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Do you want to

  • become more fulfilled, resilient, and productive?
  • practice evidence-based tools to deal with blockers and stressors such as low energy levels, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism?
  • embark on that journey with other members of the community?  

Our new application form is out! You can apply within ~15 min. Spaces are limited. Also, here you can express interest as an organization in <2 min to offer the program to your employees or beneficiaries. 

TL;DR

Managing your mind is key to managing your life. Rethink Wellbeing is announcing an online Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) Program. This program is designed to help improve mental wellbeing and productivity for people in the EA community. Using the latest psychotherapeutic and behavior change techniques, participants attend weekly group sessions together with 5-8 well-matched peers, led by a trained facilitator, and engage in readings and application of the learned tools in between the sessions. This program requires 8 weeks of commitment, with a total of 4-6h/week. Usually, coaching or therapy costs $100-$200 for just one hour, and in our program, you'll get 8-9 sessions plus a community of like-minded individuals for 50-80% fewer costs and for free if you can't afford to pay.
 

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What does the program consist of?

The program is experiential and practice-based; you’ll learn through repeated, deliberate practice, so your new skills can eventually become automatic and habitual. We will draw on techniques backed by a wealth of cutting-edge research, particularly those from the gold standard of third-wave CBT. These techniques can be applied to a variety of target areas: self-regulation, anxiety, low mood, perfectionism, procrastination, self-esteem, productivity, and more. You can learn more about CBT here
 

The program involves:

  • Weekly participation
    • A 2-hour group video conference, led by a trained peer facilitator, is designed for sharing personal experiences, bonding, initiating discussions, and practising newly learned techniques together. 
    • In between sessions: A reading and home practice of new skills and techniques (~2-4h/week or ~30 min/day)
  • Program evaluation surveys
    • Short weekly forms for progress tracking, reflections, and feedback (< 5 min each)
    • Surveys on your mental well-being at weeks 0, 6, 8, and 12 (~20 min each)
       

We ask that people who sign up be ready to commit to the entire program, which is essential because:

  • You are most likely to maximize your benefits from the program by dedicating time to the weekly sessions, readings, and home practice.
  • Your peers will rely on you. You will go on this journey with a small group, hand-picked for you. Poor participation or dropping out can challenge the group’s dynamics and spirit. 
  • We will only be able to determine whether the program is effective and scalable if everyone engages fully.

 

Why do we think the program will be effective? 

You can check out our latest study results in this post.

Mental health research suggests that peer-guided self-help groups working with evidence-based therapy methods can improve mental wellbeing and productivity just as much as 1:1 therapy. 

In addition, Rethink Wellbeing’s pilot tests of peer-facilitated groups showed promising results: 

  • Participants’ psychological well-being significantly increased (p < .05).
  • Productivity, perfectionism, and self-leadership improved in the correspondingly themed groups.
  • All participants rated the programs as “Good” or “Excellent”.
  • 3 of 5 groups decided to continue meeting.

You can learn more about the rationale and background behind our method on our website

 

How do I sign-up?

If you are interested in participating in the program, you can apply by filling out this form within ~15 min. Also, here you can apply as an organization in <2 min to offer the program to your employees or beneficiaries. 

If you are interested in facilitating a group, you can apply within ~20 min here

Answers will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Earlier applications are preferred.  

 

Here’s what happens after you sign up:

  • We review your answers, and confirm if you’re accepted via email. We will only be able to respond to those who are accepted to the program. 
  • You submit a commitment-deposit to secure your place (which will be refunded at the end of the program).
  • We match you up with an exclusive peer group and tools tailored to meet your needs and preferences.
  • You embark on an 8-week journey to improve your mental wellbeing! 
     

We also encourage you to join our Effective Peer Support Network via our Slack

Thank you, Robert Reason, for the thorough review of this post.

Comments12
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 6:38 AM

This is a generous offering that will hopefully help a lot of people, so I feel uncomfortable posting a critical comment, but:

I don't like how this is framed as 'boost your mental health to grow your impact', + the repeated references to productivity. I worry that this perpetuates a belief (or alief or attitude) that EAs' individual wellbeing only matters inasmuch as it contributes to their impact and productivity. I disagree with this: we have a right to be happy regardless of our impact.

On the one hand, it's true that EAs care a lot about impact. Some care so much that they would only consider mental health interventions worth doing if they were proven to make people more impactful. Also, improving people's mental health does tend to make them more productive and therefore more impactful at their goals. So I understand why this framing is tempting. 

The problem is, a lot of EAs' mental health problems are specifically related to worries about impact, productivity, and their intrinsic value apart from those things. (I know some people who are writing a post discussing this - I'll link it here when it's posted). For these people, I suspect engaging in mental health work with the specific aim of becoming more impactful, might be counter-productive or superficial. 

It's kind of a paradox: people with solid self-esteem and wellbeing are in fact more impactful, but also an over-intense focus on impact can make you crazy. So ironically, to be more impactful, you have to let go of your hyper-focus on impact...? 

