Ok, so if you recall, I have gifted you a group of crazy people and we are exploring ways to make them better. Today, we will try cognitive behavioural therapy. Yay, rock n roll!
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is essentially school for crazy people. It feels exactly like school - slightly dull, effort intensive, exercise-based, with homework you have probably forgotten to do, and the ever-present danger of being picked on to answer a question you don't understand. There was even a white board, with diagrams, and you had to bring a notebook and pencil.
You entered the room with dread, as if for double maths where you really hadn't begun to grasp quadratic equations and had spent the evening fantasising about Nathan from Brother Beyond and eating Twixes instead of doing homework.
Round the circle Cardigan's gaze would go. Unlike school, it was best not to stare down at your feet and try and look traumatised. Whilst it scares teachers, therapists love it. The best thing is to look sort of neutrally into the middle of the circle, whilst avoiding too much eye contact. The expression you are aiming for is medium pensive to unhappy. Inevitably on your least well prepared session, Cardigan would alight on you.
Cardigan: Jaywalker, what was your homework?
J: I didn't have any.
Cardigan: Are you sure?
J: Oh yes, very sure.
Cardigan: Just let me check in my notebook. Yes, here it is. You were supposed to be writing a list of trigger points for anxiety and suggesting ways to deal with them, then doing some role play. How did that go?
J: It made me too anxious. I had to go shopping instead.
Cardigan: Group, do you have anything to say to Jaywalker?
Teenagenihilist: I really don't see the point.
Fagbreak: Can I go outside for a minute Cardigan I reeeaaally need a break.
Cardigan: You know the rules Fagbreak. You can't just leave Group once the session has started. It disrupts the dynamic.
Fagbreak: But I left my Nicorette on the ward!
Cardigan: I'm really unhappy about you doing this Fagbreak. Can't you wait a little longer?
Fagbreak: This is fucking stupid [shoots me a look of hatred].
J: I don't mind! Fagbreak can go!
Fagbreak: What are you saying, Jaywalker? You don't think my contribution helps? Fuck you man.
Paranoidmummy: I feel Jaywalker is being very aggressive towards me. I don't feel safe here.
IdontknowwhyI'mhere: I don't know why I'm here. I told my GP I had earache.
Earnestandannoying: Jaywalker, I feel like you're not really engaging with the process. I can feel you shying away from the painful emotions. You need to really stop behaving like you're above this whole process so you can really begin to, you know, heal. Also, I think your body language is suggesting you're not really in the group today.
Footballerswife: What did you buy?
Cardigan: I think we should draw a diagram to see if we can explain to Jaywalker how failing to deal with the root causes of anxiety is making the problem worse.
[scribbles strange circular diagram with lots of vectors on the whiteboard making it feel even more like double maths than before]
Can you copy that down Jaywalker? And do you have anything to feed back to the group?
J: Um, yes. Thanks for your feedback, group, it was very helpful. Sorry about the body language and all that. I got a couple of tops, Footballerswife.