Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Results of Blues Begone Research Part 4
Welcome to the fourth part of the research results for cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety program Blues Begone. This page forms the seventh article in a series about the Blues Begone User Experience. You can access the complete set of articles at the bottom of this page.
This section of the research results looks at the stimulation of the participant’s senses and cognitive activity by the content and presentational format of the self-help material.
Participants’ descriptions of their engagement with the Blues Begone programme indicated that they were stimulated in some way as part of the self-help process. This experience seemed to occur in relation to both the presentation and content of the self-help material.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Awakening of cognitive activity
The presentational techniques of the Blues Begone programme were varied and participants were offered an array of colours, images, written information, sounds and music. Jane’s description of being “woken up” seemed to reflect well the interaction stimulated between user and material:
“Your brain’s being woken up by being stimulated in different ways, you know you’ve got the bit of music that comes up, you’ve got the different visuals and the screen is changing, you’re reading stuff and you’re thinking and I think that it’s that sort of interaction really” (Jane, 8. 17-21)
Participants commented on the use of humour and whilst many were amused some were not, with Shelley finding the jokes “just beyond not funny” (Shelley, 17. 12-13). Nevertheless, the level of engagement was such that users did not seem to be put off by this and continued with their self-help activity.
Cognitive activity appeared to be stimulated in a variety of ways, both reminding users of previously helpful information, ideas, and coping strategies once known but now forgotten, and presenting new ideas and perspectives. Grace described the huge impact of a new idea presented within the self-help material, information that subsequently changed her psychological perspective on depression:
“There were some astounding facts in there that I didn’t know (smiles)…like you are only as depressed as your last thought. That blew my mind! And yet it is so, so sensible! You can’t be happy and depressed at the same time. And I thought, is that right? And it’s right I mean you can’t really, can you?” (Grace, 3. 33-41)
Participants’ reports also underlined the importance of stimulation within the self-help process as a mechanism to maintain new learning. Teresa acknowledged the difficulty of adhering to new ways of thinking and behaving. She found the self-help material to be of use in that…
“…it kept reminding me. I think that’s what happens. You know about these things, you know about the alternative thoughts and that but sometimes you just get…pulled down by feeling so crap, that you forget about them and you’ve got to be reminded that there is another way of looking” (Teresa, 7. 6-10)
For Teresa and Caroline in particular, it appeared that a major function of the self-help material was to act as a stimulus, keeping the results of their learning at the forefront of their minds. Interestingly, at the end of the study, four out of the seven participants requested a personal copy of the programme for this very reason, wanting to have the facility of a “top up” should the benefits begin to fade.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Anticipation and motivation
Analysis of interview transcripts clearly showed that the level of stimulation experienced by participants as described above was such that all reported some sense of anticipation as they engaged with the programme. This sub-theme was evidenced in different ways. Having begun the programme, Jane, Caroline, Grace, Teresa, Shelley and Monica all reported wanting to proceed more quickly and do more of the programme than the daily guidelines advised. In retrospect, Caroline commented:
“I wish I’d done it slower at the beginning, I rushed through it, you know, I’ve got to do this now!” (Caroline, 3. 19-20)
Participant’s accounts almost seemed to reflect an element of greed as though individuals were hungry for whatever the self-help programme might provide. In some cases, participants’ interest was stimulated to such degree that their self-help endeavour began to take priority over other demands in life. Caroline again reported:
“I would start to do it before I looked to see if I had any email for instance because it was something I really wanted to do. I stopped some of the time wasting stuff, you know like surfing the web to fit it in” (Caroline, 4. 1-3 and 27-28)
As alluded to earlier in discussing the theme of “Psychological Position”, the anticipation of the possibilities that the Blues Begone programme might bring, seemed to be an important stimulant for participants, both triggering hope and maintaining their motivation for the self-help process.
Related articles for cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety program Blues Begone
- Blues Begone: The User Experience
- Blues Begone Research
- Method of Blues Begone Research
- Research Results – Part 1
- Research Results – Part 2
- Research Results - Part 3