Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Blues Begone: The user experience

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Blues Begone: The user experience

For those of you looking into cognitive behaviour therapy for depression or anxiety I wanted to provide as much information as possible about the user experience of  Blues Begone.

Complete Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Background

Blues Begone is a unique and powerful computerized cognitive-behavioural therapy (cCBT) program. Blues Begone has helped thousands of NHS and private users over the years it has been in service.

The first clinical trials of Blues Begone seemed so effective that we were interested and motivated to learn how the user interacted with Blues Begone and through that interaction how they came to make Blues Begone useful for themselves.

One of my previous doctoral students, now Dr Janet Dutton, conducted a series of interviews with people who had used Blues Begone to help them with problems of clinical depression.

This series of pages contains a summary of the research, and for those interested in qualitative research, it includes the questions asked of the participants and an analysis of their responses with the psychological interpretation of that data.

Blues Begone: The user experience was later published in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research: Linking theory with Practice (2013) under the title: An exploration of the therapeutic process while using computerised cognitive behaviour therapy.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Blues Begone: The user experience

An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
by Dr Janet Dutton and Dr David Purves

The contents of the study, which I've made available on these pages, is as follows:

1 Executive Summary
2 Introduction
2.1 Current Situation
2.2 The Present Study
3 Method
3.1 Participants
3.2 Procedure
4 Results
4.1 Psychological Position
4.2 Client theory of change
  Novelty of hope
  ‘Down but not out’
  Personal characteristics
4.3 The Meaningful Relationship
  The virtual therapist
  The nature of the relationship
4.4 Shape from confusion
  Bringing order
  Framework for exploration and analysis
4.5 Stimulation
  Awakening of cognitive activity
  Anticipation and motivation
4.6 Empowerment
  A change in perspective
  The activity of self-help
  The ‘tool-box’
5 Discussion
6 Conclusions and Recommendations
7 References
8 Appendix 1
9 Appendix 2


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Executive Summary

Aim: To explore the experience of clients as they carry out the self-help programme, Blues Begone and further our understanding of how individuals make use of self-help therapy to alleviate psychological distress.

Background: The study is set within the context of a rising interest in self-help treatments as mental health services become increasingly pressurised due to a high level of demand and a limited availability of appropriately trained therapists.  As distinct from previous research which has tended to focus on the outcome of self-help interventions, the current study is an in-depth exploration of the subjective experience of clients as they engage in self-help activity.

Method: Seven individuals presenting with symptoms of mild to moderate depression completed the Blues Begone programme and reports of their individual experience were obtained using semi- structured interviews.  Verbatim interview transcripts were analysed using the qualitative research method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and underlying key themes identified.

Results: Analysis indicated that participants had found the Blues Begone programme easy to use and appeared to have become engaged with their self-help activity, with most reporting some improvement to their physical and/or emotional well-being. Themes to emerge included individuals’ development and use of a meaningful relationship with the self-help material, the importance of structure and stimulation provided by the programme, and the opportunities for empowerment afforded by a client led therapy.


Discussion and Conclusions: The importance of the Blues Begone programme as a facilitative tool in helping individuals maximise their own resources to address the symptoms of depression is highlighted, with recommendations made that self-help activity in general should be considered, implemented and researched as a sophisticated intervention in its own right within the wider field of mental health.

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