Recalibrating Therapy for Our Wired World

From The New York Times:

BrainFor some, the new technology is clearly a boon. Let’s say you have the common anxiety disorder social phobia. You avoid speaking up in class or at work, fearful you’ll embarrass yourself, and the prospect of going to a party inspires dread. You will do anything to avoid social interactions. You see a therapist who sensibly recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy, which will challenge your dysfunctional thoughts about how people see you and as a result lower your social anxiety. You find that this treatment involves a fair amount of homework: You typically have to keep a written log of your thoughts and feelings to examine them. And since you see your therapist weekly, most of the work is done solo. As it turns out, there is a smartphone app that will prompt you at various times during the day to record these social interactions and your emotional response to them. You can take the record to your therapist, and you are off and running.

Struggling with major depression? Digital technology may soon have something for you, too. Depressed patients are characteristically lacking in motivation and pleasure; an app easily could lead patients through the day with chores and activities, like having a therapist in one’s pocket. Not just that, but the app might ask you to rate depressive symptoms like sleep, energy, appetite, sex drive and concentration in real time, so that when you next visit your psychiatrist, you can present a more accurate picture of your clinical status without having to worry about your recall.

More here.