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Description: Can communication mediums such as text messaging be used to increase the effectiveness of treatments for disorders like depression? This article and other sources linked below describes studies that suggest that this may be true.

Source: The ShrinkRap: Can your I-Phone prevent a relapse of depression?

Date: April 28, 2015

CBT to go

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An important (the central) part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves working with people to help them change their thoughts or self-statements and to move them in more positive directions; challenging their self-defeating beliefs and thought processes. Text messages, short though they may be, can provide specific thoughts and encouragements that people can use during or after their more traditional face-to-face therapeutic encounters to sustain or bolster their changing thought/belief patterns. Sounds good? Well it may well be but, of course, we need to see some data from well-designed studies supporting their effectiveness. The study linked above and other studies cited below or linked through the second linked article above suggest there may be support for such claims.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might text messaging be used as part of (or as a follow-up to) a Cognitive Behavioural Treatment approach to depression?
  2. If such approaches are effective why might it be that they work (what do they add to the therapeutic relationship?
  3. Are there any ethical issues that may arise if text messaging is used as part of or even as the only means of intervention with depressed individuals (or with other mental health issues)?

References (Read Further):

Kok, G., Burger, H., Riper, H., Cuijpers, P., Dekker, J., van Marwijk, H., & Bockting, C. L. (2015). The Three-Month Effect of Mobile Internet-Based Cognitive Therapy on the Course of Depressive Symptoms in Remitted Recurrently Depressed Patients: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 84(2), 90-99.

Joo, N. S., & Kim, B. T. (2007). Mobile phone short message service messaging for behaviour modification in a community-based weight control programme in Korea. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 13(8), 416-420.

Watts, S., Mackenzie, A., Thomas, C., Griskaitis, A., Mewton, L., Williams, A., & Andrews, G. (2013). CBT for depression: a pilot RCT comparing mobile phone vs. computer. BMC psychiatry, 13(1), 49.

Aguilera, Adrian Text messaging as an adjunct to CBT in low-income populations: A usability and feasibility pilot study,

Boschen, M. J., & Casey, L. M. (2008). The use of mobile telephones as adjuncts to cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(5), 546.