Supporting Therapeutic Relationships and Communication about Mental Health

David Coyle, Gavin Doherty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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Effective communication and strong therapeutic relationships are critical to successful mental health interventions. For example, in 1957 Carl Rogers, a pioneer of person-centred therapy, proposed that an empowering relationship could, in and of itself, create “the necessary and sufficient conditions” for positive therapeutic outcomes [1]. Whilst modern psychological theories no longer favour an exclusive focus on
relationships, positive relationships and the dynamics of client-therapist communication remain cornerstones of mental health intervention theories. A more recent meta-review concluded that across all interventions models, irrespective of the theoretical approach, the quality of the relationship between therapists and
clients is the second leading determinant of successful clinical outcomes [2]. Over the past ten years we (David Coyle and Gavin Doherty) have designed and evaluated a wide range to systems that provide support for psychological (or talkbased) mental health interventions [3]. Here we briefly consider two recent examples. In each case our aim
was to enhance communication and reshape clinical practice in a manner that empowers patients. gNats Island is a computer game that supports face-to-face
interventions for adolescents [4]. MindBalance is an online treatment programme for adults experiencing difficulties with depression [5].
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '13 workshop Patient-Clinician Communication
Subtitle of host publicationThe Roadmap for Human-Computer Interaction
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2013


  • Mental health
  • face-to-face and remote interventions
  • communication
  • client-therapist relationships


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