Podcast Ep. 1 - What is Active Self Help

Podcast Ep. 1 - What is Active Self Help

Hi. Welcome to The Dr. Purves Podcast, helping you to crack the code of good mental health. I've treated over 5,000 people in nearly 30 years, and that's in both face-to-face therapy and through my online programs. I can show you exactly what you need to do to feel great.

Hi. Welcome to Episode One of The Dr. Purves Podcast. It's my intention that this is a conversation between you and me. I don't want it to be a formal, kind of technical podcast, if you like, because I think there are lots of those, and many of them are done very well, and I simply don't want to do that. I'm a therapist, and I've been a therapist for, gosh, 25 years. And I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of people, and I find it a great privilege to meet people, to hear about the intricacies and details of their life, and to try to figure out how to help them to move out of whatever problem they're struggling with. Now, I like to do that and that's what I'd like to do with this podcast.

If you're listening to this, it's likely that you're struggling with something of a mental health problem or an issue. And it could be panic, anxiety, depression, stress, it could be anything, really. I mean I lump them together into those kind of anxiety elements, panic anxiety, depression, and then the [inaudible 00:01:26] thing and then stress, just like a reactive thing often to things at work or in the family or just in life, if you like. Now the whole point of this podcast is to basically convince you that you don't have to struggle with panic, anxiety, depression, stress, or whatever it is that you struggle with. Now, I come from a position, which is different from the one that you're in, because I have seen, and I apologize for doing this but, I have seen thousands of people recover from panic, anxiety, depression, stress without really having any great difficulty in doing it, other than putting in some time and effort.

But the critical thing of course is that they, if they're in therapy, they're being taught, helped, illustrated, guided, et cetera, how to move out of these problems. And if they're using one of my online programs, it's the same basic principle. They're being guided out of the problem that they have. So the first thing that I need to do is to demonstrate to you as best I can that you can recover from whatever problem it is that you're struggling with. Your problem is that you probably don't believe that you can. I apologize for putting words into your mouth, but there you are. It's been my experience that most people don't think that they can recover. Or, well ... let's say they're not sure that they can. At best, they're uncertain, and at worse they're fairly convinced that they can't. And it's a big element of therapy really, is to convince people that things don't have to be this way.

But let me just offer this as a thought, right? You haven't always been where you are now. A lot of people have been elsewhere, you know, you've done better, you've not been panicky, you've not been anxious, you've not been depressed, you've not been stressed. You know, you've been somewhere else. Where you are now is not the entirety of your life. If it is the entirety of your life, it's very rare for that to be the case. So where you are now is a particular moment in time, okay? And this particular moment in time is likely to captured your attention to the extent that you are probably able to say 'I don't know what's going on, I don't know what to do about it, and I don't know how it's going to turn out.' And I want to convince you that you can actually have a better experience.

But in fairness, you do need to put some time and effort into it. Now I call it 'cracking the code.' And the reason for that is that a code is something that regular folks don't understand. So let's use the example of a morse code, a morse code is incomprehensible unless you know the morse code. But once you know the morse code, you can read it, and old fashioned, like most code folks, can just read the dots and dashes and just tell you exactly what it is, because they can crack the code. Now I'm going to talk more about cracking the code in a different podcast but right now I just want to say that having worked with about 5,000 people in both face-to-face therapy and in online therapy, I have figured out a reliable process of cracking the code. I want to teach that to you so that you can learn to crack the code and then once you understand what's going on, the code being of course your internal world, your psychological processes, and the things that drive your mood down, the things that make you anxious, once you understand those you can then do something constructive to get on top of them and move them out of your life.

So that's my aim. But just to start off let me tell you a story, and I know it seems like this is a story about me but really it's a story about many thousands of clients who've used my online programs. Way back when, and I struggle, but I think about 19 years ago, my brother and I started to work together. Now he lived in America and he left home when I was 11 so in a way, I barely knew him. He went off to university, and he studied in America and he was coming backwards and forwards very occasionally, because 19 years ago, things were different, right? There's no internet. Basically, not that we could recognize today. And he's working hard, he's in a corporate life, but he's a computer systems programmer analyst engineer, what you like, okay?

So I was a newish therapist, and I was telling him about what I do, and we came upon the idea that, well, could a computer do what you do? And we were both excited by that idea. And so we started to talk about it and interestingly, it gave us something to talk about. It actually meant that we could email each other, and we could have ideas, I'd have an idea about something to do in the program, and he'd build it for me. And we came up with the name 'Blues Be Gone.' And so we spent four ... five years to get it finished, but ... let's say five to six years to really get it tested and everything.

