I was much more impressed with session two of the BRAVE program. In this episode the program takes you through the first two letters of the acronym BRAVE. The first is ‘Body signs’ and the second is ‘Relaxation’. While the cartoon style and simplistic language still felt a little inappropriate for the demographic the program is aimed at, the information given in this second session is outstanding.
First, the participant is asked to review how anxious they felt during the week and if they applied any of the techniques or ideas taught in last week’s session. Then the narrator introduces the typical physical signs of anxiety. This is done through a series of cartoon examples. There are several engaging and informative interactive games used to show the typical body signs. This is really useful information to have if you are suffering from anxiety. Learning to recognise your personal signs of anxiety is the first step to managing it.
Second, the session talks about relaxation and the value of learning relaxation techniques. The participant is given three options that different people use to relax themselves during an anxiety episode; deep breathing, muscle relaxation and guided imagery. These techniques are explained and a sample is played for each of them.
Personally, I found the guided imagery technique really interesting. A voice narrates a scene to the participant while relaxing music plays in the background. The sample scene was about a bird flying. While I can see why this technique would be good, it may be a little impractical as it requires another person, a quiet space and a fair amount of time. It’s a good tool for parents to use with their children.
The other two techniques, deep breathing and muscle relaxation, were then explained further and the participant was given a track of each to play. There is voice guiding the listener through the two techniques and explaining how to apply these relaxation methods when feeling anxious. The two tracks together went for over twenty minutes. They are wonderfully presented and invaluable skills for an anxiety sufferer to have. This part of the program really impressed me. It is evident the knowledge and expertise behind these tracks, and I would highly recommend this section of the session.
Session two has changed my view on the BRAVE program. I thought the information was really well set out and fundamental to those with anxiety. Being able to identify the physical traits of anxiety is so important and the relaxation techniques were awesome. I still don’t personally like the simplistic language and cartoons, but this session shows what a great tool this could be for some.
The BRAVE Program, which has been trialled and evaluated over the last 13 years, is an online self-help course that allows young people and their parents to seek support for anxiety in the comfort of their own homes. Read one young person’s take on the new online programme which is supported by Beyond Blue.