Supporting Iterative Design of Homework in Problem Solving Therapy
- Elana Agapie, PhD Candidate, Predoctoral Research Associate
- Pat Arean, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
A critical element of learning-based evidence-based psychosocial treatments is goals setting and out-of-session action plans, known as homework. This research will employ Human Centered Design (HCD) methods to identify challenges patients and clinicians face in the use of homework. The research will identify opportunities for clinicians and patients to iteratively design, plan, implement and revise homework tailored to patient needs.
This research applies expertise in mental health and in HCD to address usability and sustained quality of delivery of therapy homework in the context of Problem Solving Therapy (PST), an evidence-based treatment for depression. This pilot will focus on the first two phases of the Discover, Design, Build and Test model. Data from this pilot will inform potential modifications to how homework is managed in interventions like PST.
To understand the challenges that clinicians and patients encounter in creating, tailoring and engaging with therapy homework in a way that fits patient needs, this work uses several approaches: analysis of patient and clinician interactions during PST therapy sessions, interviews with clinicians, and interviews with patients. This data will surface how clinicians and patients engage with homework during and between therapy sessions, and the challenges they encounter in this process. Based on these insights, the research team will design prototypes, and together with clinicians and patients, assess the feasibility of protypes to support the designing, planning, implementing and revising of therapy homework.