Synchronous digital couple and family psychotherapy: a meta‐narrative review

Helps, Sarah and Le Coyte Grinney, Marianne (2021) Synchronous digital couple and family psychotherapy: a meta‐narrative review. Journal of Family Therapy . ISSN 0163-4445 (Print); 1467-6427 (Electronic)

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Objective: Our objective was to identify, review and synthesise the findings of articles regarding the practice of synchronous digital couple and family psychotherapy over the past three decades. Methods: A meta‐narrative approach was adopted. Results: Thirty‐one papers were identified for inclusion in the review, including nine descriptions of practice and 22 empirical studies. Conclusions: Findings show that practitioners have used synchronous digital technologies in their work over decades. Psychoeducative and cognitive‐behaviourally oriented hybrid, self‐directed synchronous family and couple psychotherapeutic interventions have been found to be feasible, effective with diverse populations, are associated with good user satisfaction, and are found to have similar clinical outcomes to in‐person psychotherapy. Further research is required. Practitioner points: Over the past 30 years there has been increasing interest in utilising new technologies in couple and family psychotherapeutic interventions to improve access to services and to help with a variety of presenting problems. For families and couples, interventions involving web‐based psychoeducative material combined with ‐ often minimal ‐ synchronous therapeutic or coaching input seem feasible, acceptable and effective. More quantitative and qualitative research into digitally mediated couple, family and systemic psychotherapy is required to determine what works, with whom and how it works in practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Couple Therapy, Digital, Family Therapy, Online, Psychotherapy, Synchronous
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Couple & Marital Therapy
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Family Therapies
Department/People: Special Units

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