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Introduction to the Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Approach to IBD


IBD has a significant impact on quality of life. Many people report feeling worried and anxious about their disease. Some suffer from depression as a consequence of their IBD. Recent studies show that people with IBD who report high levels of stress or who suffer mental disorders may experience more frequent flares. This program aims to teach you how to manage stress associated with IBD better and how to improve coping with this chronic condition.


During this programme we will conduct a number of this exercise is involving cognitive behavioural stress management techniques.  These aim to increase your awareness of the symptoms of stress as they arise in your body, and the link between the way you think about causes of stress (your cognitive appraisals or self-talk) and your emotional responses to them (your feelings).  Understanding this link can then lead us to be able to challenge and change our thinking (we call this

cognitive restructuring) so that you can consequently modify your emotional responses.


The “behavioural” aspect refers to the focus on building effective coping strategies which we use to respond to stressors. We examine some of our current and habitual responses to stress, some of which may be unhelpful (arguing, withdrawing, smoking, overeating, drinking, working too much), and remembering that many of these can be helpful in the short term but damaging in the long- term, and we seek to replace them with more healthy, efficient and direct strategies, which can serve us over the long term. Techniques discussed in this course can help in our relationships, our work, and our self-management such as managing anger, developing assertiveness skills so that we can more effectively take responsibility for our own well-being. The behavioural aspect also encourages us to engage with our social environment, rather than withdraw – a common outcome in a chronic health condition – so that we can expand our support network and enhance our quality of life.


A key component of behavioural self-management is goal setting, something which we often only do on dimly recalled New Year’s Eves, but which is a key component to developing, working towards, and achieving our goals.


We hope you will enjoy and benefit from the programme. Please make time available to read and listen to the material, and to complete the practice exercises between sessions. Please make use of the chat room to discuss your experiences with the program.



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