Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Blues Begone Research Results Part 5

Welcome to the fifth part of the research results for cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety program Blues Begone.

This page forms the  eighth article in a series about the Blues Begone User Experience. You can access the complete set of articles at the bottom of this page.

EMPOWERMENT

This section of the research results looks at the master theme of empowerment which is not only worthy of discussion in its own right emerging as an important element in the self-help process, but also as a theme that seemed to link all others.

cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-depression-and-anxiety-empowerment

Increased sense of personal agency through engagement with the content and process of self-help activity.

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: A change in perspective

 Six out of seven participants reported that the self-help material offered them information that changed their perspective on a particular issue such that they experienced some degree of increased empowerment.  This experience was perhaps most clearly expressed by Grace.  This excerpt from her transcript is long but worth quoting in full to observe the detail of her process:

“…(BBG) goes onto explain…you’re only as depressed as your last thought. That’s really powerful because that means if you think well what was I last thinking, then go through some of the things they teach you about that, it means you can erm, if you change your last thought then you’ll feel happier or change your next thought, then you’ll feel happier…it’s a relief to think well actually I’m not a depressed person and also to think well it’s not because of the menopause, there’s something I can do about it. If it is just that it’s my last thought, then I’m in total control of that. I can do something about it… (Voice shaky) I don’t need to feel like that anymore…” (Grace, 4. 17-33)

The information offered to Grace for consideration was presented from a CBT therapy perspective in line with the theoretical framework of the programme, and as such is foregrounds the individual’s capacity to initiate change.

Nevertheless, in the absence of a therapist, Grace’s report indicated that she was able to take this information, assess its personal relevance and implications, and see how it could be used to her benefit.  As her words showed, the key element of this experience seemed to be a sudden realisation from the information provided and an accompanying sense of relief that she could do something about her low mood, that she had the power to control her experience.

cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-depression-and-anxiety-low-mood

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: Self Worth

Caroline also described experiencing a change of perspective as part of her self-help experience.  Again as a result of information offered by the programme, she began to regard her own emotional needs in a different light:

“There was one lovely bit I think maybe on self care, that they tell you that, you know that it’s ok. You’re allowed to have needs; you don’t only need a roof over your head. And that had a big impact… (Voice slightly shaky)…It was a validation; that how I was feeling was ok and that was important for me” (Caroline, 5. 32-40)

cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-depression-and-anxiety-winning

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: A change in perspective

Whilst Grace’s empowerment seemed to occur in a literal sense with her recognising her ability to regain control in her life, Caroline’s seemed to arise from an increased sense of self-worth and new found confidence to express her own needs.  As she reported later, her change of perspective allowed her to recognise, and importantly to voice out loud, that she was “valid”:

“I think I can now say I’m good enough… You know… (Quietly)…I’m valid. And I don’t think I would have gone so far as to say that before (smiles)” (Caroline, 10. 34-37)

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety:  The activity of self-help

 Whilst it would appear that the content of the Blues Begone programme helped several participants to feel empowered, reports also indicated that the activity of self-help itself could have an empowering effect.

The programme was structured around a series of daily episodes, a format that was commented positively on by four participants.  Participants recounted how they each developed a routine and a regular time that suited them to carry out their self-help activity.  Caroline seemed to find the physical process of sitting down at the computer and engaging in the self-help programme to be of benefit: She explained further:

“You did feel that with the computer, that it wasn’t passive, that in some way it was quite an active process; that you were being active yourself, partly by just sitting down and turning it on and then by trying to do the things that you were, that they suggest” (Caroline, 6. 9-13)

It would seem that the very action of operating the computer, created a more active frame of mind in the participant.  Given that five out of seven participants initially reported a lack of motivation, and fatigue and lack of energy in their preliminary questionnaires, to be encouraged in this way into purposeful activity would indeed seem a positive step.

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: Recognising progress

Similarly, participants described the positive effects of recognising their progress and achievement, and having their efforts reinforced.  Teresa twice commented on the scale of her efforts with some sense of pride:

“At the end I felt, I did feel a sense of achievement because I had worked, you know hard at it and when it said I’d spent fifty-one hours on it, that felt a lot of hours, erm and it felt I’d learnt a lot from it as well” (Teresa, 10. 23-26)

Such comments appeared to emphasise not only the level of initiative required by participants in self-help activity but also the potential opportunity for reinforcement of their personal agency.  Monica noticed a change in her own level of agency as the programme progressed:

  “After a while, I started going into all the menus and exploring everything whereas first of all I was just letting it guide me” (Monica, 5. 12-16)

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: Empowerment 

Nevertheless, whilst in some instances the very nature of self-help activity seemed be empowering in its own right, many of the participants discussed their belief that a client who felt very low, overwhelmed by their problems and lacking a sense of control would find self-help activity difficult.  Shelley observed:

“And so I think it depends on how far down somebody actually was cos I don’t think if they were really, really in the doldrums, just don’t think they would even take it on board at all” (Shelley, 6. 12-15)

Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety: The “tool box”

And finally, reports indicated that the practical strategies and techniques offered by the programme provided a ”tool box”, enabling participants to put their new learning and perspectives into practice and empowering them to achieve and maintain lasting change.

cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-depression-and-anxiety-toolbox

 

All made reference to printing out materials and making notes, regarding this as a resource that could be revisited, would act as a reminder and a continued source of support.

Participants appeared to find some security in having such a resource, with Jane even deciding to create her own “handbook”. Indeed as highlighted earlier four participants requested personal copies of the Blues Begone programme to keep as a lasting resource.

Whilst taking responsibility for carrying out the work, participants seemed to regard their “tool kit” as an important factor in making this ongoing work possible.        

Return from Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety – Results of Blues Begone Research Part 5 to DrPurves.com Home

Return from Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety – Results of Blues Begone Research Part 5 to Blues Begone User Experience

Related articles for cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety program Blues Begone

  1. Blues Begone: The User Experience
  2. Blues Begone Research
  3. Method of Blues Begone Research
  4. Research Results – Part 1
  5. Research Results – Part 2
  6. Research Results – Part 3
  7. Research Results – Part 4 
Share Button