Cognitive behavioural therapy helps manage stress

Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω

Kai Liang, adventure tourism student finds peace during a meditation exercise at the Tree of Life Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workshop on Feb. 12. - Photo by Courtney Dickson

Kai Liang, adventure tourism student finds peace during a meditation exercise at the Tree of Life Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workshop on Feb. 12. – Photo by Courtney Dickson

Few are strangers to stress and anxiety. Students and those who work with them are no exception. Starting Tuesday, March 2, the Wellness Centre will be offering a workshop dedicated to teaching participants new strategies for managing pressure through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Cylynne Edgelow-Abdullah, therapist, educator and owner of multiple businesses, facilitates a variety of wellness-related courses on campus. The Tree of Life is a workshop in CBT that enables participants to understand themselves and make positive changes.

“Mindful cognitive behavioural therapy is all about personal responsibility,” Edgelow-Abdullah said.

AnxietyBC explains CBT as a method of coping with stress and anxiety that targets how an individual thinks and behaves when dealing with negative thoughts.

Edgelow-Abdullah considers herself a life-coach, not a counsellor.

“I believe that we have everything that we need within us to become all that we are intended to be.”

At the first session, participants receive a curriculum package including an itinerary, a CD with breathing exercises, personal affirmations and soothing sounds, notes and instructions.

Each session focuses on a different aspect of cognitive behavioural therapy, from breathing and meditation, to personal affirmations, but they all have a common theme. Edgelow-Abdullah emphasizes the fruits and roots of each individual’s tree of life. The fruits represent characteristics that an individual values and roots are the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual selves that enable the fruits to grow.

Participants each consciously choose a fruit (Edgelow-Abdullah provides a list) that he or she would like to cultivate. Then, they are asked to choose a fruit from a bag, unconsciously. Edgelow-Abdullah helps participants understand how the two correlate and there is a group discussion about how to cultivate these fruits. These choices are revisited multiple times throughout the five weeks.

“It’s really giving ourselves permission to find out who we are,” she said.

Cylynne Edgelow-Abdulah teaches staff, faculty and students about spiritual and emotional health. - Photo by Courtney Dickson

Cylynne Edgelow-Abdullah teaches staff, faculty and students about spiritual and emotional health. – Photo by Courtney Dickson

Edgelow-Abdullah practices CBT regularly and claims she never has a bad day.

“The attitude I take out of my bed is my choice.”

The Tree of Life will run Tuesday evenings from 4:40 to 5:30 p.m. from March 5 to April 2. The cost is $50 per person and is open to students, faculty and staff. For more information or to sign up, contact Chelsea Corsi, TRU wellness coordinator, at ccorsi@tru.ca.