If an individual expresses that they:

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feel overwhelmed or stuck following the disaster

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experience difficulties planning ahead or not knowing where to start

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are having difficulties with engaging in their day-to-day activities at home, school or work

It is important to note that goal-setting may not be helpful or appropriate for individuals who are in an acute state of distress or dysregulation, as these individuals will not likely be able to effectively engage with the activity. In these circumstances, stress reduction or relaxation techniques such as slow breathing and grounding exercises may be more beneficial.

Quick tips

Goal-setting is a key skill often used in CBT. It is an intervention that has been described as well suited to general practice settings and can be undertaken in 15 – 30 minute consultations.

Goal-setting in CBT follows the SMART principles. The SMART principle for goal-setting involves breaking down a person’s goal into specific, manageable and realistic steps. Using the SMART principles, goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

When undertaking goal-setting with clients, practitioners are encouraged to cultivate a sense of collaboration and hope, and be guided by the individual’s responses and ideas.

Do you know how to

Assess whether an individual may benefit from goal-setting strategies?

Provide psychoeducation on problems that arise after disaster/trauma, and how goal-setting may help?

Instruct individuals how to use the goal-setting worksheet attached at the bottom of this page?

Collaboratively implement goal-setting with use of the goal-setting worksheet attached at the bottom of this page?

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