Empower Interactive takes a telemedicine approach to psychotherapy

By May 01, 2013
computer keyboard with health key in red

Empower Interactive provides companies with a means of offering their employees interactive psychotherapy programs to help increase their well-being – while maintaining strict confidentiality.


Employees’ well-being is of fundamental importance and it is a key factor for their productivity. It is nevertheless not always enough for a company to provide a suitable working environment and ensure a good atmosphere, especially for those employees who suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. For this reason, a large number of firms today offer psychotherapy services to their staff, often on a company-internal basis. However these methods have their limitations, not least because those seeking this kind of help usually want to maintain full confidentiality. Moreover many methods in use do not allow the company to see the overall impact they are having on the workforce and measure their effectiveness. Now San Francisco-based Empower Interactive has created an online platform to deliver programs based on the concepts of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), widely used in clinics as a complement to more traditional treatment, and has developed a company-specific model that enables a firm to improve the well-being of its people in the workplace while protecting their anonymity. Statistics using the anonymous data can then be extracted to provide information on how employees are progressing and on the overall impact of the programs.

Online cognitive-behavior therapy sessions

The main remote module developed by Empower Interactive is called Good Days Ahead (GDA). It offers interactive psychotherapy sessions to help people manage stress, anxiety and depression more effectively. The sessions are structured as interactive e-learning applications. The Cognitive-Behavior Therapy approach used by Empower Interactive differs from the traditional version only in that it is computer-based, and is therefore known as C-CBT. The technique is a form of psychotherapy based on a cognitive model – i.e. it focuses on the way we perceive situations and how these situations influence our emotions. Making the talk therapy available via computer also has the advantage that this facilitates collection and analysis of data.

Enabling organizations to help staff improve their own well-being

Two versions of Good Days Ahead are on offer. First of all there’s the ‘Clinical Service’, where the GDA program is implemented as part of clinic-based treatment; here the program may be used to complement coaching sessions or traditional therapy. Apart from the educational experience offered by the platform, clinical healthcare providers can see how their patients are progressing online. The other version – developed specially for companies – is the ‘Wellness Version’. The stated objective is that firms can offer staff who are suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression autonomous programs and tools designed to help them help themselves. Sufferers can learn the simple techniques involved, knowing that confidentiality vis-à-vis their employer is being maintained. Nevertheless statistics can be extracted in order to monitor employees’ overall development and progress, and to obtain some estimate of the return on investment in these programs.

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