What is the CBT Skills Group Program?

The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) ​Skills Groups are open to all BC residents with a valid Canadian health card number. The course is designed for adult patients (17.5-75 years old) who want to learn practical tools to improve their mental health.

This eight-week psycho-educational program is a transdiagnostic course that integrates basic neuroscience teaching with introductory mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy skills and concepts. Patients learn practical tools to recognize, understand and manage patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. They learn to be conscious of their choices as they respond to life stressors, and explore options for living a fuller, richer life, more aligned with what they value most.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is usually a short-term form of therapy with a focus on helping an individual become more aware of patterns of thinking (cognitions), feeling (emotions) and behaving. These patterns represent the unique biochemical functioning of your brain, and reflect how your brain has adapted and responded to earlier life events. However, exploring those early events is not the focus of CBT; rather, the focus is examining the way in which your response to a situation in the here-and-now can be modified to bring about positive change.

The CBT Skills Training Groups use CBT as a basis to teach you various skills. You will learn about how your emotions work, and how these are connected to your thoughts and your behaviours. Understanding these connections will help you to work more effectively with yourself – with your mind/brain and also your body sensations – especially when you are having problems associated with depression and anxiety. You can continue to use the skills you learn long after the course has been completed – acting as a coach to yourself. 

Does CBT skills work?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been extensively researched in a wide range of psychiatric disorders. In a broad summary of the literature (Butler et al., 2006), CBT alone was found to be an effective treatment for depression, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder along with other disorders.

CBT can also improve outcomes when delivered in conjunction with medication, especially when depression is more severe, and has been shown to reduce relapse and recurrence of depression (Segal et al., 2002). 

Quantitative measurements of symptom severity for participants of the CBT Skills Groups have demonstrated statistically and clinically significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms, with large to very large effect sizes. 

Read the BCMJ article on the success of the CBT Skills Program and find out how it could benefit you and your patients.

What about us?

The CBT Skills Group Society was formed by a small and fiercely passionate team of physicians, specialists, Board of Directors, and staff (Christine Tomori, Executive Director, and  Heather Eadie, Program Coordinator). We operate now thanks to the generous support of Island Health.

This much needed program continues to expand and grow with the needs of communities from across BC. We are working hard to bring more education opportunities to GPs, expand our network of facilitators, and develop and run specialized groups as we hear calls for more in-depth learning or specific interests.

On-going physician training continues to be supported by the Shared Care Committee, Divisions of Family Practice, and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC’s Rural Education Action Plan (REAP) program. The CBT Skills Group program was first developed as part of a Victoria Division of Family Practice and Shared Care Committee initiative.

Thank you to everyone to has helped us make it possible to offer an effective, inexpensive option for providers and participants who are looking to improve their lives through learning. 

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