Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Results of Blues Begone Research – Part 3
This is the third part of the research results for cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety program Blues Begone. This the sixth article in a series about the Blues Begone User Experience.
Shape from confusion
This section will focus on the participant’s uses of structure to bring order, focus, clarity, and shape to their psychological state.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Bringing order
At the outset of the study, most participants were experiencing some degree of uncertainty, confusion, or lack of clarity as to how they might address their issues and improve their psychological well-being. Thus the majority of individuals seemed to find the structured format of the self-help programme useful in as much as it enabled them to break down their problems and deal with them in a more manageable way, restoring a sense of order and personal control in the process.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: What they say
Frank described using the Blues Begone programme to help him find a methodical, realistic approach to addressing his issues. He described in detail how he was able to “untangle” his accumulated problems, making them feel more manageable.
“…because of the structured approach and the fact that you can start separating the problem into little problems…you can actually address each issue at its own time…you know it’s looking at the same issue from different angles until ok that’s it, you’ve addressed that issue, it’s not an issue anymore and you go onto the next one. So I think in untangling it’s quite powerful, the fact that you go through each step” (Frank, 5. 30-39)
Similarly, having described herself as having a “muddled mind”, Teresa was able to work through her issues in a more ordered fashion, appearing to feel contained by the well-defined process that such a structured format offered:
“I really liked the structure of it, I really liked there being a beginning and an end and you know being able to you know you have a Roadmap to Recovery and that was really helpful to sort of see the different components of that and where you could go,
where you were going as it were, (Teresa, 3. 5-10)
For Jane, Caroline, Frank and Teresa, being able to place some order and structure on their self-help efforts also seemed to afford them the mental space to be able to concentrate and focus on their issues. As Caroline commented:
“It’s letting go and clearing out and you’re left with a space which you can use more positively” (Caroline, 9. 5-6)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Framework for exploration and analysis
Having used Blues Begone to bring some order and focus to their problems and process, participants also seemed to use the self-help material to establish a framework within which they could then begin the work of exploring their problems in some detail, and identifying potential solutions.
“(It) was making me think about what was happening because I’m very much the sort of person who gets on a treadmill and is not really paying attention about how …am I actually feeling today because there’s always something else to do, that’s going to get in the way” (Teresa, 3. 21-27)
For some participants different exercises in the self-help material seemed to provide a “check” for personal psychological assessments and responses: Shelley made use of the questionnaires to assess the nature and severity of her depression:
“(I was) intrigued to find out whether the programme would say whether I was or wasn’t depressed” (Shelley 1. 14-17and 24-26)
Frank described working through some of the scenarios and case examples described in the programme, using them as a checklist to help pinpoint and clarify his own issues and priorities for attention:
“You almost tick boxes, that’s not really an issue or actually that really hurts, yes this is something that I need to …you know…understand or have a look at now, probably a revisit as well” (Frank, 4. 11-16)
Whilst for Caroline, already aware of some of the personal characteristics that often caused her distress, the situational analysis seemed to provide a valuable framework within which she could objectively assess and check out her own feelings and behavioural responses:
“The situational analysis I found very helpful. I think with some problems, difficulties erm I know I’m being over-sensitive. So If I’ve got something that actually helps me analyse it and work out whether this really is a problem and perhaps it isn’t, that’s a big help” (Caroline, 4. 35 and 5. 21-24)
And finally for Monica, already aware of the difficulty of trying to change longstanding habits and behaviours on her own, the use of reminders built in to the self-help material to support the individual’s change process, seemed to be of great value:
“I kind of because it’s something new, you just forget, but then when you have the reminder, have you done it? When you’ve got certain habits, it’s very hard to break them. But if some if something keeps reminding you to break it, then you do” (Monica, 8. 10-15)
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