Booster Session Preparing for the Future

At the conclusion of treatment Jason was asymptomatic, and his academic performance had begun to improve. He was engaged in extracurricular activities after school (theater) and, for the first time, had begun to create a vision for his future. Jason's eye contact was much improved and he was better able to describe emotions.

An explicit goal in CBT is to prepare patients for challenges they may encounter in the future. We began by discussing events in Jason's past, then considered potentially upsetting events in his future and "worst case scenarios" (e.g., failing his calculus class). As Jason noted, "Now if these things happened, I know I could solve them." We helped Jason to develop a list of "challenges ahead." These included final exams, end of the school year, job search, problems at work, and maintaining motivation for summer school. We reviewed the skills he had learned and identified which "tools" would be most helpful.

Three months later Jason reported that he continued to do well. He noted that he was not depressed, that he been working part time, and that he regularly went to the movies with a group of friends. He reported that, with the exception of one class, he was doing well academically. He now readily acknowledged that the class "was a problem" and that he "needed to fix it now." Jason had learned over the course of therapy to approach life in a new manner. He was able to reflect on problems, to generate solutions, and to tolerate negative emotions.

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