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Metanoia Institute Technology in Therapy Research Group

Investigating technology in counselling, therapy and mental health

Chair:              Dr Biljana van Rijn

Members:        Dr Alistair McBeath

                       Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson

                       Dr Ariana Jordan

                       Dr Evi Chryssafidou

                       Tobias Short

                       Dr Laura Thompson

 

Description

The Technology in Therapy Research Group seeks to foster research into, and the development of, technologies of all kinds in facilitating therapeutic provision and/or mental health care.

The group will provide an umbrella structure to link, coordinate and facilitate research activities across Metanoia Institute and with other researchers and institutions. It will seek innovations in the uses of technologies in therapy and will also seek to further exploration of the potential and impact of established technologies. The group will seek to build on current activity in order to create new projects, develop synergies and facilitate mutual support through the cross-fertilisation of ideas and the sharing of complementary knowledge sets.

For the purposes of the group, “technology” is interpreted in its broad sense and can include non-digitised and off-line technologies as well as digital and Internet-facilitated approaches. For example, email, chat, instant messaging, video, stand-alone software, mobile phone apps, text messaging, virtual reality and the therapeutic use of media such as film and television, to name just some examples of the topics that would fall under this group’s remit, can be used to deliver or enhance safe, effective interventions with an impact and reach not always available through traditional means. The characteristics, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses of such technologies

The group does not take a position on whether any given technology is positive or otherwise for those who are impacted by it and projects may examine beneficial and/or undesirable aspects. Projects will be prioritised, where needs be, on the basis of their utility for practice in counselling, psychotherapy and mental health care and the impact they will bring for practitioners and clients. The group will seek to build constructive collaborations between organisations and across industry.

The Technology in Therapy Research Group invites internal and external researchers to take part in joint projects and to bring forward new research.

“From the caution employed (rightly) in the first decade of this century in the application of technology within counselling, psychotherapy and its associated professions … we have matured into no longer being surprised at its existence. … The global environment of society and how we relate to each other has changed fundamentally.” (Anthony, 2016, p. xvi)

Current projects

2022 

MS-PROACTIVE: Preventing job loss using [digital] Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Vocational Rehabilitation - a feasibility trial

Co I: Dr Laura Thompson (Metanoia)

Grant recipients: University of Leeds

PI: Dr Helen Ford (University of Leeds)

Funder: MS Society

Total amount awarded: £145,256

Role: Intervention development and process evaluation 

 

2022    A Case Study in the use of avatar-based therapy Utilising the Externalisation of Problems in an Adult on the Autistic Spectrum, Tobias Short. DCPsych Dissertation research project. Awaiting NHS approval

            The awareness of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) has increased significantly over the years and has led to research and investment in education for younger people with this diagnosis (Lord, et al, 2018; APA, 2013; WHO, 2016).  Interventions for adults have been limited in scope (Blainey et al, 2017), mostly offering NHS diagnostic services.  My research seeks to contribute to a relatively under-researched area of developing psychotherapeutic interventions for adults with ASC. The project is awaiting NHS Approval.

 

2022    Developing avatar assisted counselling for people with ASC  from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Intervention will be collaboratively designed with community organisations, Autus (autistic peoples user led charity), 3DNovations (autistic led social tech firm) and A2nd Voice (supports African, Caribbean, Asian and minority ethnic [ACAME] autistic people and their families in accessing and gaining support).

Using the 3DNovations digital platform researched and developed by Autus/3DNovations with/for autistic people, the intervention will be piloted within the Metanoia Institute community clinic. Post training, the counselling/psychotherapy trainees will deliver the intervention in 6 counselling sessions to the 12 clients referred by Autus and A2nd Voice.

Intervention will be evaluated using ROM (Pragmatic Tracker) and participants and their therapists will be interviewed after the sessions to assess the intervention’s feasibility and acceptability. A video will then be collaboratively produced (with participants’ informed consent) where participants describe their perspectives on mental health related stigma and experience of using the avatar-based model of therapy.

Suitable organisations will then make use of this video on their websites and promotional material to encourage BAME/ACAME community service users to consider seeking help from counselling services.

Dr Ariana Jordan; Dr Biljana van Rijn. The project has received £30k funding from BACP and runs from 1st of May 2022 to the 30th of April 2023.

 

Previous relevant activity

Online counselling in schools as an additional option to face-to-face provision: Exploration of pupils’ experiences and comparison of effectiveness of working in different modalities.

Researcher: Jeanette Hennigan – DPsych (Professional Studies) (Submitted 2018; Awarded Derek Portwood Prize for outstanding contribution to professional practice, 2018/9)

Role: PI under supervision

Avatar Based Counselling with Pro Real in Secondary Schools. Case Study

Grant Recipients: ProReal Ltd.