As a more personal story: over the past through years I've been a mental health crisis, followed by a recovery or re-building of sorts that has, I think, left me mentally better off than before the crisis. I have more equanimity, higher self-esteem, more perspective on my emotions, and better ability to process things. Has all this mental health work made me more productive? It's honestly not clear to me that it has. I think what it has done is helped me steer and be truer to myself - which is one interpretation of 'impact', but not the narrow one that I mostly worried about pre-crisis. And even if I turn out to be more productive thanks to work on my mental health, the process has been so non-linear and full of twists and turns, that I wouldn't have stuck to it if I'd been overly focussed on impact. But it's absolutely worth doing. The one person's subjective wellbeing you have most control over is your own - don't neglect that responsibility. 
 

Amber, thank you for this thoughtful, vulnerable, and beautifully articulated comment. I think that both you and Jason are right on target. 

I’m the Mental Health Program Manager at Rethink Wellbeing, and I’d like to offer my perspective on framing the program as a way to increase productivity. My thoughts are my own, not an official RW statement, but I have given my colleagues a chance to review this message before sending it.

I agree that basing one’s self-worth on one’s productivity can be a recipe for poor mental health (and rarely is effective at increasing productivity!). I’m grateful for your sake that you were able to shift your own perspective and increase the balance and meaning in your life. I still have a long way to go in my own personal development here! 

Despite agreeing with you, there are several reasons why RW highlights productivity in some of our marketing materials.

  • Many members of the EA community who struggle with mental health problems are very motivated to increase their productivity (see, e.g., the EA mental health survey results, under “Topics people struggle with or would like to improve the most”), so emphasizing this as a possible benefit might encourage people to take care of themselves. 
  • Sometimes members of the EA community don’t feel like they “deserve” to engage in self-care for their own sake. If we note the possible benefit to others, it might alleviate some guilt about investing time in one’s own well-being. 
  • I believe that everyone in the world deserves access to a program like this one (or whatever tools for mental well-being are appropriate for them). But resources are limited. People in the EA community are no more or less deserving than others, but as Jason notes, we can justify prioritizing support to this community if there’s a multiplier effect because it allows them to do more good. Taking into account the productivity / impact increase is important for making strategic decisions when calculating the potential impact of such an intervention; plus, EA funders will want to see that RW is keeping its eye on productivity as an outcome metric. 

With all that said, because we agree that obsessing about impact is often harmful, we aren’t planning to emphasize productivity as a goal throughout the program. We are measuring it as one outcome, since it is a meaningful part of flourishing, even if just one; we also may briefly invite people to reflect on the effects of mental health on productivity if that is an effective source of motivation for them. But during the core of the program, we want to give people a chance to work on exactly this: the dysfunctional relationship they may have with productivity and impact, such as believing one needs to be productive, or close to perfect to be worthy.[1]

Talking about productivity is a way of getting people in the door by addressing a common core concern for EA community members. However, our model is that helping people increase their well-being, including developing a well-rounded life and engaging in self-care, should have a side effect of increasing their capacity to do good for others … without needing to focus on it or put any pressure on people. Rather, we hope to alleviate pressure. And participation in the program does not “obligate” people to do any particular EA work or change the world.

I expect that the team will continue to reflect on how to walk this tightrope in our marketing. It’s tough to get it right, because the messaging lands different ways with different people, so feedback like yours is incredibly valuable. Thank you.

  1. ^

    This won't be the only focus of the program; participants will be able to tailor it and apply the techniques they're learning to a variety of personal challenges. But we expect perfectionism, high standards, low self-esteem, and work-life balance to emerge as major themes. 

One tension in meta spending is that it always needs to be squared with the principle of impartiality. Why is a valuable benefit being offered to EAs only, not to those with the greatest ability to benefit in the general population? 

The most common justification is that investing in EAs ultimately yields more object-level impact, making the benefit to the individual EA only an incidental benefit. For this rationale, I might add a couple of italicized modifications to one of your statements to get: As a general matter, EAs' individual wellbeing is only a proper subject of special community spending [1] inasmuch as it contributes to their impact and productivity. That's uncomfortable to say, and I think care must be taken to avoid sending the message that one's wellbeing only has instrumental value.

At the same time, I think it's critical to clearly link the justification for individual-benefitting meta activities to impartial ends.[2] Too many charitable endeavors have slowly turned away from their original focus into devoting a bunch of energy providing benefits for insiders. In my view, it's important to keep far away from that pathway. EA has chosen to heavily embrace meta pathways to impact, which poses heightened dangers of treading down the path of insider capture, and so warrants particular care in clearly identifying how programs that individually benefit insiders are nevertheless impartial.

 

 

  1. ^

    By "special community spending," I mean to exclude things like employee health insurance, which at least in the US is a form of compensation for services rendered.

  2. ^

    There could be other impartiality-approved rationales for a program benefitting individuals, such as a need to address a harm caused by certain types of EA-related actions/actors, or a harm incurred "in the line of EA duty" (broadly construed). Mental health issues stemming from worries about impact could be seen as the latter.

Thank you to everyone involved! 

Productivity, perfectionism, and self-leadership increased in the correspondingly themed groups.

I guess "increased" here should be "improved"? Unless perfectionism actually increased as well, but this would seem like a surprising outcome. :)

Changed this. Thank you!

[comment deleted]9mo1
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Will there be further iterations of this later on?

Possibly, hopefully!

The link to the slack space appears to be not active anymore.

Fixed :-)

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