We live in a time of diminishing healthcare resources, where the mental well-being of individuals is often impacted by session limits imposed by public healthcare systems. Although clinical guidelines recommend longer term and intensive treatments, services are frequently underfunded (in Australia only 10 individual Medicare sessions are funded per year regardless of diagnosis) with many clients unable to access the treatments they need, leading to serious repercussions for their mental health. eHealth tools could pave the way for improving the mental health of clients who have been negatively impacted by the limitations of public healthcare systems or their financial capacity to afford treatment.
Given this environment therapists need to leverage use of the tools available to them, maximising benefits of treatment, as well as minimising time and delivery costs where possible. As Schema Therapy is an approach often used for clients with complex psychological disorders requiring long term therapy, it is important that we continue to innovate and find new ways of improving client care within current constraints. We need to trial these innovative methods to ensure the benefit is proven and an evidence-based approach is used.
One of the innovative approaches being trialled and used is Group Schema Therapy. Group Schema Therapy provides an effective and practical solution to the increasing demands for the accessibility of Schema Therapy through mental health care systems across the world.
Another emerging innovation for Schema Therapy has been the introduction of eHealth tools. At this time very few eHealth tools are designed specifically for the needs of clients who are receiving Schema Therapy.
The development of eHealth solutions has the potential to add significant value to face-to-face treatment at minimal cost. In turn, this has the potential to reduce the number of face-to-face sessions required, whilst improving the experience of support and connection between therapist and client outside of session. eHealth tools have several advantages over traditional forms of delivery; they can save therapist time, enhance treatment potency, reduce stigmatisation, and increase client access to evidence-based care. They cut traveling time, allowing clients to work at their own pace and help them to balance occupational and family duties with therapy. eHealth tools which operate on mobile devices can place therapeutic tools in the hands of clients when they need them most.
Priovi is a specialised eHealth tool for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) based on Schema Therapy, which is designed to be offered together with individual face-to-face sessions. In the pilot study they applied a combination of one individual face-to-face session per week and use of Priovi for one hour per week (replacing one face-to-face session) over the course of one year. Preliminary results from the pilot indicated that integrating eHealth into BPD-specific treatments can potentially increase treatment intensity and enhance treatment effects.
Psybank is another eHealth platform designed to track psychological symptoms for clients. It is being developed by a leading schema therapist and assists therapists with strategies for Schema Therapy and Cognitive Therapy.
At Secure Nest our mission is to enrich client well-being through the use of technology. We have developed our eHealth platform to assist therapists in empowering clients to change entrenched life patterns and address their core emotional needs in everyday life. Secure Nest assists therapists and clients to enhance connection and engagement between sessions, along with promoting self-expression and autonomy. It was developed in consultation with leading international schema therapists to ensure it can be adapted for a diverse local and global community. It provides a collaborative workspace for therapists to support their clients using Schema Therapy based on the mode model.
Secure Nest is unique in the sense that it is:
• The first eHealth tool of its kind (using Schema Therapy) with the flexibility to address a broad range of presenting difficulties.
• Visually attractive with a responsive design making it suitable for use across a range of devices including mobile phones, tablets and personal computers.
• Tailored to the personal needs of the client at a given moment, and adaptive to the individual case conceptualisation and the phase of treatment.
Participants in a pilot study which looked at user experience found that Secure reported the following benefits:
• Meeting clients’ needs between sessions.
• Providing a sense of ongoing contact, connection and sharing.
• Facilitating awareness and reflection in the moment.
• Self-monitoring and tracking therapeutic progress.
• Ease of access to therapy tools and organisation of information.
• Contributing to collaboration and a sense of togetherness.
If you are new to using technology with your therapeutic approach, we provide free video conference training sessions on our platform and are developing a structured approach to integrating the use of Secure Nest into Schema Therapy. We would encourage you to embrace the change and if support would be helpful we welcome your enquiries to: [email protected]
The Secure Nest Team