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CBT Self Help Course Step 6

Continued from Step 5

Printable PDF:   Step 6 

See also:  The Decider Skills for Self Help online course

The documents linked from the bottom of each page are intended to be an integral part of this course, and should not be omitted - the worksheet documents are included in the downloadable Steps linked above.

Remember that Playground Bully?  Victim 1 believed the bully and became upset.  Victim 2 challenged back and the bully eventually loses his power and gives up.  Victim 3 was quite different.  He didn't react at all.  He merely acknowledged the bully, then turned away and went off to play with his friends.

Defusing from our thoughts involves acknowledging the thought as a thought, not reacting automatically, then choosing to put our focus of attention elsewhere.

Thoughts can be described as 'passing streams of words', or passing images or sensations, rather than the statements of fact that we usually accept them to be.  We can practice mindfulness techniques so that we can learn to observe those words, images or sensations, rather than engage with them, or buy into them.

Start with learning Mindful Breathing, and practice often, several times a day, just for 3-5 minutes at a time.  The more you practice, the more effective it will be.  You will be constantly distracted by intrusive thoughts, sounds, images, sensations - but that's ok. 

Use NOW & mindfulness for busy people

The only aim of mindfulness is to notice when your mind wanders, and repeatedly to bring your attention back to your breathing, or perhaps to an activity you are engaged in.  Practice the mindfulness techniques on this page.

Earlier, we learned about noticing thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and asking ourselves questions in order to help challenge our thoughts. 


STOPP, take a breath, and ask yourself these questions which will help you defuse or distance yourself from your thoughts:

  • What's happening right now?  What thoughts, feelings and sensations do I notice?

  • What am I reacting to? What meaning am I giving this event?  How is this affecting me?

  • What is the result of my believing this thought?

  • What would be the effect of not believing this thought?

  • Is this a thought, a feeling, or a sensation?

  • How can I defuse from this thought?

  • Am I predicting what might happen in the future?

  • Am I evaluating a situation?  How might I describe it instead?

  • Is this a memory from the past?

  • Is this one of those Unhelpful Thinking Habits?

  • Perhaps write the thought down, get it out of your head and onto paper

  • Maybe repeat the thought in a strange or comical voice, or say it very quickly or very slowly - words can lose or change their meanings

  • Can I use a metaphor here?  Some metaphors on this page, but you may prefer to use one of your own

  • How can I act in the service of my values?


APPLE: A Mindful Response To Thoughts


Learn About Mindfulness & Acceptance

Print out this worksheet and complete it at least once daily

Print out these handouts and practice them as much and as often as you can




NOW - video


STOPP - video


Use the Self Help mp3 downloads to strengthen therapy or as a stand-alone technique

See also:  The Decider Skills for Self Help online course


NEXT: Step 7

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