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Title
Patients' Experiences of Web- and Mobile-Assisted Group Therapy for Depression and Implications of the Group Setting : Qualitative Follow-Up Study
AuthorSchuster, Raphael ; Sigl, Sophia ; Berger, Thomas ; Laireiter, Anton-Rupert
Published in
JMIR Mental Health, Toronto, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 3, page 1-15
PublishedToronto : JMIR, 2018
LanguageEnglish
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)blended therapy / cognitive behavioral therapy / computer-assisted therapy / depression; internet / smartphone-assisted therapy / therapeutic process / working alliance
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-9992 Persistent Identifier (URN)
DOI10.2196/mental.9613 
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 The work is publicly available
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Patients' Experiences of Web- and Mobile-Assisted Group Therapy for Depression and Implications of the Group Setting [0.49 mb]
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Abstract (English)

BACKGROUND:

Blended group therapy combines group sessions with Web- and mobile-based treatment modules. Consequently, blended group therapy widens the choice within blended interventions at reasonable costs. This is the first qualitative study on blended group therapy.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to investigate the patient-centered feasibility of blended group therapy for major depression, with special emphasis on the fit and dynamic interplay between face-to-face and internet-based elements.

METHODS:

A total of 22 patients who had a variety of experiences through participating in one of the two blended group therapy interventions were interviewed following a semistructured interview guide. In-depth interviews were analyzed by three trained psychologists, using thematic analysis and a rule-guided internet-based program (QCAmap). The transcript of the interviews (113,555 words) was reduced to 1081 coded units, with subsequent extraction of 16 themes.

RESULTS:

Web- and mobile-based elements were described as a treatment facilitator and motivator, increasing the salience and consolidation of cognitive behavioral therapy materials, resulting in in- and inter-session alignment to the treatment. Additionally, patients valued the option of intimate Web-based self-disclosure (by lateral patient-therapist communication), and therapists were provided with tools for between-session monitoring and reinforcement of exercising. In this context, group phenomena seemed to back up therapists' efforts to increase treatment engagement. The dissonance because of noncompliance with Web-based tasks and the constriction of in-session group interaction were considered as possible negative effects. Finally, issues of tailoring and structure seemed to fulfill different preconditions compared with individual therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Blended group therapy constitutes a structured and proactive approach to work with depression, and the integration of both modalities initiates a beneficial interplay. Results support the patient-centered value of blended group therapy and provide the first insight into blended group therapy's role in fostering therapeutic treatment factors. However, potential negative effects should be considered carefully.

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CC-BY-License (4.0)Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License