The Therapeutic Alliance in Digital Mental Health
Richard Newton Rooms
Level 5, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Building
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The therapeutic alliance, the relationship that develops between a therapist and a patient, is a significant factor in the outcome of psychological therapy. As mental healthcare starts to increasingly adopt digital technologies and offer therapeutic interventions that may not involve human therapists, the notion of the therapeutic alliance in digital mental healthcare requires exploration.
Previous early work has examined the nature and role of the therapeutic alliance in digital mental health solutions, and which tools can be used to measure therapeutic alliance with an app. It suggested the importance of the quality of psychological treatment remaining high and consistent if these digital alternatives are to prove valuable.
What is the nature and role of the therapeutic alliance in digital mental health solutions? Does the traditional notion of a quality relationship between client and therapist holds true in the digital environment? Do aspects of the traditional therapeutic alliance have digital analogues and what novel aspects emerge in the digital realm? This symposium is interested in these and a broad range of questions on the theme of the digital therapeutic alliance. We are also interested in the various ways this theme can be explored, such as:
- The standard patient-therapist alliance in the case of telehealth therapy sessions.
- The relationship between a mental health app and its user.
- The relationship between users and their smartphones.
- The nature of the therapeutic alliance in AI-driven interventions, including chatbots and virtual human therapists.
- Ethical issues resulting from this new type of alliance formation.