Wendy Bradley is a Child and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Child Development and a rare skill set, honed by years of experience working with children and their families. “The great thing about working with kids is that each time they come in ready to roll. Even if I spend only six weeks with a child, I feel like the impact I make can last a lifetime. This positive experience with me and learning that they can express themselves safely will carry forward for them in some small way,” says Wendy. [Read more…] about How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Anxiety
Client Mobile App Improvements
Journaling without prompts
We’ve learned that some of our mobile app users prefer a more relaxed journaling format, one without prompts or follow-up questions. Voila! We created it.
Chatbot intelligence and feedback
The AI-driven chabot, which powers guided journaling, learns more with time and use. Now, mobile users can quickly let us know when a chatbot’s response misses the mark. With this in-app feedback we will improve guided journaling faster and eventually eliminate faulty responses.
Connecting to therapist account
There’s been some confusion around connecting therapist web accounts to client mobile accounts. Now therapists and clients can see when they are connected. No more confusion!
Therapist Web App Improvements
Mood tracking graph
Now, therapists can see the data from their clients’ mood tracker in their dashboard.
Therapists no longer need to wonder whether or not a client accepted an invitation and started using the app. They can check their dashboard and, if needed, resend the invitation.
Better customer support
We want to build a product you love, so your opinion matters. That’s why we’ve added anew, easy ways for you to give us your feedback and get in touch with us.
Easy mobile app access for therapists
If a therapist wants to test out the client mobile app, now they don’t have to create a new account. They can just download the app (iOS or Android) and log in with their existing username and password. No more need to create a new account!
A few more updates are in the works:
- Soon, clients will be able to bookmark the journal entries they want to discuss during a session. They will get reminders about these bookmarks before the session.
- More activities for therapists to schedule for their clients.
- Therapists will be able to receive notifications when their clients engage with Therachat.
Mental fitness tools built to provide anxiety management techniques and improve therapy outcomes.
Data Reinforces Need for More Education, Support, and Resources; Underscores Importance of National Mental Health Awareness Month
Last month, we’ve conducted a nationwide survey of 900 U.S. respondents. It benchmarked general anxiety levels as well as identified the top triggers, impact to regular activities and effectiveness of coping exercises. The survey was conducted online among a cross section of generational groups including Gen Z (ages 19 and under), Millennials (ages 20 to 36), Gen X (ages 37 to 52), Baby Boomers (ages 53 to 72) and Silent Generation (ages 73+). We also analyzed differences in gender, relationship status, location type and employment status. The data insights emphasize the role anxiety plays in the lives around us and shows that while therapy is proven to help, therapist visits are not being sought out. Here’s what we’ve discovered:
- 47 percent of respondents experience anxiety daily, 28 percent experience anxiety weekly and 18 percent experience anxiety monthly.
- The top three anxiety triggers are “confrontation” (68 percent), “the future” (68 percent) and “work/school” (67 percent).
- Of those who experience anxiety (daily, weekly or monthly), the majority (92 percent) believes they “cannot fix it alone.” However, 67 percent do not get the support and understanding they need from those close to them. This number was a lot higher with those who are widowed (89 percent) or divorced (79 percent).
- The majority (77 percent) of respondents with anxiety do not currently go to a therapist. The most common reason being attributed to cost (44.6 percent) and self-identifying symptoms as “mild” (40.3 percent).
- Of the 23 percent of respondents who visit a therapist, 46 percent find the sessions effective and 47 percent feel progress is hard to measure. With Gen X, 81 percent of therapy patients find it effective.
“In support of National Mental Health Awareness Month, this report is aimed to showcase the prevalence of anxiety, create opportunities to discuss mental health issues and build a culture of acceptance,” said Kouris Kalligas, CEO and co-founder of Therachat. “We’re dedicated to providing resources and tools that will benefit people suffering from anxiety and to help them cope with and achieve mental fitness goals. As part of these efforts and to promote self-awareness, we’re continuing to expand the capabilities of our artificial intelligence-driven journaling tool with the mission of reminding people to slow down, document and examine their thoughts.”
Therachat is a smart, HIPAA-compliant guided journaling tool that aims to improve therapy outcomes and provide anxiety management techniques. It’s used by therapists and their clients as well as individual users who want to improve their mental health. Therachat’s mobile app for therapy clients and users without a therapist is driven by an interactive 24/7 AI-powered chatbot that helps achieve mental fitness and therapy goals. Its web-based dashboard provides therapists with real-time insights and analysis to inform in-person sessions and keep clients on track in-between visits. Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., Therachat is available nationwide through its web and mobile applications. For additional information, visit https://therachat.io.
Brought to you by Therachat.
The free anxiety management mobile app, Therachat, can be downloaded in App Store or Google Play. If you’re a therapist, you can sign up for the special web version of Therachat using the form below, and then add your clients to help them manage their anxiety outside of in-person therapy sessions. Learn more about the HIPAA-compliant mental health tool here.
Mental fitness tools built to provide anxiety management techniques and improve therapy outcomes.
