A brief coping-focused intervention for distressing voices blended with smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment and intervention: findings from two case studies

Poster C62, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Imogen H Bell1, Sarah F Fielding-Smith2,3, Mark Hayward2,3, Susan L Rossell1,4, Michelle H Lim1, John Farhall5,6, Neil Thomas1; 1Centre for Mental Health, Swinburne University of Technology, 2Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, 3School of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK, 4Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincent’s Hospital, 5Department of Psychology and Counselling, La Trobe University, 6North Western Mental Health, Melbourne Health

Digital technologies such as smartphones show promise for supporting and enhancing psychological treatments for distressing experiences such as hearing voices. One way in which this is achieved is by utilising digital tools within standard therapy settings to improve the efficacy of therapeutic components and establish linkages to daily life. Blended therapies, involving both standard face-to-face therapies along-side digital technologies, have shown benefit in the treatment of persisting mental health problems such as psychosis. Two promising technologies are termed ecological momentary assessment and intervention (EMA/I), which typically use smartphone apps to assess experiences as they arise in their natural environment and deliver interventions at these moments to provide immediate therapeutic support. In addition, analysis of EMA data can give rise to individualised symptom profiles that might improve understanding and inform more tailored interventions. In this study, a highly novel intervention approach was developed involving four face-to-face sessions blended with EMA/I between sessions to improve coping with distressing voice hearing experiences. As an initial stage of development, two participants with persisting voice hearing experiences completed the intervention at a Melbourne-based clinic specialising in the treatment of hearing voices. Feedback was primarily positive regarding different elements of the intervention, particularly the use of EMI to assist with day-to-day self-management of voices and the use of EMA data to inform functional analysis in session. Some reliable clinical improvements were observed, suggesting this intervention approach has potential clinical utility in the psychological treatment of distressing voices and potentially other severe mental health difficulties.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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