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Adding an App-Based Intervention to the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy in Routine Outpatient Psychotherapy Treatment: Proof-of-Concept Study

HumanInsight Adding an App-Based Intervention to the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy in Routine Outpatient Psychotherapy Treatment: Proof-of-Concept Study

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Aug 9;6(8):e35482. doi: 10.2196/35482.


BACKGROUND: The Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) is an empirically supported psychotherapeutic treatment developed specifically for persistent depressive disorder. However, given the high rates of nonresponse and relapse, there is a need for optimization. Studies suggest that outcomes can be improved by increasing the treatment dose via, for example, the continuous web-based application of therapy strategies between sessions. The strong emphasis in CBASP on the therapeutic relationship, combined with limited therapeutic availabilities, encourages the addition of web-based interventions to face-to-face therapy in terms of blended therapy.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to test an app-based intervention called CBASPath, which was designed to be used as a blended therapy tool. CBASPath offers 8 sequential modules with app-based exercises to facilitate additional engagement with the therapy content and a separate exercise to conduct situational analyses within the app at any time.

METHODS: CBASPath was tested in an open pilot study as part of routine outpatient CBASP treatment. Participating patients were asked to report their use patterns and blended use (integrated use of the app as part of therapy sessions) at 3 assessment points over the 6-month test period and rate the usability and quality of and their satisfaction with CBASPath.

RESULTS: The results of the pilot trial showed that 93% (12/13) of participants used CBASPath as a blended tool during their therapy and maintained this throughout the study period. Overall, they reported good usability and quality ratings along with high user satisfaction. All participants showed favorable engagement with CBASPath; however, the frequency of use differed widely among the participants and assessment points. Situational analysis was used by all participants, and the number of completed modules ranged from 1 to 7. All participants reported blended use, although the frequency of integration in the face-to-face sessions varied widely.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the digital augmentation of complex and highly interactive CBASP therapy in the form of blended therapy with CBASPath is feasible in routine outpatient care. Therapeutic guidance might contribute to high adherence and increase patient self-management. A few adjustments, such as saving entries directly in the app, could facilitate higher user engagement. A randomized controlled trial is now needed to investigate the efficacy and added value of this blended approach. In the long term, CBASPath could help optimize persistent depressive disorder treatment and reduce relapse by intensifying therapy and providing long-term patient support through the app.

PMID:35943764 | DOI:10.2196/35482

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