Interview with Kelvin

Interview with Kelvin

Why was Hands Up Therapy app created?

My name is Kelvin Snaith and for the last two years I have been working as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist within a NHS depression and anxiety service in Poole, Purbeck and East Dorset, UK. I see on average about 24 clients a week that are experiencing a depression or anxiety disorder (or both) and work for approximately 6-12 sessions (sometimes a little bit more) with each client.

Before working in my current role, I worked for a few years in the community (Poole) with adults experiencing severe and enduring mental illness (mostly schizophrenia, severe depression and bipolar disorder) and before that I worked for a year in the community (Bournemouth and Poole) with young people (under 25’s) experiencing a variety of mental health problems.

Through my working with hundreds of people experiencing mental health problems over the last five years, it was revealed to me just how important ’emotional avoidance’ was in maintaining mental health problems and increasing susceptibility to us experiencing them.

I started to look at the evidence-based literature to see what was currently available to help people ‘accept’ their emotions. I came across much information on ‘Mindfulness’ and meditation and even attended some Mindfulness and meditation courses. I found a lot of the Mindfulness and meditation practices extremely helpful, however, I still felt that they were lacking a clear guidance on ‘how’ to accept difficult emotions. I also looked in to the more spiritual teachings from people such as Eckhart Tolle, Osho, Rumi, Krishnamurti to name but a few. Again, I noted the same: very helpful but seemed to lack a clear ‘how’.

A few years back I was doing a session with a lady client and we were casually discussing emotions and how she was responding to her emotions in session with me. I asked the lady how much she was willing to be with her emotions whilst she was in session with me and so she put her hands up to show me, using her fingers as a percentage gage. I liked how she had put up her hands to show me and so I guided her to take some deep breaths whilst continuing to show me on her fingers how much she was willing to be with her feelings. I encouraged the lady to keep going until she reached 100 per cent on her fingers which equated to ‘total acceptance’ of her feelings in that moment. The lady continued until she reached 100 per cent and she then reported an immediate release from her distress and a strong feeling of calm/peace. I took some time to reflect after the session and can recall saying to myself ‘Wow, that was a really good session and that hand indication stuff really worked!’. I was excited to repeat this hand approach with some more of my clients to see if I would get the same result. I repeated it again with more of my clients and the result was exactly the same. Since that time, I have repeated this approach on hundreds (possibly going into thousands now) of occasions and the result has always remained consistent.

Having seen how helpful this new approach had been to people, I had a strong desire to get this message out to as many people as possible and so came up with the idea of making a phone app because of most people using mobile phones today. And so…Hands Up Therapy app was created.

The Hands Up Therapy message is really quite simple: To resist your feelings in any way is unhelpful and likely to cause enduring emotions and distress. To put your hands up to what you are feeling, in addition to reflecting on your thoughts, is a healthier way to deal with your emotions and stop them enduring. You don’t need a phone app to take this message on, but the app is available to those who would like some simple step-by-step guidance.

P.S. It is hoped that an Android version of the app will soon be available.

Yours in peace,

Kelvin Snaith
Founder of Hands Up Therapy

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