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You will be attending two half-day sessions. The course focuses on teaching each participant specific and measurable skills which are known to be effective in the management of stress.
The first half hour of Session1 will provide a brief overview of the conceptual basis of the program. In the next hour, we demonstrate how you can learn to control the effects of stress on your body using biofeedback techniques. Using a portable stress lab, we will demonstrate respiration biofeedback for teaching diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing, if learned correctly, is a powerful tool for combating the effects of stress. Each participant will have an opportunity to try respiration biofeedback using the portable stress lab. This will allow you to observe your breathing on a computer screen and learn the correct mechanics of diaphragmatic breathing.
There will be a fifteen-minute break after respiration biofeedback training.
Since this is a training program, there is a homework component to the course. The homework activities have been developed over many years and facilitate the learning and application of the skills. The next half hour of the session will be spent familiarizing you with the homework materials, which include a relaxation CD, a stress thermometer and the record keeping materials. We will instruct you in how to incorporate diaphragmatic breathing into your daily routine and how to measure your degree of success.
In the final 75 minutes of the session, we will introduce you to cognitive self-control techniques for stress management. These techniques are based on the idea that the way we think significantly impacts on our behaviour, emotions and physiology. If we believe something to be true, we will behave accordingly, even though it may not be true. For example, exaggerating the consequences of an event, or catastrophic thinking, may precipitate a “fight or flight” response. Worrying about an activity may produce avoidant behaviour. In this session, we will teach you how to analyze and change any maladaptive “cognitions” (thoughts) in a systematic and effective way. We will introduce you to the cognitive record which is a training tool designed to assist in this process.
In session two, we will focus on a consolidation of physiological and cognitive techniques. We will review the previous week’s homework and reinforce success and problem solve in areas where participants may have had difficulty. We will check your physiological skills using the portable stress lab. We will further refine your use of the physiological and cognitive skills using specific case examples from your records. We will also provide you with suggestions for further development and maintenance of these skills. We will ask you to complete a brief program evaluation questionnaire.
By the end of the course, you should be sufficiently acquainted with the techniques to continue on your own after the course. With continued practice, most participants should be able to acquire a reasonably competent level of skill. As a result, participants should report an improvement in:
1. Their overall level of stress,
2. Their ability to cope with stress, and
3. Their job and personal performance.
8:30 - 9:00 am - Effective stress management
Introduction (brief review of conceptual framework)
Brief review of self-assessment results
9:00 - 10:00 am - Physiological self-control techniques
Introduction to and instruction in diaphragmatic breathing
(all participants will have an opportunity to test their skill on the portable stress lab equipment)
Instruction in practical application of diaphragmatic breathing and other physiological relaxation techniques to modulate/reduce the impact of stress
10:00 - 10:15 am - Break
10:15 - 10:45 am - Stress management at home and on the job
Instruction re. implementing breathing and other techniques and charting the results over the next week.
Instruction in use of digital stress thermometer
(includes a demonstration of relationship between stress thoughts and changes in skin temperature using a portable physiological stress lab)
Instruction in use of relaxation training CD
Instruction in use of daily stress record
10:45 - 12:00 am - Cognitive self-control techniques
Instruction in relationship between stress events, stress thoughts and stress response in the body
Instruction in use of the stress thought record (cognitive record)
- how to identify automatic thoughts
- how to determine stress response
- how to modify automatic thoughts to reduce impact of stress
Break into groups to practice using the cognitive record
Session 2 (One to two weeks later)
8:00 - 8:30 am - Review homework
Review of data collected during 1st week
(from stress thermometer and stress record)
8:30 - 9:30 am - Physiological self control techniques - part 2
Re - check physiological skills using the portable stress lab
Review practical application of diaphragmatic breathing and other physiological relaxation techniques to modulate/reduce the impact of stress
9:30 - 9:45 am - Break
9:45 - 11:00 am - cognitive self control techniques - part 2
Review of previous week’s homework with the cognitive record
(reinforcing success and problem solving in areas where participants had difficulty)
Break into groups for further practice using the cognitive record
Further refine cognitive skills using specific case examples from the participants’ group work
11:00 - 11:30 am - Maintenance of skills / continued application /
Review importance of continued practice
Instruction in how to maintain and further improve upon skills
Completion of ‘workshop evaluation questionnaire’
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