Pay Attention – refocusing and retraining your awareness

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Pay Attention – refocusing and retraining your awareness

Summary:
– CBT changes content of thoughts
– thoughts not the issue, but the importance/meaning you attach to the thoughts
– over-focus on particular aspects

– CBT addresses issue of attention
– task concentration exercises
– mindfulness
[STEER attention outward to improve mood/reduce anxiety]

– task concentration improves concentration to reduce anxiety
– without distraction techniques (a trick to allow you to be there w/o reducing anxiety)
– without thought suppression which has been found to be ineffective

1. Concentration Exercise – Listening
A. – get a person to tell you a story for 2 minutes
– sit back, close eyes & concentrate on the story
– summarise the story
– then do:
[task concentration exercise]
What was your attention focused upon?
– self – x%
– task – x%
– environment & other people – x %
3. How did you focus your attention on the task?
4. How did you feel?
5. What did you learn?
– HOw did the situation turn out?
– how did your anxiety change?
– how did your ability to complete the task change?

B. this time, face person, make eye contact
– consciously distract yourself
– focus upon your thoughts & sensations
– then re-direct attention towards the storyteller
– summarise
– do task concentration exercise

C. Do several times & self-focus back to the story after deliberately distracting yourself

IDEA: develop where you focus your attention

2. NOW DO THE ABOVE BUT YOU ARE TELLING THE STORY
– do all the task concentration exercises again

3. GRADED EXPERIENCE
– 5 experiences that are non-threatening
– 10 experiences that are threatening/anxiety-provoking

Source: Branch & Wilson, 2010

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