The effectiveness of computerized cognitive behavior therapy (cCBT) for mental disorders is well supported by a large body of research evidence and a long history of clinical use. Waypoint’s products build on this tradition, offering efficacy comparable to expert face-to-face therapy and a user experience that sets them apart from competitors, human or computerized.
About Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Waypoint’s programs are based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) techniques. Unlike some forms of psychotherapy that focus on analyzing patients’ histories or personal relationships, CBT focuses on teaching patients cognitive and behavioral skills and how to apply those skills in their lives. Research shows that CBT is an effective form of psychotherapy for a range of disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders (such as obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias), insomnia, and substance abuse.
CBT’s benefits are longer lasting than those of medication because CBT teaches skills that stay with patients for a lifetime. While patients can relapse quickly after medication is discontinued, CBT supports longer periods of remission and helps patients address recurrences of illness. And unlike medications, CBT has no side effects.
Since the most effective CBT techniques have been thoroughly researched and widely reported, CBT can be standardized, unlike other psychotherapies that often depend on an idiosyncratic “therapeutic alliance” between therapist and patient. Because of this standardization, CBT techniques can be codified and emulated by computers. Numerous studies published in respected medical journals over the past 15 years show that computerized CBT is as effective as expert face-to-face CBT and as medication.
Computerized CBT (cCBT) programs leverage proven techniques from face-to-face therapy to deliver standardized, consistent therapeutic content to patients. Self-management and clinician-supported programs have been developed and validated for a wide range of mental disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, insomnia, and others. These programs have been delivered in multiple media, such as PC-based delivery, interactive voice response, and the Internet. A long history of use in research and clinical settings has provided evidence of the effectiveness of cCBT relative to face-to-face therapy. In fact, a recent cumulative meta-analysis showed that cCBT combined with a modest amount of coaching equaled the effectiveness of high quality face-to-face therapy as early as 1994.
Waypoint maintains a commitment to the rigorous validation of our products. Earlier versions of Thrive and BT Steps have undergone validation trials, the results of which were published separately in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The earlier versions of both programs were delivered via a combination of an interactive voice response (IVR) system a series of booklets.
COPE, the predecessor to Thrive, was shown to be effective in an open, multi-site trial. Study participants who completed the program experienced an average reduction of 52% in depression symptom severity and an average reduction of 41% in depression’s interference with functioning at work and socially. Furthermore, 85% of patients completed at least one CBT-based module, 44% completed at least two, and 20% completed all three; 68% of patients completed the trial; and 68% said they were “very comfortable” using the IVR system.
An earlier version of BT STEPS was evaluated in a randomized-controlled trial. Patients who completed at least two exposure and ritual prevention sessions – the active therapeutic element in CBT for obsessive-compulsive disorder – achieved the same clinical benefit as another group of participants who had 12 hours of face-to-face therapy with expert cognitive behavior therapists. Both BT Steps and face-to-face therapy patients reduced the time they spent obsessing and ritualizing by 3.4 hours per day.
When converting Thrive’s and BT Steps’ predecessors from an IVR/booklet format to a web-based format, Waypoint made every effort to retain the best features of the IVR/booklet versions while leveraging the richness and usability of a web-based interface.
The Role of Coaching
Although Waypoint’s products were validated as stand-alone programs that did not require coaching support, these programs can be offered in combination with coaching to boost effectiveness. Studies of Waypoint products and other cCBT programs show that the addition of a small amount of coaching – typically five to ten minutes per week – to provided by clinician and non-clinician coaches to guide, motivate, and support users has the potential to significantly improve outcomes associated with these programs.
Waypoint works with customers to deploy high quality, flexible, accessible cCBT programs that deliver clinical benefits in line with those offered by the very best therapists – at a fraction of the cost of face-to-face therapy.
- Van ‘t Hof et al., CNS Spectrums, 2009.14(2 Suppl 3): pp. 34-40.
- Osgood-Hynes et al., Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 59:7, July 1998: pp. 358-365.
- Greist et. Al., Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 63:2, February 2002: pp. 138-145.