Dr Rob Nolan Discusses Behavioral Foundations of eCounseling Programs
The use of technology in behavioral interventions is exciting, but it is important to integrate the underlying principles of behavioral science when developing counseling interventions, explained Rob Nolan, PhD, CPsych, director of Cardiac eHealth at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and clinical psychologist and scientist at the Toronto General Research Institute, at the American College of Cardiology 66th Scientific Session, where he presented the results of the REACH eCounseling trial.
Transcript (slightly modified) How can clinicians get the most benefit out of new technologies like eCounseling?
I think what’s important for us is, when we were starting REACH, we saw that technology was certainly growing exponentially, right. There’s a lot of interest in using different types of technological supports, whether it’s text messaging, wearable devices to monitor our responses. I think all that is superb, but I think what worked in REACH was that we were able to extract the evidence-based components of the behavioral counseling models that have been shown to be effective in the past, and I think combining the two really optimizes our interventions.
I think without really having a specific model of behavioral counseling, the technology alone, I don’t think that typically will sustain the change. Also, the kinds of comparisons that we could make from trial to trial really will vary and we’ll have that ongoing problem of heterogeneity of treatment effects, because there won’t be any consistency. I think the counseling or clinically applied science is really important to integrate here for that reason.