Researchers seek participants with chronic health conditions for online course

By Everett Dorma Posted: May 24, 2019 1:00 p.m.

Online Chronic Health Conditions therapy course is available free to all Canadian residents
Online Chronic Health Conditions therapy course is available free to all Canadian residents Screenshot: www.onlinetherapyuser.ca

The Online Therapy Unit (OTU) is providing a free, internet-delivered therapy program for people with chronic health conditions. 

“We are currently looking for individuals with chronic health conditions that would like to learn ways to

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Research assistant Giuliano
La Posta is a member of the
Online Therapy Unit. Photo:
U of R Photography

improve their mental health,” said Giuliano La Posta, a research assistant in the Online Therapy Unit under the supervision of Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos. “The guided eight-week program provides participants with training to help self-manage their chronic health condition and improve their mental health.” 

The internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program is available for free to all Canadian residents aged 18 years or older, who have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition for at least three months, and are experiencing related symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. The program is limited to those individuals that do not have a high risk of suicide or severe mental health problems. 

The Chronic Health Conditions Course provides instruction and guidance on simple and effective techniques for managing symptoms often experienced by those with chronic health conditions. Very broadly, the course helps people with thoughts, behaviours, and physical symptoms related to their chronic health condition, pain, depression, and anxiety. Research shows that it helps people gain control over their symptoms, improve their confidence, and get back to living a full, satisfying life. 

“We have been working in partnership with Macquarie University, Australia, which initially developed the Chronic Health Conditions Course and we are seeking to explore the results of the program when offered in Canada,” said Dr. Hadjistavropoulos, Professor of Psychology and Founder and Director of the OTU. “Previous research suggests that ninety-five per cent of clients who complete the program indicate it is helpful and that they would recommend it to a friend. We are seeking to explore the extent to which participants in Canada will use and benefit from the Course.” 

The research is being conducted specifically by the University’s Psychology Wellbeing Innovation, Service & Education Lab (Psychology-Wise Lab) which focuses on conducting research designed to improve the psychological wellbeing and functioning of individuals suffering with mental health conditions, often with other simultaneous medical conditions. The majority of current research is conducted via the OTU at the University of Regina, a government-funded clinic supporting the development and delivery of therapist-assisted ICBT throughout Saskatchewan. 

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from taking part in the course additional information can be found here. Anyone interested in taking part in the program can also call: 306-337-3331 or email: online.therapy.user@uregina.ca. 

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