Help at Hand
Psychotherapy treatment is not often associated with the latest in hand-held computer technology but a UQ researcher is hoping to establish the relationship.
Associate Professor Justin Kenardy from UQ's School of Psychology has completed an international study into the use of hand-held personal computers (palm PCs) to help treat panic disorder and agoraphobia.
Dr Kenardy led a team of researchers from the Australia and the UK to recruiting more than 200 patients in Australia and Scotland for what is believed to be the first trial of its kind.
"Where typical cognitive behavioural therapy involves seeing a patient once a week, with a palm PC we can give them homework that can aid their therapy in between sessions," Dr Kenardy said.
Dr Kenardy said trials showed patients responded more quickly to the therapy if they used a palm PC.
"What the research is saying is that the computers are a useful tool for reducing the amount of suffering a patient can have," he said.
"It has a faster effect at almost half the cost compared to usual cognitive-behavioural therapy and makes a big difference in terms of patients engaging in their homework, which ultimately speeds their recovery."
He said palm PCs could also be used in treating problems such as depression and pain.