This course reviews the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral activation apps for the treatment of depression. This course is based upon material published in the PLOS one journal and is available as an open-access article on their website
Depression is a common mental health condition for which many mobile apps aim to provide support. This review aims to identify self-help apps available exclusively for people with depression and evaluate those that offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or behavioral activation (BA). One hundred and seventeen apps have been identified after searching both the scientific literature and the commercial market. these apps identified through our search offer support that seems to be consistent with evidence-based principles of CBT or BA. Taking into account the nonexistence of effectiveness/efficacy studies, and the low level of adherence to the core ingredients of the CBT/BA models, the utility of these CBT/BA apps are questionable. The usability of reviewed apps is highly variable and they rarely are accompanied by explicit privacy or safety policies. Despite the growing public demand, there is a concerning lack of appropriate CBT or BA apps, especially from a clinical and legal point of view. The application of superior scientific, technological, and legal knowledge is needed to improve the development, testing, and accessibility of apps for people with depression.
This course on the efficacy of apps using CBT to treat depression is designed for social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, nurses, and substance abuse counselors, who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of on the efficacy of apps using CBT to treat depression. The course material includes a literature review of interventions. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
The course is based on a journal article that includes research. It contains statistical analysis and data that some clinicians enjoy reading and others do not. A major benefit of reading research-based articles for continuing education is they provide practitioners with the latest findings in their field.
Authors: Huguet, Rao, McGrath, Wozney, Wheaton, Conrod, Rozario
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding the efficacy of apps using CBT to treat depression. Specifically, a professional will:
- Recognize the benefits of a well-made app meant to help cure depression
- Distinguish between helpful and non-helpful apps
- Explain why not all apps using CBT are good.
Citation: Huguet, A., Rao, S., McGrath, P. J., Wozney, L., Wheaton, M., Conrod, J., & Rozario, S. (2016). A systematic review of cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral activation apps for depression. PLoS One, 11(5), e0154248.