The Brief Behavioral Activation Treatment for Depression (BATD; Lejuez et al., 2001; Lejuez et al., 2011) is a highly individualized intervention that uses structure and support to help patients live a life consistent with their values and goals. Details regarding the specific rationale and procedures of BATD are available in a published treatment manual (Lejuez et al., 2011) that can be consulted for those less familiar with the specific details of BATD.
BATD is supported by several rigorous research studies to improve symptoms of depression for those with clinically significant conditions. It also has been shown to simply improve quality of life and other aspects of functioning for those without a depression diagnosis.
Behavioral Apptivationis a smartphone application than you can refer to your patient to facilitate treatment with BATD. The published treatment manual will be referred to here as “traditional BATD.” Behavioral Apptivation is essentially a perfect match to all aspects of traditional BATD and therefore it includes the same rationale and procedures. However, there are a few small details that you should be aware of. First, while there is some material regarding the treatment rational in Behavioral Apptivation, you should provide additional attention to the rationale at the start of the therapy as instructed in the published treatment manual. Second, the Life Areas, Values, and Activities (LAVA) component of BATD can be completed within the “Life Areas” tab in Behavioral Apptivation. Third, when a patient is ready to schedule an activity, this is done by selecting the “Plan” tab, tap the “+” button, and schedule in the activity. The patient will then be able to see the planned activity in the “Calendar” tab. Fourth, after a planned activity has passed, the patient can then record whether he/she completed the activity, and the importance and enjoyment of each activity. Patients can also record their mood once daily. Fifth, all of this information is provided to you as the treatment provider through the Behavioral Apptivation web portal. Through the web portal, you are able to track activities planned by patients, activities completed by patients, and daily mood.
While the basic rationale and procedures are the same for Behavioral Apptivation and traditional BATD, there are some important strengths of using Behavioral Apptivation to facilitate therapy using BATD. First, because Behavioral Apptivation is accessible through mobile phones, using Behavioral Apptivation eliminates the need for paper forms. Second, Behavioral Apptivation increases availability of the treatment materials and therefore is likely to integrate the approach in the patient’s life more reliably than the paper form. Specifically, because patients typically have their mobile phones with them, we believe using Behavioral Apptivation will help patients to adhere to the treatment, complete their scheduled activities, and ultimately feel better quicker. Third, Behavioral Apptivation virtually eliminates problems associated with lost or forgotten paper forms. Fourth, Behavioral Apptivation can increase privacy and piece of mind for patients who are uncomfortable with the accessibility of paper forms to others. Fifth, all data is written to a web portal that a therapist can access allowing for more effective preparation for the upcoming session and availability of progress in the event that contact (e.g., email, phone) is necessary prior to the next scheduled session.
Behavioral Apptivation can be completed on your phone to make your ongoing therapy easier and more rewarding. It does so by making treatment materials easily accessible and readily available. It also makes planning and preparation easier for your therapist which could positively impact your overall treatment success. Additionally, there is a large literature base that suggests that the treatment on which Behavioral Apptivation is based results in patients experiencing fewer symptoms of depression.
Behavioral Apptivation will be integrated into your current therapy. You can expect to select activities that you would like to complete that are consistent with your values (i.e., who you want to be). You will then schedule these activities into your daily schedule. When you complete activities, you will be able to rate how important and enjoyable each activity was. You will also be able to rate your daily mood and your therapist will help you to identify associations between your activities and your daily mood. Through the “Assists” tab, you will be able to identify ways in which other people can help you to perform difficult activities. Information regarding your scheduled activities, your completed activities, and your daily mood will be shared with your treatment provider (assuming you grant your treatment provider access to your data) and will be reviewed in your regularly occurring treatment sessions. Don’t worry if this all isn’t entirely clear now. One advantage of using Behavioral Apptivation as part of your regular therapy is that your therapist will walk you through all the details as you move forward.
Access to the information you enter into Behavioral Apptivation can be controlled in the “Settings” tab. We suggest that you provide your treatment provider with access to your data as this will help your therapist prepare for sessions and will help guard against data loss if you lose your phone.
Moodivate is a fully self-help mobile application version of BATD. Moodivate includes all of the standard components of BATD including education about the nature of depression and BATD as a treatment for depressed mood, activity monitoring, activity scheduling, and mood monitoring.
Moodivate is ideal for individuals experiencing symptoms of depression (e.g., feeling down, depressed, irritable, bored) who are not currently enrolled in psychotherapy. Moodivate may be a useful adjunct to medication management for depression.
Although there are many apps marketed for the treatment of depression in the app store, few align with evidence-based treatments for depression. Evidence-based treatments for depression are treatments that we know work for improving mood and decreasing the impairment associated with depression. Moodivate is a mobile app adaptation of BATD, which has research support from numerous clinical trials highlighting that BATD is effective for treating depression. Thus, in selecting Moodivate, you can feel confident that you are selecting an app for depression treatment that is based on an evidence-based treatment.