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Integrating the digital and the traditional to deliver therapy for depression: lessons from a pragmatic study

Stawarz, Katarzyna ORCID:, Preist, Chris, Tallon, Deborah, Thomas, Laura, Turner, Katrina, Wiles, Nicola, Kessler, David, Shafran, Roz and Coyle, David 2020. Integrating the digital and the traditional to deliver therapy for depression: lessons from a pragmatic study. Presented at: CHI '20: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu, HI, USA, 25-30 April 2020. CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM, pp. 1-14. 10.1145/3313831.3376510

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Traditional approaches to psychotherapy emphasise face-to-face contact between patients and therapists. In contrast, current computerised approaches tend to minimise this contact. This can limit the range of mental health difficulties for which computerised approaches are effective. Here, we explore an alternative approach that integrates face-to-face contact, electronic contact, online collaboration, and support for between-session activities. Our discussion is grounded in the design of a platform to deliver psychotherapy for depression. We report findings of an 11-month pragmatic study in which 17 patients received treatment for depression via the platform. Results show how design decisions had a significant impact on the dynamics of therapeutic sessions and the establishment of patient-therapist relationships. For example, the use of instant messaging for synchronous, in-session contact slowed communication, but also provided a valuable space for reflection and helped to maintain session focus. We discuss the impact of flexibility and the potential of integrated approaches to both enhance and reduce patient engagement.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Additional Information: Shown as Open Access on website
Publisher: ACM
ISBN: 9781450367080
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 16 January 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 09:57

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