Alex was a participant in the first cohort of the Rebuilding your Life programme

A new programme has been launched to support people with CFS/ME towards recovery.

The Oxfordshire Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) Service has introduced the Rebuilding your Life (RyL) programme which gives participants the unique opportunity to create their own individual pathways to recovery through learning with and from one another.

The RyL programme was developed by CFS/ME specialists in Dorset comprising people diagnosed with CFS/ME, people recovered from CFS/ME and healthcare professionals working together as co-learners rather than as patients and clinicians.

This semi-structured programme facilitated by an expert trainer in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is run over eight fortnightly sessions in a community setting. NLP in this context models on the recovery skills of those already recovered and aims for each person to establish and activate a personally pragmatic and positive future outcome. Participants work at their own pace within the group with facilitation, following their particular journey.

Hilly Raphael Quigly, clinical lead for the CFS/ME (adults) service said: “We’re seeing people making significant and positive shifts towards their own recovery pathway. People say they really benefit from being with others who know what the condition is like, being supported by clinicians and co-exploring with them.

“What’s brilliant is that it uses the capacity of the imagination of each person to activate new ways of thinking and being.”

The programme aims to establish a recovery community, where some of the patients in each cohort will go on to attend future groups as models of recovery, passing on their own image of recovery.

One participant in the first cohort, said: “The course has allowed me to hope for and create the future I want, rather than the one ME wanted. I can see life coming into view and it looks amazing.”

CFS/ME is a serious condition, characterised by persistent fatigue and other symptoms resulting in extreme reduction of daily activity.

You can find out more about the service and see a poster about Rebuilding Your Life here (go to links and resources).