Collectively many of us have been finding that over the past year our mental health has really taken a hit. We may find that activities we used to love have become bitter in our mouths. We are finding that transitioning back into pre-covid routines and being more socially active is harder than we thought it would be. We may even be finding our stress leaking into many other areas of our personal and interpersonal lives. In response to this more of us are turning to various forms of therapy in order to help us move forward. Interestingly one field that is helping us receive the mental health support we need is data analytics.
What Does Therapy Have to Do with Data?
There are a wide range of reasons you might be seeking a therapist, including because of problems with relationships and your love life or challenges with anxiety or depression. The problem is that even once you know therapy would be useful, finding a good therapist is always challenging. Today many of us can access high quality therapy and other online help right from our own living rooms. We can find someone who is available on our schedule and who has experience with the particular combination of issues we are facing.
While this access is good news, you can strengthen your search and make it more likely that you will find a good fit by taking advantage of analytics. When you are choosing an online therapist it is important to know what certifications your therapist has, if they are certified in your state, and the type of therapy they offer. The more data you have available to you the more likely you will have a positive and meaningful experience.
How Therapists Use Data
Big data and analytics have been used in the healthcare setting for a long time but its importance has only increased as we move into a post pandemic world. For healthcare providers including those who provide therapy services big data can be used to provide analytics about their clinical, financial, and operational health.
In the clinical setting analytics provides one tool in your therapist’s toolbox to help personalize your treatment and help you be more successful. One area in which therapists are using such data is feedback-informed treatment, in which a therapist uses computer surveys and algorithms to track your progress and predict whether you’re at risk of having your mental health worsen. Such feedback-informed treatment involves surveys before and after your session where you are allowed to think about what is going well in your treatment, what you are struggling with, and what may need to be tweaked a little to be more effective. This information allows your therapist to have a better idea of how you are doing and if they can help you or if a different provider would be more useful.
On the financial and operational side, analytics allows your therapist’s provider group to find ways that they can run a more effective office. This allows them to better manage claims and costs as well as make sure they have the staffing needed to provide therapy. A therapist who is overworked will be more likely to not be able to provide the personal attention that you need when you go for therapy.
Using Data to Understand Yourself
In addition to reaching out to a therapist there are a wide range of ways to monitor your own mental health. In the same way that you can count your steps and see how well you sleep via your smartphone you can use similar internet based tools to stay on top of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. There are tools where you can check in daily and see patterns in how you are feeling. There are also tools where you can work on additional materials related to the type of therapy you are getting. There are major advantages to being able to track your progress over time, so you know if you are making progress on the challenges you are working with your therapist on or if you need to seek a different person to work with.
When it comes to our mental health, we can take advantage of the power of analytics at every stage of our program from choosing a therapist, to helping our therapist provide us the most useful assistance and finally to helping us have understanding around our own progress. Analytics makes it easier for us to proactively make choices that will make us feel better in the long run and will help us improve our relationships with others and with ourselves.