This side of the project explores how integrating technology in treatments can contribute to compassion, how we can evaluate compassion in such treatments, and how therapists can be supported with guidelines to integrate technology in their treatment while fostering compassion. To do so, we will work together with mental healthcare professionals and clients to co-design and evaluate new ways of working with eMental health, centered on compassion.
Evaluating technology on compassion
To be able to quantitatively assess to what extent technology is perceived in later design and evaluation tasks as compassionate we are working on the development of a ‘Compassionate Technology Scale’. Items for this scale will be drafted based on current scientific literature on the elements of compassion. Through qualitative research, we will test this item sample with clients, therapists, and eHealth developers, to see which items they find important, valuable and understandable. Based on this, we will select items for our scale, and test these items quantitatively on validity and reliability with a larger sample. Finally, construct validity will be studied with relevant constructs from behavior change models such as acceptance, motivation, support and engagement.
New blended treatment way of working centered on compassion
Here, the focus is to create a shared vision and guidelines for compassionate blended treatment. It is important to focus on the roles of each of the key-players in this: the therapist, the client and the technology, and how compassion is a shared value for all elements of this triad. We will make use of focus groups, interviews, and observations of the current way of working, to create a shared vision for compassionate blended treatment. Then, we will organize co-design meetings with therapists, clients, and managers to develop guidelines for two current eMental health practices. These eMental health practices are (1) combining tele-conferencing, eMental Health modules or routes as implemented in Minddistrict, and asynchronous communication, and (2) enrollment of new clients and the possibility of subsequent self-management with eMental Health modules, with limited therapist involvement. The two different guidelines will be evaluated with interviews and the Compassionate Technology Scale.