A friend of mine makes a resolution every year at about this time. He’s a bit countercultural and so prefers the new school year to the New Year. His newest determined action got me thinking about our resolve as people, in general. Do you remember your most recent resolution? Did you finish the last self-help book you started? Did you ever get around to writing a letter to that kid you met at camp when you were 11? Do you find you often have high aspirations but then your execution misses the mark? I sometimes do, and I meet many people who struggle to follow through on their plans. It doesn’t take long to realize resolve is hardly the strongest quality in most people, especially in ourselves. That is why I think the TeamMate process is so important to our Learn To Live program.
When I was first imagining our Learn To Live programs, I was concerned that people who really need our help might start the program, like it, but then become distracted and not follow through to the end. It occurred to me that face to face therapy has built-in accountability—the therapist can give reminders and encouragement. The fact that appointments with a therapist are scheduled creates a need to stop everything and engage in the therapy and, hopefully, with the homework that is part of good CBT. We needed to find a way for accountability and encouragement to happen without scheduled appointments and a therapist’s nudges.
So the concept of the TeamMate process was born. Imagine that a new member, Kayla, signs up for the Social Anxiety Program. She can now specify which of their friends or family members will be her TeamMate, so she chooses her sister, Lindsey. The TeamMate (Lindsey) is then updated on the progress of the member (Kayla), getting a note each time Kayla completes another lesson. Lindsey is encouraged to contact Kayla and give her a thumbs-up, just like a therapist would in the office. If Kayla gets distracted or starts procrastinating and does not complete the next lesson on schedule, Lindsey gets a note. Lindsey could then call or email Kayla and remind her, encourage her, just as a therapist would. So while the program supplies the proven effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the TeamMates provide the accountability.
Using your TeamMates is one way to ensure that you complete your next resolution. Check it out if you want to learn more about it. How cool would it be to finally tell your friends that having a social anxiety problem was “SO last year!”