Delivering Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy through a Digital Coach: What does it look like?

Anthony Venning, Tanya Newhouse, M. Francis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is well established as the gold standard approach to treating anxiety and depression, with growing research on the effectiveness, applicability, and increased access provided Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (LICBT), but can it be delivered by a virtual coach? To that end, a LI Digital Coach (L-DC) has been trialled to treat anxiety and depression.

The L-DC has been commissioned by WentWest, a NSW Primary Health Network, for trial in June 2017. Content for programs within the L-DC has been developed by interdisciplinary mental health professionals trained in the delivery of focused psychological therapies. Underpinned by clinical knowledge and evidence-based interventions, programs within the L-DC maintain fidelity to a behavioural activation or graded exposure model. The use of a relational agent supports people to work through a range of sessions providing psychoeducation, intervention, and out of session practice tasks. Outcome measures are taken to demonstrate improvements in client functioning, if the program is working, or if a higher intensity option is more tailored to the individual’s needs.

Effectiveness and user acceptability results from the June-August 2017 trial will be available at the time of presentation.

The presentation will focus on the design and development of the specific program content for the L-DC. Rather than compete with or replace existing high intensity mental health programs, the L-DC offers a guided, educative program that will increase access to effective interventions that are core first line treatments for high prevalence mental health disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2017
Event38th National Conference of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy: Innovations in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies across the Lifespan - Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 26 Oct 201728 Oct 2017
Conference number: 38th


Conference38th National Conference of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
Abbreviated titleAACBT
OtherMany innovations have occurred in the science and practice of cognitive and behavioural therapy over the past decade. Variants of cognitive-behaviour therapy, such as schema therapy and third wave approaches, are increasingly developing an evidence-base for a range of clinical presentations across the lifespan. The conference’s focus on the lifespan will educate health practitioners on how to treat disorders of childhood and adulthood successfully, as well as on how to deal with the difficulties associated with an ageing population. This year’s conference includes a stellar group of world leaders who specialise in evidence-based interventions for dealing with clients with a range of difficulties, such as personality disorders, trauma, depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, and cancer. Some of these problems are the most common and pressing issues facing our society in 2017. We invite you to join us in learning how to manage these issues, and others, using interventions based on the most recent available evidence.


  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Low intensity CBT
  • Digital coach


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