that have been written. How did you feel when you read the positive things that people had to say about you? Hopefully they will make you feel good about yourself, and you will remember that positive activities will result in you having positive feelings, and also that it‟s always nice to compliment someone!


Home Activity 1: My Activity Diary
Keep a diary for 3 days of things you have done and how you have felt. You can use the Feeling Thermometer to rate how strong these feelings are. Can you see any patterns between what you do and how you feel?

Day 1
Time Activity Feeling How strong are my feelings?
7.00 am

8.00 am

9.00 am

10.00 am

11.00 am

12.00 pm

1.00 pm

2.00 pm


3.00 pm

4.00 pm

5.00 pm

6.00 pm

7.00 pm

8.00 pm

9.00 pm

10.00 pm

11.00 pm


00 pm 128 .00 am 9.00 pm 2.00 am 8.My Activity Diary Day 2 Time Activity Feeling How strong are my feelings? 7.00 pm 1.00 am 10.00 pm 3.00 am 11.00 am 12.

00 pm 11.00 pm 9.00 pm 10.00 pm 6.00 pm 5.00 pm 7.4.00 pm 8.00 pm 129 .

00 pm 130 .00 am 12.00 am 10.00 pm 3.00 pm 1.My Activity Diary Day 3 Time Activity Feeling How strong are my feelings? 7.00 am 8.00 pm 2.00 am 11.00 am 9.

00 pm 6.00 pm 8.4.00 pm 11.00 pm 5.00 pm 131 .00 pm 7.00 pm 9.00 pm 10.

Home Activity 2: The Feeling Thermometer How strong are your feelings? How would you rate your feelings on this Feeling Thermometer? Very strong 10 9 8 7 Fairly strongly 6 5 4 Quite weak 3 2 1 Very weak 132 .

Session 9: Learning To Solve Problems 133 .

a participant is asked to generate as many different possible solutions to the problem as possible. „Talking to yourself‟ continues this self reflection by encouraging participants to talk about their problems with others with similar experiences to themselves. Ways of developing more effective problem-solving skills are explained and a self – instructional „traffic light‟ system of Stop – Think – Go is suggested to improve skills. Once the solution has been identified. Alternative and consequential thinking is explained through identifying different solutions. evaluate and identify solutions Learn and practice consequential thinking 134 . based on the handout provided is used as a home activity In this exercise. Activities include an exercise to practice the „Stop – Think – Go‟ traffic light system which engages the young person in methods of alternative and consequential thinking. feelings taking over and preventing us from thinking problems through and being unable to see alternative solutions. such as acting without thinking. Problem solving. Aims and Objectives Learn how to cope and manage problems more effectively Learn to assess. consequential thinking can be developed by examining each solution and looking at the possible outcome before taking action. This builds a key skill of identifying and evaluating possible solutions to problems. thinking through the consequence and talking yourself through it.Overview Common reasons for problems are identified.

encourage participants to write down a particular problem and then think about all the possible solutions they can think of.Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. Learn to stop and think introduces the Stop. This activity gives participants the opportunity to practice planning new solutions to old problems. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. thinking through the consequences and talking your self through solutions should be discussed. Home Activity Problem Solving Using the handout. Spend some time discussing different reasons why problems happen. Activity 1: Think stop and go. 135 . Encourage students to choose a problem they feel they encounter regularly in their daily lives Activity 2: Talking to yourself. The focus should be on finding someone with the same problems so as to find out how they try and cope. Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Introduce the topic: Learning to solve problems. Ways of identifying different solutions. This is activity continues the self reflection and planning from activity 1. Participants should be encouraged to think about who they could talk to about this problem. plan and go traffic light system.

5.Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 2. 136 . 6. 4. 3.

