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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI ’20, April 25–30, 2020
Publisher or commissioning bodyAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-6708-0/20/04
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2020
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Honolulu, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2020
CountryUnited States
Internet address


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.

    Research areas

  • health technology, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT, depression, mental health, blended therapy, integrated approach, patient-therapist communication


ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Abbreviated titleCHI 2020
Duration25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020
Location of eventHonolulu
CountryUnited States
Web address (URL)
Degree of recognitionInternational event

Event: Conference



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    Embargo ends: 1/01/99

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