Learning how to feel good: how to overcome anhedonia and build well-being
The primary focus in CBT for depression has been on down-regulating negative thinking and feeling. However, it is increasingly realised that anhedonia, a reduction in the ability to experience pleasure, is also central to the onset and maintenance of depression and should be paid more attention in treatment. Clients describe the repair of positive emotion experience and broader wellbeing as a critical element of recovery from depression. This workshop will focus on ways to reduce anhedonia and build wellbeing in CBT for depression, whilst minimising the possibility that a positive focus is perceived by clients as “PollyAnna-ish”. It will also explore ways to integrate techniques from Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT) – a novel therapy targeting positive emotions and wellbeing - into CBT practice. While the primary clinical focus will be on depression (with an emphasis complex and comorbid cases), the material covered will also be relevant for a range of other clinical presentations that involve anhedonia and reduced wellbeing.
- Present a rationale for a positivity focus that is not perceived by clients as "PollyAnna-ish" and develop skills in a positive, solution focused therapy style
- Identify, formulate, and learn ways to target mechanisms that maintain anhedonia and inhibit wellbeing
- Optimise use of existing CBT techniques to build positivity (including activity scheduling, positive data logs, and working with values)
This online workshop will be highly interactive. It will include didactic teaching, experiential exercises, clinical demonstrations of ideas and techniques, and discussion and questions.
Dunn, B. D., et al (2020). Changes in positive and negative affect during pharmacological treatment and cognitive therapy for major depressive disorder: A secondary analysis of two randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychological Science, 38, 6-51.
Dunn, B.D., Widnall, E., Reed, N., Owens, ., Campbell, J., Kuyken, W. (2019). Bringing light into darkness: A multiple baseline mixed methods case series evaluation of Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 120, 103418.
Dunn BD. (2019) Augmenting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to build positive mood in depression. Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology.
About Professor Barney Dunn
Professor Dunn is a research and clinical psychologist, currently employed as a Professor at the University of Exeter Mood Disorders Centre. Barney leads a research programme characterising positivity deficits in depression and developing novel ways to build positivity in CBT. From 2015 to 2020 his positivity research programme was funded by an NIHR Career Development Fellowship, where he has been developing and evaluating Augmented Depression Therapy. Barney has recently completed the Beck Scholar programme at the Beck Cognitive Therapy Institute in Philadelphia.
Barney is accredited by BABCP and was awarded diplomate membership of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in 2013. He co-directs the AccEPT clinic, a NHS commissioned research clinic developing novel treatments for mood disorders and in his ongoing clinical practice works with treatment resistant depressed clients. Barney is a regular CBT trainer and supervisor in national and international settings.