behavioral health

Psychology Residents Experience Telehealth Frontiers

Professional workshops often include role-playing activities. But they usually don’t involve the workshop leader creating an image on a large screen of the vehicle in front of you being flipped by an IED blast as a volunteer describes a war-zone ambush. That kind of thing definitely makes an impression on an audience.

"People told me they were riveted," said Dr. Barbara Rothbaum, the workshop presenter who operated the virtual reality program while a volunteer psychologist wearing a head-mounted display role-played reliving memories of trauma.

A Smartphone App Offers Hope

When someone is discouraged, maintaining perspective can be difficult. Our new mobile app--the Virtual Hope Box (VHB)—can help with that. It’s based on a physical “hope box” that some clinicians use with their patients--an actual box where patients can collect things that are soothing, that remind them of good times and their achievements, that help them feel worthwhile or give them hope.

Making an App for Depression Better

PAJ 2.0 Activity screen

Pleasant Event Scheduling (PES) can now be done on your personal smartphone with a mobile app called Positive Activity Jackpot (PAJ). PES is a term that psychologists use for “brainstorming for healthy activities” – a behavioral health exercise for depression that’s traditionally done with pen and paper. And unless you’re privy to all the clinical research to know that it’s a solid and clinically valid tool for depression, it’s an exercise that on the surface could seem almost trivial.

Telehealth is just as good...

My colleagues and I recently published a meta-analysis which compared synchronous telehealth therapy to standard care for the reduction of depression symptoms. For those unfamiliar with the term, telehealth is the use of technology to connect patients and providers separated by distance and time. Synchronous telehealth therapy is the use of videoconferencing or teleconferencing to conduct therapy with patients.

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