01/11/2015 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008581 SemanticScholar ID: 391205 MAG: 2186484624

Patient experience of computerised therapy for depression in primary care

Publication Summary

Objective To explore patient experience of computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) for depression in a pragmatic randomised controlled trial (Randomised Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Acceptability of Computerised Therapy, REEACT). Design Qualitative semistructured interviews with 36 participants. Participants Depressed patients with a Patient Health Questionnaire 9 of 10 or above recruited into the REEACT randomised controlled trial. Setting Primary care settings in England. Results Participant experience was on a continuum, with some patients unable or unwilling to accept psychological therapy without interpersonal contact while others appreciated the enhanced anonymity and flexibility of cCBT. The majority of patients were ambivalent, recognising the potential benefits offered by cCBT but struggling with challenges posed by the severity of their illness, lack of support and limited personalisation of programme content. Low completion rates were commonly reported, although more positive patients reported greater engagement. Both positive and ambivalent patients perceived a need for monitoring or follow-up to support completion, while negative patients reported deliberate non-adherence due to dissatisfaction with the programme. Patients also reported that severity of depression impacted on engagement, and viewed cCBT as unsuitable for patients undergoing more severe depressive episodes. Conclusions The study demonstrates both the unique demands and benefits of computerised therapy. cCBT was preferred by some patients and rejected by others, but the majority of patients were ambivalent about the therapy. cCBT could be offered within a menu of options in stepped care if matched appropriately to individual patients or could be offered with enhanced support to appeal to a greater number of patients. Trial registration number ISRCTN91947481.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Simon Gilbody

Prof. Simon Gilbody

University of York - Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group

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