What therapies are available?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
The Cognitive Behavioural model of illness concludes that the
patient's "Interpretation of symptoms plays an important role in
perpetuating the illness".
CBT is designed to help CFS patients regain a sense of control.
The primary goals of CBT are to change any distorted perceptions
that individuals have of the world and of themselves and to change
their behaviour accordingly. For a CFS patient that means learning
to think differently about their fatigue, improving their ability
to deal with stressful situations and managing their condition. CBT
can also help people manage their sleep problems by identifying
unhelpful negative thoughts about their ability to go to sleep or
Patients are given homework, which usually includes keeping a
diary and attempting tasks that they have avoided because of
previous negative worries.
Using both self-observation and specific tasks, patients
gradually shift their fixed ideas that they are helpless against
the fatigue that dominates their lives. They move to the perception
that fatigue is only one negative experience among many positive
"CBT changed my way of thinking and dealing with my
symptoms...(I'm now) happier in myself" January
"The patience, kindness and understanding I have
received from my CBT therapist has been priceless and I
would not have achieved everything I have if she didn't
accompany me and guide me on my journey" January
"The whole process has been very positive and
enlightening. The clinic, the building and the whole experience is
pleasant. My CBT therapist has helped me immensley. I have a good
portion of my life back" February 2017
Occupational Therapy (Graded Activity Therapy) GAT / (Graded
Exercise Therapy) GET
Occupational therapy enables people to achieve health,
well-being and life satisfaction through participation in
occupation (College of Occupational Therapists 2004).
"Occupation" refers to practical and purposeful activities that
allow us to live independently and give us a sense of identity.
This could be anything from essential day-to-day tasks, such as
dressing or cooking, to the things that make us who we are - our
job, interests, hobbies and relationships. Occupational Therapy
provides practical support to enable people to overcome any
barriers that prevent them from doing the activities that matter to
them, and helps to increase people's independence and satisfaction
in all aspects of life.
Occupational therapists are trained to analyse how tasks are
comprised of mental, physical and emotional components and they
help people with CFS to set and attain realistic goals for graded
activity. Within the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Service you will
address issues such as those listed below:
- Restoring the balance between rest and activity.
- Implementing Graded Activity Therapy (GAT) to help you work
towards achieving the things you may need or want to do.
- Lifestyle management - addressing sleep, relaxation and diet
which may affect your CFS.
- Support with 'Return to Work' programmes using the principles
of grading and adaptation - to enable illness management strategies
to be adapted to meet the demands of work situations. We may
be able to liaise with your employers/HR/Occupational Health or
school/college regarding reasonable adjustments and or support with
exams. The team uses guidance from the Equality Act 2010 to assist
with help regarding work, school and college.
- Problem-solving and practise of techniques to attain leisure
and social goals.
What is Graded Exercise Therapy (GET)?
We first establish how much activity you can achieve without
making you feel more fatigued. We may use activity diaries and
pedometer logs to gather this information.
GET involves regulating and gradually increasing physical
activity. This will help manage your fatigue, improve physical
fitness and your ability to carry out day to day tasks. These
strategies aim to measure physical exercise by establishing your
achievable baseline then gradually increasing the amount over a
period of time.
Your GET program is tailored to your specific needs and goals,
which will be discussed during your therapy sessions and set before
commencing any activity or exercise.
Research has shown that a properly supervised and mutually
agreed graded exercise programme helps the majority of patients to
manage their symptoms and everyday activities.
"All aspects (have been helpful)...help, advice,
support, coming to a clinic, relaxation CD, charts to follow.
Having letters written for my employer to understand my condition.
Having happy understanding people to help me with advice and
support" January 2016
"My Occupational Therapist has been extremely
helpful and I have really found the sessions useful. She has
allowed me to feel positive about the situation and has made
me feel confident and knowledgeable which enables me to control my
symptoms and condition" January 2016
"Being helped to realise that it doesn't matter if I
don't get everything done all of the time" February 2017
Fatigue Management Group - A one off
introductory group covering the basic fatigue management
strategies; including pain management, relaxation, activity
management, sleep and stress.
"Many topics and concerns were explained...(it has)
given me a good positive start for dealing with this
condition" October 2015
"Recognition...knowing that i'm not alone"
Relaxation group - A practical group designed
to help patients learn the skill of relaxation. Relaxation reduces
muscle tension, pain and fatigue; it can also improve motivation,
mental awareness and sleep.
"Particularly valuable were the relaxation sessions
- they were invaluable in helping me combat
"Great way to implement techniques to manage CFS/ME
by different relaxation strategies...good to meet other people with
the same condition...thoroughly useful sessions and I enjoyed
Supporters workshop - An informative group
designed to promote understanding of CFS among patient's friends
"It was good to meet other carers and learn new ways
/ ideas as to how to deal with the situation more constructively -
things I wouldn't have thought of without the
Vocational/work support group - Designed to
explore issues around CFS and work, including legal aspects and
reasonable adjustments to your workplace. It is designed to help
patients currently in work or those hoping to return to voluntary
or paid employment.
"When the DWP rep visited it gave me a lot of
information I wasn't aware of"
"friendly, informative, respectful,
"It is a really good group, very informative and a
friendly, comfortable atmosphere...knowing you are not on your
TENS Machine - We have four TENS machines
available for short term loan.
Relaxation CD'S - We have Relaxation CD's
Pedometers - We have Pedometers available which
can be a helpful monitoring tool for Graded Exercise Therapy.