Psychological Tea Parties in CABCT
What more can we do to help educate our fellow citizens about mental health issues and to promote cognitive-behavioral approach? This is the question that we at the Croatian Association for Behavioral-Cognitive Therapies (CABCT) have asked ourselves more than two years ago. At the time we were regularly participating in Psychology Week – an annual event in Croatia during which psychologists offer free promotional lectures and workshops for the public. After the event ended, a lot of people contacted us wondering whether it would be possible to organize our workshops again. Then, one of CABCT employees, Dragana, a CBT therapist, came up with the idea of Psychological Tea Parties.
Psychological Tea Parties were to be held regularly, on a monthly basis, and to be devoted to current topics in psychology and CBT. We decided to talk about the topics which are of interest to CABCT to also promote the work of the association and its members. As the name suggested, we had in mind a relaxed and casual atmosphere at these psychoeducational activities, which would foster active participation, questions, comments and discussions. All that while enjoying a hot tea or ice tea during warm months.
So far we have managed to organize ten Psychological Tea Parties on diverse topics: common mistakes during dieting, social anxiety, internet addiction, psychotherapy myths, mindfulness, mindful eating, academic difficulties, assertiveness, choosing quality self-help literature and couples issues. They are mostly held by CABCT personnel, psychologists and CBT therapists. The 10th Psychological Tea Party was held by Nada Anic, the founder of CABCT.
Psychological Tea Parties also turned out to be a great opportunity for young psychologists, currently enrolled in our CBT training, to develop useful skills such as delivering psychoeducation on CBT in a manner adapted to clients, managing group discussions and also to expand their knowledge in special areas of interest. Dunja, a psychologist currently in 1st level of CBT training said: „It was useful to practice teaching some subjects in a very simple way. I was surprised by how actively people participated; they asked a lot of important questions. I believe that Tea Parties really help bring psychology and CBT closer to the public.” Josko, currently a CBT supervisee, said that Psychological Tea Parties offer him a possibility to practice public speaking skills and learning more about topics outside the regular CBT training curriculum.
Some Psychological Tea Parties resulted in cooperation with other experts. After delivering a workshop about mindful eating, we were invited to hold a related workshop at the annual congress of nutritionists and the annual congress of social pedagogues in Croatia.
We are looking forward to new Psychological Tea Parties which will be devoted to interesting and relevant topics: psychology of happiness and anger management. We would be happy if our story inspired other associations to engage the public more in their work.
Branka Bagaric, CABCT representative