TK Depression Coach: Online Consulting for Depression
It is very hard for me to determine the exact moment when it all started. My first low was probably during my first job. I just moved out of my parent’s house – finally, I had my own life, and a lot of plans. I was so excited, and yet I knew so little what really expected me: All of a sudden, I was alone, I didn’t know anybody in the city, and I considered my colleagues repellent. 60h work per week were demanded, it was too much for me, but everyone did it like that and never questioned it… I just functioned, went on like that, tried not to think. After half a year my body started to change, I lost around 20 pounds – I couldn’t sleep through the night, I always felt exhausted, no power, no desire for anything. I didn’t feel anything at that time, I was empty inside. I remember that I suddenly noticed that I haven’t laughed for weeks. Finally, I came to think from time to time that it would be better, if everything came to an end […].
Letters like this from the 45 years old Ms. M. reach our project office everyday. In the first module of the own-developed consulting program women and men from all over Germany write about the beginnings of their depressed mood, their experiences, thoughts, and feelings from their computers.
A Research Project on Online Interventions for Depressions
In our research project on online based consulting for low level depressed people, we pursue the question, how people like Elisabeth M. can be helped. Various studies proved the effectiveness of online interventions that are modern approaches of support with a flexible location. With the help of our intervention, we want to further investigate the effectiveness with more than 1000 participants:
- What factors do have an effect at the consulting?
- How does the consulting affect the symptoms?
- For whom is this kind of intervention helpful?
- And who does actually take part in it?
Therefore, we have developed an online program together with the TK Depression Coach to deduce this knowledge by the conduction and the evaluation of the program.
Taking into account validated approaches to the treatment of depression and to health promotion, we have developed the TK Depression Coach in cooperation with the Techniker Krankenkasse.
For about two month, our participants receive suggestions online that support and accompany them with the processing and coping of their depressed mood. Psychoeducational modules in the form of texts, audio recordings, and video sequences inform about the clinical picture of depression and the side effects. In addition, the participants occupy themselves with cognitive-behavioral tasks on a weekly basis they can perform in their daily life. A daily schedule, for example, can help to include pleasant activities in their daily life. Interactive audio and video trainings or thought experiments support the participants with the verification of established ways of thinking. Every week, the participants receive a feedback on their progress – a team of psychologists provides online consulting.
An information video on the Depression Coach can be found here.
Knaevelsrud, C., Wagner, B. & Böttche, M. (in Druck). Online-Therapie und -Beratung: Ein Praxisleitfaden zur onlinebasierten Behandlung von psychischen Störungen. Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Knaevelsrud, C. (2014). Neue Kommunikationsmedien in der psychotherapeutischen Versorgung. Psychotherapie Aktuell, 6(2), 9-11.
M. Sc. Pavle Zagorscak
*The letter is based on actual letters of clients, but is as far as possible editorially altered.