Computerized CBT programs offer a solution to these problems, given that a computer program can be guaranteed to adhere to effective evidence-based manuals.
The main problem is getting people to use self-guided programs. This is referred to as adherence.
In this study we compared 3 different ways to improve adherence to an evidence-based treatment program called Overcome Social Anxiety with online group sessions:
1) Experimental group. Psychoeducation groups (more cognitive and behavioral work)
2) Placebo group. Progressive muscle relaxation (to control for the extra attention participants were given)
3) Control condition. No group sessions are offered when using the program.
Contrary to our expectations the placebo condition (relaxation group) demonstrated improved adherence. As with so much research, our results leave us with more questions. We are speculating why this is in our discussion session in the following paragraph:
“However, to our knowledge, a link has not been drawn between PMR and increased adherence to computerized CBT programs. One possible reason for the improved adherence could be the instant reduction of state anxiety and psychological distress brought about by PMR (Vancampfort et al., 2013). In contrast, CBT involves strategies that may produce long-term improvements in anxiety and distress tolerance but may not provide a ‘quick fix’ to physical anxiety symptoms. In short, CBT takes time to achieve reductions in anxiety, whilst relaxation strategies do not. The immediate relief brought by PMR may motivate users of the program to continue with it, since they have experienced this momentary lowered anxiety level through relaxation, unlike users who did not have access to the relaxation sessions. “
At last, I would like to congratulate Signý Sigurðardóttir on her first author publication and thank all the other fantastic co-authors for being such top-notch researchers and collaborators! The article is open access which means it is free for everyone to read:
In June of this year, it will be 10 years since we launched AI-Therapy! At the time there weren’t many online programs available, and the Artificial Intelligence boom hadn’t started. People actually read blogs frequently and we wrote a lot of blogs from 2012 to 2015. Since then we have mainly published our information on our Facebook page. In fact, our last post was written in 2018 when our first Randomized Controlled Trial was published. In that study, researchers at the University Of British Columbia in Canada took our program and conducted an independent evaluation and the results were fantastic. Overcome Social Anxiety became a certified blueprint program for healthy youth development! This is a project at the University Of Colorado Boulder that maintains a registry of Evidence-Based Programs that improve the lives of youth.
Since then we have published 7 research papers, two of which are In Press, so I will write about them in my next posts. For the time being, here is an up-to-date publication list. Right before the pandemic hit, we managed to go to the last World Congress in Berlin in 2019:
Please watch this space as these are the titles coming up for our next blogs!
Overview of our latest research (7 journal articles!)
New Online Program: Overcome Fertility Stress
New Online Program: Overcome Death Anxiety
No, Bots and Artificial Intelligence does not mean the same thing in mental health care
Dr. Fjola Helgadottir, Ph.D. is the director of AI-Therapy, runs telehealth and face-to-face practice in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is a registered psychologist in BC, Canada, and a fully licensed clinical psychologist in Iceland, prior to this she held registration in Australia and the UK as a clinical psychologist. She has 4 degrees in psychology and over the past 2 decades, Dr. Helgadottir has specialized in evidence-based treatment for complex psychological conditions. Her main areas of expertise are Social Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Health Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Fear of flying, and more. Dr. Helgadottir has been using Telehealth and innovating in health care since 2007. She received the Tracey Goodall Early Career Award for her innovations in online treatment. Dr. Helgadottir has also been involved in teaching cognitive behavior therapy over the years. Furthermore, she is an active clinical researcher working in collaboration with several universities around the globe. Twitter: @drfjola