Therapy is Broken—Here's How to Fix it

18 Jun 2024

Keeping Patients Engaged and Improving Outcomes from Therapy

Did you know? Studies show that as many as 57% of adults drop out of therapy. Picture this: we spend just an hour a week in a therapist's office and expect to see major changes. We hope that just seeing a therapist will solve all our mental health struggles. And as soon as we leave the therapist's office, life smacks us in the face. Triggers send us right back to our old maladaptive habits and we forget everything we discussed in session.

It’s no surprise people say therapy doesn't work. Traditional methods involve printed worksheets and workbooks which can easily be ignored or forgotten. And they are.

Why Daily Practice is Crucial

If you’re spending just one hour a week in therapy but not applying what you’ve learned to your day-to-day life, you are likely to see little to no change. You'll need more sessions in therapy and results can take a long time to materialize. This lack of progress can lead to frustration and, ultimately, dropout. In order to achieve your mental health goals, you need to take what you've learned in session and do the work.

But how?

Bridging the Gap

There are a handful of software tools out there innovating mental health. Kai is an AI chatbot that supports clients between sessions based on your clinical values as a therapist. Ritual has tailored educational paths to work on with your partner in a relationship counseling setting.

Based on work by Dr. Marc Brackett and his team at the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence, and being led by Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann, is How We Feel. It’s a great app that helps people track their individualized emotions, picking from a grid of 144 separate feelings, on axes of high to low energy, and pleasant to unpleasant. It’s a beautiful app considering how overwhelming the choices can be, and has lots of educational content.

And if you’re familiar with IFS (Internal Family Systems) there’s Sentur, which lets you “chat with your parts” and journal according to the IFS methodology. Both Sentur and How We Feel are not connected to your therapist, though, so there’s no accountability in that regard.

Reflective is another tool making a difference. It's tailored for several therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). It helps manage a range of conditions such as anxiety, depression, addiction, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Think of it as a personal mental health coach that stays with you, urging you to practice and reinforce what you've learned in therapy even when you’re not in a session, with mood trackers, prompts for journaling and helpful content. It's a supportive guide reminding you how to cope with life's challenges.

Best of all? You stay connected directly with your therapist.

Reflective is a game-changer for clinicians, therapists, and healthcare providers. These groups can benefit immensely by reducing the number of sessions needed to see improvement, measuring outcomes and tracking patient progress. For therapists, it's a way to provide support to their clients when they're not in session, without any extra effort.

Positive Early Feedback

While a formal study with Ariel University is still in the pipeline, initial feedback from therapists has been overwhelmingly positive. A digital solution for tracking exercises and homework feels modern and necessary. Reflective supports diverse therapeutic goals, making treatment plans more personalized and effective.

Real-Life Success Stories

One therapist noticed a worry journal entry from a patient at 4 AM, which revealed sleep issues that weren't discussed during sessions. This insight allowed the therapist to address an important yet hidden problem.

Another therapist observed increased suicidal thoughts in a patient’s journal, prompting an extra session to offer timely support and care. This proactive approach might have saved a life.

A patient dealing with trauma used Reflective to engage in exercises like reflecting on the positive and negative aspects of her experience. This constructive processing helped her move beyond rumination, leading to significant mental health improvements.

Benefits for Providers and Insurers

Reflective isn’t just another tool; it’s now an integral part of the therapeutic journey. It provides daily engagement opportunities for patients, helping them stay consistent with their practice and achieve faster and more tangible results. This allows providers and insurers to monitor activity and understand the real impact of their interventions.

Why Incorporate Patient Engagement Software?

Incorporating a reflective tool empowers clients to engage with their mental health journey on their own terms, and keeps them engaged in the therapeutic process. By providing a tool that meets them where they are, therapists can help their clients achieve their mental health goals, leveraging the familiarity and accessibility of their own smartphones.

Enhancing the Mental Health Journey

Reflective is set to revolutionize the way therapy is practiced, ensuring that patients stay engaged and make real progress. If you knew that adding a simple tool to your practice could help your clients feel more successful and improve their mental health, wouldn’t you give it a shot?