So we built this computer program called Blues Be Gone, and basically what it was, was a computer program that you install on your computer. It learns about you, it talks about you, it provides you with something like eight to twelve weeks of online CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, and you do a bit every day. Now, the overwhelming response was that people who did it liked it. Now, typically with these things, what happens is if you had a hundred people, no matter what it was that you were offering someone, 30% won't do it. That's just how it is. Of the remaining people who do it, 60% went through the program and were cured of clinical depression. So they're cured of clinical depression, and 50% were cured of clinical anxiety, and another 10% got really good gains. So we had, there were ... if they were severely anxious, perhaps they got down to mild. Severely depressed, they got down to mild. But they didn't quite pass the threshold of being cured.

Now, the program that we developed, Blues Be Gone, you didn't have a therapist. You had no therapist whatsoever, you did everything completely on your own. The program guided you. So here we are, we've developed a computer program, it treats people in the NHS, National Health Service in England, it treats people with severe clinical anxiety, moderate clinical anxiety, whatever you like, and it cures them. What does that tell us? I mean if you think about, it's like a profound ... I think it's a profound thought anyway. It basically means you don't need a therapist. Now I'm a professional therapist, that's how I make a living. It's what I do, virtually every day of the working week, I'm a therapist. But I'm saying you don't need a therapist. For the majority of people, you don't need a therapist.

So what is it that a therapist does? Well the therapist actually passes you information, helps you understand your situation of course, but passes you information, passes you tools, and helps you to figure out what to do with them. So we synthesize or at least, we kind of came up with this basic idea of active self help, right? Active self help is this: you have to know what the problem is. You have to know what to do about the problem. And then you have to be guided and supported in doing it. Those are the three steps of active self help. And that's what we built into the Blues Be Gone program. And from that position, and from that place, I want you to recognize that you could be one of the 60% or the 70% that cures yourself, depression and anxiety. All it requires is a bit of time, effort, and therefore commitment to go through the processes. Okay?

So most people can help themselves. The problem is that most people don't know that they can help themselves. But let's change it. Most people can help themselves, most people don't know how to help themselves. I'd have thought virtually everyone who has struggled with panic, anxiety, depression, stress has read a self help book. Self help books are not that helpful. You can get an idea, you can get a kind of 'oh!' as insight, you can get a bit of an 'aha!' moment. But they don't give you, or they try to give you but the don't, give you a structured process that you can follow and feel willing to follow. They don't give you what you actually need. They help you to understand a little bit about what's going on, but even then it's too ... it's sort of too impersonal. It doesn't really connect with you.

So the points that I want to make are that you can help yourself, although you probably don't believe it. I've demonstrated it, and the ... in truth, lots of other people have demonstrated it too. The problem then is how to get you engaged in the process of helping yourself. Well the barrier and the block to a large extent is that you don't believe that you can do it. You don't believe that you have the oomph, or the staying power or the knowledge or the skills to make it happen. But also of course where you are, that slump, that anxious state, or that depressed state, disempower you. And if you look inside your mind and if you think about it, you believe to a large extent or a proportion of you believes, let's put it that way, a proportion of you believes that you are the problem. That you have this problem because there is something wrong with you. And of course that's a disempowering kind of toxic belief, isn't it?

But let me take you back to what I said earlier on, you haven't always been like this. Where you are now is a culmination, part of the journey, and that's just a transitional part because your will continue after this moment has pasted. So this podcast is about convincing you, that you can help yourself. It's about giving you tools and resources. It's about opening up the possibility that you're far more competent and capable to manage your mood than you believe that you are.

Now the Blues Be Gone program which is no longer available, because technology got sort of away from us in a way, the Blues Be Gone program kept you occupied in helping yourself more or less every day for eight to twelve weeks. And people would go dip in again, you know when ever they needed. It was a genuine resource. Now, technology has meant that we can't offer that anymore. The modern version of that is the Dr. Purves online programs. And if you want to get access to those, that's dead simple.

Simply go to Drpurves.online and then you'll find the Dr. Purves CBT programs there. They treat panic, anxiety, depression, and stress. So they get you started with understanding the active self help approach, make sure that you download the panic pit stop app, either from the app store or from the Google Play store. It's entirely free and itself is a small treatment for panic and anxiety. If you work through the app, you will be helped and it will certainly put a big dent in your propensity to worry. If you find that you're worrying is a big issue, the panic pit stop app's got some great tools for you to use to be able to get on top of that. And you'll see the approach that I use, it's about understanding the problem, applying a tool, and persisting with the tool long enough for the problem to disappear.

So this is episode one, and I thank you for that. Please subscribe to the podcast. Please like it. Please leave comments. Please help this podcast to expand and grow. The more people who listen to it, the more people can be helped and that's what we're ultimately trying to do. So thanks for taking the time to watch and listen, but remember this: you can crack the code of good mental health.

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