Funders: NHS Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare

Period: 2015-2016

Total Amount Awarded: £970 000

Metanoia Award: £15 400

Role: PI

 

Avatar Based Counselling with Pro Real in Secondary Schools. Evaluation

Grant Recipients: ProReal Ltd.

Funders: NHS Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare

Period: 2015-2016

Total Amount Awarded: £970 000

Metanoia Award: £38.302

Role: Research Associate

 

Avatar Based therapy within Prison Settings: Pilot Evaluation

Grant Recipients: ProReal Ltd.

Funders: NHS Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare

Period: 2013-2014

Total Amount Awarded: £150 000

Metanoia Award: £40 000

Role: PI

 

Publications

 

McBeath, A.G., du Plock, S., & Bager-Charleson, S. (2020) The challenges and experiences of psychotherapists working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.  Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 20:3: 394-405 https://doi: 10.1002/capr.12326

 

van Rijn, B, Stiles, WB, Chryssafidou, E. Searching for safety: Building meaning bridges using digital imagery in school counselling with a female adolescent, ‘Sally’. Couns Psychother Res. 2020; 00: 1– 20. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12309

van Rijn, B, Chryssafidou, E, Falconer, CJ, Stiles, WB. (2019) Digital images as meaning bridges: Case study of assimilation using avatar software in counselling with a 14‐year‐old boy. Couns. Psychother. Res.. 2019; 00: 1– 12. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12230

Cooper, M., van Rijn, B., & Chryssafidou, E. (2018). Avatar-based counselling for psychological distress in secondary school pupils: pilot evaluation. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 1-14. doi:10.1080/03069885.2018.1506567

 

van Rijn, B., Cooper, M. and Chryssafidou, E. (2018), Avatar-based counselling for young people within school counselling. Qualitative analysis of client experience. Couns. Psychother. Res., 18: 59–70. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2018.1506567

 

Hennigan, J. and Goss, S. P. (2016), UK secondary school therapists' online communication with their clients and future intentions. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 16(3): 149–160.

 

Conferences

  • McBeath, A.G., du Plock, S., & Bager-Charleson, S. (2020)  The challenges and experiences of psychotherapists working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Conference presentation.  FACING COVID-19 & BEYOND  Virtual IMEC International Meaning Conference 25 July 2020

  • Van Rijn, B., Chryssafidou, E. & Stiles, W.B. (2019) SPR UK and European Chapters, Krakow. Contrasting use of avatar-base software by two adolescents in school counselling:Theory-building cases studies on the assimilation model.
  • Van Rijn, B. (2018) Metanoia Institute Research Academy. Developing use of creative media in psychotherapy. Case study research into avatar based therapy ‘Richard’, keynote
  • Van Rijn, B., Falconer, C., Chryssafidou, E., Stiles, W.B (2017) Digital images as meaning bridges. Case study research into the use of avatar based software by adolescents in school counselling. SPR UK and European Chapters, 4th Joint Conference, Oxford, UK.
  • Stiles, W.B., van Rijn, B., Falconer, C.  (2017) Digital images as therapeutic meaning bridges: Use of avatars by a 14 year-old boy in school counselling. SPR 48th Annual International Meeting, Toronto,Canada
  • Van Rijn,B.,Fa;Falconer,C.,Chryssafidou,E.,Stiles,B.  (2017) Avatar Based Counselling for Young People. Case Study ‘Richard’.  BACP Research Conference, Chester,UK
  • Hennigan, J. & Goss, S. (2016). Online counselling in schools as an additional option to face-to-face (f2f) provision: Exploration of pupils’ experiences and comparison of working in different modalities. Brighton, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Society for Psychotherapy Research Conference.
  • Hennigan, J. & Goss, S. (2016). UK school therapists' online communication with their clients and future intentions. Brighton, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Society for Psychotherapy International Research Conference.

 

Research reports and professional products

  • Van Rijn,B., Falconer, C., Chryssafidou, E., Stiles, W.B. (2017) Avatar Based Counselling Within A School Setting. Case Study ‘Richard’. Research report. UK: Metanoia Institute, Nottingham University and University of Roehampton and US: Miami University.
  • Cooper, M., Chryssafidou, E., van Rijn, B. (2016). ProReal  Avatar based counselling with Young People: Evaluation report University of Roehampton and Metanoia Institute.
  • Van Rijn, B., Cooper, M., & Wild, C. (2014). ProReal-based therapy within a prison setting. Evaluation report. London: Metanoia Institute and University of Roehampton.
  • Anthony, K. & Hennigan, J. (2018) Online Therapy Institute Training (OTI) Course: Certified Cyber Therapist – Young People (CCT-YP). Available at https://www.kateanthony.net/cyp-cct/