Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Method of Blues Begone Research

For those looking into cognitive behaviour therapy for depression or anxiety this is the third article in a series which explore the user experience of computerised CBT program Blues Begone which is used successfully to treat anxiety and depression. 

Background

In advance of any research activity, the proposal for the current study was submitted to and cleared by the Ethics Committee of the Psychology Department at London Metropolitan University. 

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COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: Participants

Seven volunteers were recruited by means of an advert, placed in a local newspaper and circulated to contacts of the researcher.  Primarily, volunteers were included in the study based on the very practical criteria that they were mildly depressed, and had access to computer facilities (see Appendix 1).

Participants used the interactive, computerised self-help programme, Blues Begone (Purves & Purves, 2005) as the focus of their self-help activity.

Blues Begone

Blues Begone is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety

Blues Begone is designed to help combat the symptoms of depression and anxiety.  The programme contains thirty short episodes, providing assessment and an individually tailored programme of therapy within a CBT framework.  It is sent to clients in the form of a CD-rom to be installed on to a personal computer and is designed to be used about five times per week, with no more than one episode per day.  The whole programme usually takes about six weeks to complete.

Blues Begone is a standalone product, the individual requiring no assistance from a therapist or the researcher to complete the programme.  Thus the opportunity was maximised for participants to truly engage in self-help.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: Procedure

Participants completed a preliminary questionnaire to assess their suitability for the study.  Questions were designed to elicit participants’ current experience of common symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, and any previous clinical diagnosis or treatment.

Written consent to participate in the study was obtained on the basis that all data relating to the participants would be maintained in confidence and that individual names would be changed in any written report.

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Participants were then sent the Blues Begone programme to carry out at home.  Contact with the researcher was limited to minimise any influence on participants’ self-help process, though in the interests of individual safety and well being, participants were encouraged to contact the researcher at any time by email to discuss any concerns, or to arrange face to face contact for further support.

After completing the programme, semi-structured interviews were conducted, using an interview schedule constructed and piloted in advance (see Appendix 2).  The verbatim transcripts of the interviews were then analysed using a qualitative research method, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (see Smith & Osborn, 2003) and master themes within the data were identified.

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In order to safeguard the rigour of the analysis, methods of inter-rater reliability and deviant case analysis were used as measures of reliability and validity.

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Related articles

  1. Blues Begone: The User Experience
  2. Blues Begone Research
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