The start of this week was the Mk1 Prototype Presentation where I presented my self care box alongside some physical prototypes to try and communicate the direction I was heading in. I started off speaking about why I’d come to the conclusions I was presenting. I observed in my research that our personal and social selves are under greater pressure now than ever due to the pressures of social media and heavily increased connectivity in general. With all these ideas, personalities and opinions being sometimes literally forced into our daily lives 24/7 our sense of our own identity needs to be stronger than ever. We need to know who we are, what we believe in and what we want from the future. As a result activities such as meditation, journaling and mindfulness have seen an increase in popularity in the last ten years. Mindfulness in particular has gained lots of ground in medical and therapeutic areas as a more serious method of treatment.
There is a human desire to be stronger, more confident and more socially valuable and interesting, this can be seen through the constant popularity of services and products that promote this self-help style of self improvement. I think at the core of this is a strange disconnect. As someone who has experienced a lot of different types of therapy I firmly believe that the techniques and skills taught are valuable to everyone. These are powerful life skills that teach you how to deal with lots of what life can throw at you. I think if people were more prepared for mental harm and discomfort there would be less crises in their lives.
This is where my product comes in. Well sort of. Anchor is an object that brings the therapist and the experiences that test therapeutic skills closer together. For example, when you are attending group therapy for your one hour session a week, you’re not practising the skills you’re developing. Almost all the practice you actually do across the eight weeks is alone without the support of your therapist. When you’re practising exposure therapy, you’re all alone. At the moment there are poorly designed worksheets that try to bridge this gap at the moment. These are really patronising, largely due to association. You enter this large room and you sit down in your chair and the therapist hands each of you your own set of worksheets and it just feels a lot like school. I really dislike this experience because when combined with the already existing stigma around therapy in general it can allow someone to disengage with the entire experience before it even begins. The “Copyright 2004” at the bottom of the sheets doesn’t really help either.
I attempted to develop a form that would allow different skills to have their own compartment, to keep it visually coherent I kept each section the same size with the ability to change the shape of the interior. I designed a visual motif that would also allow the sections to be swung out for easy access. Each of these compartments would have textual information and instructions on the inner lid and would contain some objects to assist the learning process. After the experience is complete there would be the ability to record what had happened fully soon after the activity has taken place rather than having to wait until the next therapy session to recall this vital information. As a result of the discussion after the presentation I had my fears about longevity quelled and I was informed that in the prototype I could imply a larger volume of content rather than having to create every single skill from start to finish. This really made me more confident to take my idea forward.