Mobile Applications as Mobile Learning and Performance Support Tools in Psychotherapy Activities

Mobile Applications as Mobile Learning and Performance Support Tools in Psychotherapy Activities

Maria Luisa Perez-Guerrero, Jose Maria Monguet-Fierro, Carmina Saldaña-Garcia
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-042-6.ch018
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The purpose of the chapter is the analysis of mobile applications as performance and informal learning support tools that facilitate the development of the psychotherapy process. The “e-therapy” has become a common term to refer the delivery of mental health services, on-line or related to a computer mediated communication between a psychotherapist and the patient. Initially, a background on e-therapy will be provided through the analysis of the existing related literature, the description of the state of the art. After this general view as starting point, the “self-help therapy”–a kind of e-therapy where the concept of patient empowerment is important– will be exposed to depict the importance of patient activities beyond the clinical settings in the rehabilitation process. Then, the integration of mobile devices in the psychotherapy process will be explained considering how their technological features support patient therapeutic activities like behavior assessment and informal mobile learning. The relation of the mobile devices with psychotherapist work activities such as evidence gathering and patient monitoring will also be explained. The chapter follows with a discussion on the mobile learning practices as a source of potential strategies that can be applied in the therapeutic field and finally a set of recommendations and future directions are described to explore new lines of research.
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The integration of mobile applications with existing therapies or treatments is relatively new, and has not been studied in depth. This chapter falls within the area of psychology, and more specifically within the process of psychotherapy, considered as one continuous interactive process from the perspective of the information systems. The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in therapy enhances or facilitates particular stages of the process. The field that relates ICTs to psychotherapy is known as e-therapy, and self-help therapy is one kind of therapy-ICT practices supported by mobile devices. Mobile applications (using mobile devices) provide greater validity and generalizability, since data are collected in the patient’s natural environment. Therapy process requires an informal learning process in the patient; performance support and mobile devices are useful tools for these purposes. Therefore, the mobile learning strategies have a potential application and may allow the exploration of new practices in the e-therapy field. This offers an interesting field for the ICT research.

The main challenge in this new field is that application developers and therapists understand the strengths and weaknesses of the technology in order to integrate it into appropriate pedagogical –learning– and therapy practices.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Learning: Individualized e-learning delivery through a mobile device.

E-Health: An emerging field where health services and information are delivered or enhanced through the ICTs included Internet.

Performance Support: Aid improvement for user´s activities.

Mobile Applications: Software designed for mobile devices.

E-Therapy: Mental health services partial or total support by Information and Communication Technologies.

Mobile Therapy: Personal provision of e-therapy through a mobile device.

Self-Help Therapy: Personal psychotherapy over Internet with or not professional intervention.

Telehealth: The use of Information and Communication Technologies to provide remote access to health information and services as diagnostic, treatment, information dissemination and education.

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