Nick rushed out and carried all the bags from the back seat of the car into the ho use. Some of these reasons are quite common: Acting Without Thinking Decisions and choices are sometimes made too quickly. Sometimes we make the right choice. Wanting to be helpful. For example: dealing with being unfairly told off by a teacher trying to stay in your seat at school coping with teasing by an annoying brother or sister negotiating with your parents about staying out late When we encounter a problem we have to think about the different ways in which we could deal with it and then make a decision about what we will do or say. He didn‟t check with his 137 . There will always be times when this happens. but some people seem to make more wrong choices or find it harder to solve problems than others. Nick’s problem Nick heard his dad say that he had left the shopping in the car. You may rush into something without really thinking through what will happen. Why Do Problems Happen? There are many reasons why we are unable to solve our problems successfully. When this happens it is useful to think about how you are dealing with your problems and whether you could try to solve them in different ways. while at other times we seem to get it wrong.Learning to Solve Problems Each day brings a new set of problems and challenges.

She didn‟t ask. and she immediately picked up her pen and started. Mike’s problem Mike became very angry when he was tackled during a game of football. Mike knew that if he kicked someone he would be sent off. Sabrina’s problem Sabrina heard her teacher‟s instructions to copy her work into her book. she got her homework wrong and she had to stay behind after school and do it again. The referee sent Mike off the pitch. Jenny’s problem Jenny didn‟t understand her schoolwork. Unfortunately. and he kicked the other player. which told her to use a pencil and to start her work on a new page. At the time Mike and Jenny were not able to think about the consequences of their behaviour. Nick and Sabrina were both trying to be helpful.parents. but was really worried about asking her teacher for help. Jenny knew that if she got her homework wrong she would have to do it again. Strong feelings took over and prevented them from thinking these situations through. Feelings Take Over Strong feelings like anger or anxiety sometimes take over and prevent us from thinking problems through and making the right choices about what we do or say. but in their rush they created more problems for themselves. she didn‟t hear the next instruction. 138 . but if he had he would have found out that their shopping was in the car boot. The bags he brought in were for a party his dad was organising at work.

This may help you to calm down and slow down enough to let you plan and think about what you want to do. Try using the „or‟ method to find as many possible solutions as you can. Learn To Stop and Think It is useful to learn a way of dealing with problems which ensures that you don‟t rush in with the first thing that comes into your head. Think and Go traffic light system: Red Amber Green Stop and consider your problem Think about what you do or say Go with your plan The first step is often the hardest. the easier it will become. When this happens. and go with your plan. it is useful to stop and think about all of the different ways in which you can deal with this problem. As the light comes on. stop. We become very fixed in our ideas and can‟t see any other solutions. and sometimes you may find it hard to stop yourself from rushing in. take a few deep breaths. The more you practice. Identify Different Solutions Sometimes we meet the same problem or challenge every day but often end up making the wrong decision over and over again. Another way of doing this is to take a sheet of paper and write down 139 . Practise imagining a picture of some traffic lights and as you see the red light think to yourself. A helpful approach is the Stop.Can’t see any other solution? The third reason why we can‟t solve problems is because we just can‟t think of another way of doing things.

all of the possible solutions you can think of in two minutes. If you find it hard to think of any different ways of dealing with your problems then it may be useful to talk this over with someone else. Think Through The Consequences 140 . Billy’s Problem Billy felt that his friends often ignored him. and see if they can suggest some different ideas. Ask how they would deal with your problem. Billy decided that he needed to listen more carefully to the things that really interested his friends. rather than trying to join in with the group discussions. I could… talk louder shout stand in front of their faces so that they would have to listen to me keep repeating myself talk with one person rather than all the group find things to talk about that really interested them find a new group of friends For Billy. He also decided that he would try to talk more with people on their own. and changing his group of friends was not really possible. so don‟t worry if some of them seem unrealistic or silly. the idea of shouting all the time seemed silly. so he came up with a list of solutions to find ways in which he could get his friends to listen to him. The idea is to get as many ideas as you can. Some of the other ideas he came up with were more useful.

What are the positive consequences of each solution? 4. she hit one of the girls and ended up in trouble in front of the head teacher. This involves five steps: 1. What are the negative consequences of each solution? 5. she called the girls names back. What is my problem? 2. the next step is to work out which is the best one. Talk Yourself Through it Another useful way of learning to solve problems is to ask someone who is successful to talk to you through what they do: Ask them to tell you what they do Watch them doing it 141 . On the first day. On the third day. How could I deal with this problem? 3. Mandy decided to sit down and work out how she would cope with this problem.Once you have made a list of possible solutions. Think about the positive and negative consequences of each idea and then choose the one that you think. will work best. but this seemed to make the name-calling worse. on balance. what is the best solution? Mandy’s Problem Three girls at school have started to tease Mandy and call her names at break time. On balance. Mandy became very angry and chased after the girls. On the second day.

