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Self Help Programme

You're probably here because you're suffering from pain, fatigue and other horrible symptoms and no one has been able to find a clear medical cause for them. You're in the right place because this program can hopefully help you.

This is a self-help program that you can work through by yourself if you are experiencing the symptoms associated with from chronic fatigue (syndrome), or you can use it alongside seeing a clinician. It is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is an active problem solving therapy looking at links between physical symptoms, thoughts, feelings, actions, and your life situation. There is evidence that this therapy can help people with this potentially disabling illness. Research has shown that people who follow a CBT program get some benefit in how they cope, their feelings, and sometimes their physical symptoms. The therapists who use CBT accept that there is a lot that is not known about CFS, particularly the physical side of it. We also understand that the other symptoms of this condition such as pain and frequent viruses can be as disabling as fatigue symptoms.

There are a lot of self-help materials around, and many patients read them and find them interesting, but do get any benefit from them. A common reason for not benefiting is that they do not put the information into practice, either because the instructions seem too difficult to follow, or they do not agree with the advice, or it just seems easier to read about than to apply. I have tried to make the advice here fairly straightforward; I have explained the thinking behind the program in the first two sections, so that if you do not agree with it you do not have to go any further. I would hope that if you do agree with it, do try it, which would mean having a go at the written exercises and trying the behavioural changes. If you think that your problems will be difficult to tackle using a self-help approach, then you should discuss this with the health professional who is advising you. It is likely that a self-help approach like this will be more helpful if you are not too severely affected by the illness. However, no matter how severe the symptoms are, it may be that you could do the self-help program with some support and advice from a clinician. I do wish you well in your attempts to overcome this big challenge to your health. My suggestion on how to tackle this challenge is to do part one and decide if it could help you. Then do parts two and three, and then choose module elements of part four and five.

Contents of this self help program

  • Part One: are you experiencing symptoms of CFS?
  • Part Two: what makes you prone to CFS, what can start it off, and why it just keeps going
  • Part Three: self assessment of factors that may be keeping it going
  • Part Four: tackling those factors
  • Part Five: reviewing how well you are tackling these factors, and measuring progress

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