A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH ANXIETY
the ask: create an independent study project
timeline: 15 weeks
how can a product be used to increase homework compliance in therapy?
a smart phone case with self-guided therapy software that can help people with anxiety and OCD.
forty million adults every year are affected by anxiety; however, 1 out of 5 people does not have health insurance, making the affordance of in-office therapy limited.
typically therapy visits are week-to-week, an hour long, lasting in an agreed-upon length for treatment. however, therapy culture is changing because homework behaviors are changing. homework non-compliance is one of the top-cited reasons for failure in therapy.
an article from 2017 states there is a unique opportunity to enhance CBT homework compliance through the use of smartphones, but there are no guidelines and no existing research that directly address the design of mobile phone apps for this purpose. with the help of therapists, designers have an opportunity to change that statement by creating the rules and guidelines.
introducing emma, the first self-guided therapy phone case. anxiety is essential for survival because it motivates behavior. we are following a set of biologically pre-programmed instinctual urges, enacting a set of behaviors hardwired into the brain. we can't eliminate anxiety, but we can have a better relationship with it.
this is an example of what happens after the case is plugged into a smartphone.
the software guides the user through the setup, starting with the hotspot buttons. the buttons can be used to hotspot actions when having an anxiety attack or in a stressful situation such as play music, call home, or open a favorite app.
loud colors and dates can be overwhelming which is why calm blues and days are used instead. each day a lesson about anxiety and opportunity to "talk" about mental health are presented to begin a routine of cataloging feelings and emotions as they happen.
cataloging feelings, thoughts, and emotions in real-time help pinpoint situations that are troublesome. once a person is consciously aware of the situations that cause their stress and anxiety, they can work at adjusting those situations in the future.
learn more about ecological momentary assessments [EMA]
a mobile app is the next natural progression to increase homework compliance in therapy
august - december 2018
experts in the field: Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow, and Dr. Scott Vrana
VCU graduate symposium research qualifier