142 . when Michael arrived at school he talked aloud about what he was going to do. Rob went to school with Michael the next day and as they arrived Rob talked aloud about what he was going to do as Michael watched. Michael’s Problem Michael felt very worried when he met his friends because he often did not know what to talk about. The next day he talked himself through it again. His friend Rob was very popular and always seemed to know what to say. say hello and talk about something that had been on television last night.Then talk yourself through the problem This can be very helpful for those problems that seem to occur fairly often. so Michael asked for his help. say hello and ask if they saw the game last night”. and after a few times Michael found that he was now doing this without thinking. Rob said that when he arrived at school each morning he would go up to his group of friends. go up to Max and Ed. The next day. Michael did this and was pleased to find that he was soon chatting with his friends. such as a sports match or the latest episode of their favourite TV soap. “I‟m going to walk across the playground.

Go! The traffic lights below will help you to deal with a problem you may have. which should hopefully help to deal with it! STOP What is your problem? THINK What is your solution? GO! When will you try it out? 143 .Activity 1: Stop. Think. Follow the 3 steps – stop. think and go! Planning this out means that next time the problem occurs you should be ready to try out your new solution.

You can then make a plan to hopefully help you deal with this problem What is my problem? Who could I talk it through with who has had the same problem? How do they deal with this problem? Which part of their plan can I use and when can I test them out? How did it go? 144 . and then to try out the ideas yourself.Activity 2:Talking To Yourself Sometimes you have a problem that happens again and again. It can help to talk to or watch how someone else copes.

Then think of all the possible solutions you can to solve this problem or to make it easier.Home Activity: Problem Solving Write down a particular problem that you may have – it can be anything. My problem is… 145 .

Session 10: Final Evaluation 146 .

Finally goals and objectives for the future development might also be integrated into this final session. friends and facilitators to share ideas about available resources. To reinforce. A chance for parents. This final session should therfore look at ways that participants can maintain skills in order to prevent or manage future problems and challenges. It supports the theory that self-evaluation by participants is the most effective method when attempting to build self esteem. facilitators need to keep in mind strategies. an event or celebration might also be discussed and planned by the group as a closing session to the programme. praise and celebrate. review or follow-up sessions and perhaps the idea of setting up further Thinksmart programme or support groups is often a valuable exercise post-programme.Overview This final session acts as a positive reinforcement of progress and success. Participants therefore complete and review the two evaluation tools and feedback areas of change. Aims and Objectives To evaluate the Thinksmart programme To identify what the participants have learned and celebrate individual and family achievements To explore strategies for the maintenance of change in the future To think about goals and plans for the future 147 . the presentation of the „My House‟ project if set. family. The programme focuses on skills transfer. tools and methods for promoting self-instructional and self-help skills. teachers. For example. progress and development. allowing participants to evaluate and feedback their own progress and change. and from the outset.

Encourage sharing of good ideas and success Self-evaluation activities. or any one of the self-assessment tools: Personal checklist Rosenberg self-esteem scale Open Discussion regarding change would also be useful. You may want to have food. Feedback: from the previous week/homework activity. teachers and families. A comparison can then be made using all. In this way participants are encouraged to offer their feedback about the project. fun and even present certificates! 148 . drink.Session Plan Welcome: set agenda for the session. presentation or celebration for completing the programme to end the final session. Participants are encouraged to re-rate and assess themselves. Thinksmart evaluation forms should also be completed in this session Closing activity Offer a party. Possible discussion points include: What experiences have the participants learned from that have contributed to any positive change? How can they maintain progress and change? What obstacles have been overcome? What are the biggest changes that have been made or noticed? What are the participants pleased about? How do you celebrate achievements? „My House’ could be used as a final creative activity that the participants present back to their parents and friends.

5. 149 .Home Activity Feedback What did you learn or notice from your homework this week? 1. 6. 3. 2. 4.