It’s no secret that today’s society contributes to and feeds the development of anxiety in many of us. Some of the most common forms of anxiety result from over-immersing oneself with information and media.
Social media, online news, and the 24-hour cable news cycle mean that we are constantly bombarded with media that can inform us if consumed appropriately, but that can also easily overwhelm us. San Francisco-based psychiatrist Dr. Krishan Abeyatunge cites the avalanche of media headlines as an example, explaining that if you are constantly consuming news about everything that is wrong with the world, it can generate a level of existential dread. [Read more…] about Tips for Dealing with Anxiety
At Therachat, we aim to avoid designing in a vacuum as much as possible. We involve our target users in the design process through what’s called a co-design session. Our target users — people with anxiety — are the experts in their own experiences, so it only makes sense to involve them so we can better understand and carry forward their mental models, goals, and needs.
A colleague and I ran our first-ever co-design session with our target users in March 2017. The kicker — I also have anxiety. I know what it’s like to walk alongside them on our respective journeys. I also know that due to an unfortunate stigma, it can be difficult to open up about your own mental health, especially in a room full of strangers. Until that stigma is vanquished, we need to take care in how we talk about mental health.
Here are some tips I collected from planning and running our first supportive, welcoming co-design session in case they are helpful for fellow UX practitioners designing their own:
Establish expectations before the session
We send every participant an email beforehand that outlines key details of their session — both the logistical (scheduled time, how many other participants will be in the room) and the objective. We also let them know it would absolutely be ok if they don’t feel comfortable answering certain prompts during our time together.
If you have phone numbers on hand, give them a ring before the session to check in. If I put myself in my participants’ shoes, I would appreciate hearing a friendly voice who can answer any questions as I’m getting ready for the session, especially if I have never participated in something like this before. (This tip can apply to any research method, not just co-design.)
Create a “Yes, and…” environment
One of the pillars of improv is “Yes, and…” It helps establish an environment of collaboration by building off of each other’s ideas. At Therachat, we embrace that philosophy. We introduced it to our participants by playing an improv game to break the ice at the start of the session. (See “0. Yes, BUT… vs. Yes, AND…’ within the article.)
The mindset of this game played out during the rest of the session. I saw heads nod as participants shared stories, heard ideas expand in the room, and felt apart of something special. These two hours offered a glimpse of camaraderie among strangers based on their shared experiences.
Have time for feedback
My colleague and I used a simple and valuable framework for gathering participant feedback at the end of the session: the d.school’s “I like, I wish, What if.” Being open to feedback can only help us iterate and improve on future co-design sessions.
Participate in addition to facilitate
As facilitators, we fully embraced the “co-design” philosophy. We chose to share our own experiences with anxiety and immersed ourselves in the activities we created, in part because we were walking the journey, too, and in part to make participants feel more comfortable opening up about their own experiences.
During our “I Like, I Wish, What If” activity, someone shared that they appreciated the facilitators participating in the activities. Doing so can help break down the dynamic in the room. This tip may not be applicable for every co-design session, though, depending on the focus.
Have any other tips for creating a supportive, welcoming co-design session? Please share them in the comments!
According to Psychology Today, “One of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety is to keep a running record of your thoughts on paper. There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down.” Dr. Maggie Perry, the founder of Huddle.Care, agrees. Dr. Perry says that quick, in-the-moment journal can be extremely beneficial to someone with anxiety.
“When inklings of anxiety begin to arise, take a step back, consider all aspects of these sensations and journal about them as they happen. This is a good technique for reconciling your anxious feelings with what you’ve learned about your anxiety and what you know to be true,” says Dr. Perry.
In other words, do not believe everything you feel.
Writing a journal to examine and challenge feelings
Writing a journal provides an opportunity to examine and challenge your feelings. Dr. Perry adds that “there are other times, like life transitions, in which just having someone write for thirty minutes each morning about what they think and feel about that transition will bring down their stress, bring down their anxiety, and make them more resilient against depression because they are more self-aware.”
Journal entries as self-reflection
Kaia Kordic, a licensed MFT who splits her time between her private practice and the county foster care services, believes that journaling and self-reflection are some of the most proactive and healthiest ways to practice self-awareness.
“Journaling helps develop that awareness muscle. If a client reflects on her fight with the boyfriend only during the session, progress will take a lot longer. But, if she journals about it or tracks symptoms and conflicts throughout the week, she will become aware of her choices, actions, and experiences sooner.” – Kaia Kordic, Marriage and Family Therapist
Kaia recommends test-driving Therachat, a new tool that allows clients to journal on their phones. It’s available to clients and therapists interested in improving therapy outcomes. “Therachat is going to be really helpful for clients who need the self-reflection process in between therapy sessions,” says Kaia. “The insights and analysis it provides to therapists are also going to be helpful. It is one thing to see someone’s memo on their phone,‘ I’m anxious today, I’m not anxious today,’ but to see their mood patterns throughout the week in a clean format and be able to focus on important topics together is another. I would imagine that people would get better faster.”If clients see mood patterns throughout the week in a clean format and be able to focus on important topics, people would get better faster. Click To Tweet