If you’ve been following me on Twitter lately, you might have seen that I’ve been attending, then quit, then started going to therapy again. There are a lot of reasons why I felt I needed to speak to someone qualified to listen, and to ask the right questions, which I’ll save for another time.
But one of the methods employed by the first therapist, who was using a very surface-level approach to CBT, was the idea of rewards and treats.
I had a bit of a problem with this, as I honestly don’t think I do enough to earn a treat every single day. To me, treats are deserved for good writing news, job offers and finishing manuscripts – not walking out to the park, as (in my broken brain) anyone should be able to do that sort of thing. Apparently, this is one of my problems – not thinking what I do accomplish is good enough (oh boy, is that ever true?). The therapist gave me a printed chart to fill in activities, and to rate them based on how enjoyable vs how much of an achievement they were.
It was super, super dumb. For a start, I don’t nevessarily do one activity per hour. If I write, I can be doing that for four – six hours without a break, and the ejoyability level can swing wildly during that time.
I quit that therapist, for unrelated reasons, and whilst the team sorted my out with another, I decided to start tracking my writing progress with some sort of graph. Which led me to Victoria Schwab’s star charts, which led me to thinking that maybe I could do the same thing: I could list five things of importantce – things that I had a good chance of doing – and reward myself with a sticker.
If nothing else, it would look pretty!