They are completed at the start and end of the programme so that individuals can evaluate any change that has taken place. example: Do you feel more confident? yourself and your ability to solve problems? Do you feel better about Self-evaluation Tools Two individual tools are provided within the programme to support this process of self evaluation. Self-evaluation is therefore a key part of the Thinksmart programme. however be considered during and at the end of the programme. Transfer and maintenance of skills is a prime objective of the Thinksmart programme.Self Evaluation The nature and structure of this final evaluation is by definition. a product of the process that has developed over the previous 9 weeks of the programme. evaluate and deal effectively with their own problems and challenges. This session is therefore not just For about evaluating the programme and how useful/enjoyable it was – it is also about you evaluating the changes you have experienced. raised aspirations and the maintenance of healthy selfesteem can only be achieved when a young person has gained enough self-awareness to identify. Some key factors must. However. progress towards increased selfmotivation. They are: Personal Checklist Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale 150 .

feelings and thoughts according to realistic assessments of my progress I am usually able to listen well to what others have to say I enjoy new challenges I believe that I let other people see who I really am through my words and actions I believe that my options. thoughts and actions have value I enjoy talking to new people I consider myself to be a creative person I am confident enough in my own abilities to be able to try different ways of solving problems I cope well with unexpected events I am generally optimistic I tend not to dwell on past events or worry about the future I regularly set myself realistic yet challenging goals I believe that I am capable of fulfilling my potential 151 .Personal Checklist Shade in the boxes to show how much each of these statements is true for you. I have a strong sense of who I am I am very aware of how I behave in different ways according to the situation I am in I can usually see things from other people‟s perspectives I have a good understanding of how different relationships work I am usually realistic about how I think others view me I am able to be independent and self-reliant I am able to be in a relationship without feeling swamped or overwhelmed by the other person I understand my emotions and why I feel the way I do in different situations I believe that I am a likeable and worthwhile person I am respectful and tolerant of other people‟s views I feel in control of how I express my emotions I am able to distinguish my feelings from those of others I can accept constructive criticism from others I am able to acknowledge my own strengths I recognise areas that I find difficult and may want to work on I like and respect myself I am self-motivated. I tend not to worry too much what others might think of me I am assertive in the way that I deal with unjustified criticism from others I take good care of myself I believe that I have mastery over my life I can tolerate my own mistakes I know how to relax and enjoy myself I feel OK about my physical appearance I am able to adjust my actions.

I am satisfied with myself 3 0 3 3 0 0 3 0 0 Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 0 3 0 0 3 3 0 3 3 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 At times.Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (SES) Please read the following statements and shade the box that best describes how much you agree or disagree with each one Strongly Agree On the whole. I think I am no good at all I feel that I have a number of good qualities I am able to do things as well as most other people I feel I do not have much to be proud of I feel useless at times I feel that I should be valued and I am equal to others I wish I could have more respect for myself I often think I am a failure I take a positive attitude toward myself Add up the total number of points in the shaded boxes to get your final score: 152 .

Chimney of Fears (what do I worry about?) Window of Truth (my beliefs) 1. 3. Behaviour Birds (how do I act?) Sensation Smoke (how do I feel?) 1. 2.3 . 3. 2. 1. (what rules do I believe?) Roof of Rules 1. 2. Window of Truth Window of Truth (my beliefs) (my beliefs) 3. 2. Doorbell (my trigger) Yellow Brick Road (my early experiences) 153 .

Thinksmart Evaluation Form Name:_______________ Date:______ For each of the following questions please put a tick in the boxes below: Have you had fun in the group? Not at all A little bit A lot Loads Has being in the group helped you get on better with others? Not at all A little bit A lot Very much Has being in the group helped you feel more confident? Not at all A little bit A lot Very much Has being in the group given you new experiences? Not at all A little bit A lot Loads Do you think that the group had helped you feel better about yourself? Not at all A little bit A lot Very much Has being in the group helped you with your worries? Not at all A little bit A lot Very much What would you tell other people about the Thinksmart group? Load of rubbish They were ok Very good Brilliant Any other comments about the programme or group? 154 .

Individual Recording Sheet Participant Name: Date/Session Number Comments Group Facilitator(s): Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments Date/Session Number Comments 155 .