TAMPA, Fla.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--A recent study conducted by TAO Connect, Inc. at a major university found that therapist-assisted, online programming showed benefits over traditional face-to-face, hour-long psychotherapy sessions for students. The study, titled “Therapist-Assisted, Online (TAO) Intervention for Anxiety in College Students: TAO Outperformed Treatment as Usual,” was recently published in the Journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).
“We have successfully used TAO with students as an adjunct to therapy and also as a stand-alone product, my counselors can see up to three TAO clients in an hour, allowing us to help more students on a regular basis.”
The study showed that the use of online assisted therapy contributed to symptom reduction, a better sense of well-being, higher life functioning, and improved mental health. The treatment combined elements including online education, practice tools and a 15-minute video conference session with a therapist, enabling therapists to see three students per hour instead of the traditional one student per hour.
“Across the country, college campuses are feeling overwhelmed with the growing number of students seeking help for mental health issues. In fact, the demand is increasing five times faster than enrollment. This is a challenge that requires a paradigm shift in how we deliver effective mental health care on college campuses,” said TAO Connect Founder and Chief Science Officer, Sherry Benton. “With student demand for counseling on the rise, the service need will always outpace staff numbers and online technologies are playing a critical role in addressing this problem.”
TAO Connect’s Therapist Assisted Online (TAO) is a platform for anxiety and mental health treatment. This model is built on a seven-module progression and includes weekly video conferencing with a therapist along with daily touch points that allow for more frequent client engagement, such as homework, online educational exercises, and text message reminders. It also integrates the Behavioral Health Measure (BHM-20®), a weekly monitoring instrument enabling information to be gathered from clients that can be used to assess progress and treatment effectiveness.
“The TAO model was founded on the premise that more frequent engagement throughout the week, at times convenient for the client, increases compliance and allows therapists to focus time with the client on the most important topics,” said Benton. “That is an effective option for low intensity cognitive– behavioral therapy used to treat clients with mild to moderate psychological disorders, enabling high intensity, traditional psychotherapy to be reserved for clients with more severe disorders.”
Specifically, the study found that therapy completion rates were as high as, sometimes higher than, rates for face-to-face treatment and relapse rates were low. Additionally, high adherence rates were attributed to high privacy and convenience and low cost.
Previous studies using the online model of education combined with very brief sessions have found an effect even at one year follow-ups.
“We have had a wonderful experience with TAO. It works very well for students suffering from anxiety, depression and other similar symptoms. It has proven to be most helpful for students who lack coping skills, in that TAO immediately provides treatment to help students achieve those skills. From there, we work with them, as appropriate, to address some of the underlying issues,” said Lisa Adams Somerlot, Ph.D., LPC, Director, Counseling Center at University of West Georgia. “We have successfully used TAO with students as an adjunct to therapy and also as a stand-alone product, my counselors can see up to three TAO clients in an hour, allowing us to help more students on a regular basis.”
TAO is currently used by nearly 50 universities across the country. For a full copy of the research report, visit http://www.taoconnect.org/news. For more information on TAO Connect, please visit http://www.taoconnect.org.
About TAO Connect:
TAO’s innovative online mental health treatment was developed when founder, Dr. Sherry Benton, former head of the University of Florida Wellness Center realized that she would never have enough staff to meet service demands using conventional treatment techniques. TAO has since licensed technology from the University of Florida and expanded on that technology with in-house developed intellectual property which has led to an integrated SaaS solution. The company believes their system of shorter interactive therapy sessions and work modules allows mental health professionals a 2-3-fold increase in the number of patients treated while providing better therapeutic results. For additional information please see http://www.TAOconnect.org.