Foundations in Digital Therapy

Foundations in Digital Therapy


20 Hours | 20 CEs (CEUs)


Program Description

This self-paced training program on Foundations in Digital Therapy is presented by Drs. Barr Taylor,  Alina Kurland, Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Josef Ruzek, Elsa Rojas-Ashe, Kelly Coker, and Joseph Bankman, at the Center for m²Health at Palo Alto University.

Technology has become an inherent part of modern psychological treatments. This course provides an overview of the use of digital tools and technology in therapy, including a discussion of the evidence base for integrated (“blended”) face-to face and technology-facilitated therapy, a review of different types of tools available for clinicians, and a discussion of ethical and other concerns about providing and using digital therapies. The course also includes information on the relevance of social media to clinical practice as well as empirically-supported strategies that can help engage clients in the use of digital therapy tools. Clinicians will also learn to identify the best tools to use for their particular clinical need and to introduce strategies for addressing client disengagement or non-adherence. Finally, the course includes discussions of relevant ethical and legal concerns. The aim of this course is to prepare clinicians to successfully integrate digital tools in their own clinical practice and, if desired, to seek additional, more specialized training in the use of digital tools.

Intended Audience

This training program is intended for mental health and allied professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and counselors. This training program is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this training program, participants will be able to:

    • Describe 3 benefits and 3 barriers of using technology in clinical care
    • Describe potential challenges and risks of using technology
    • Describe strategies for assessing clients’ digital use and preparing them to use a digital tool
    • Describe the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Describe 3 key CBT interventions
    • Discuss the key aspects of Internet-delivered CBT
    • Describe three different types of messages to clients
    • Describe best practices in messaging clients and craft messages according to these practices
    • Describe three strategies for maintaining personal boundaries when messaging clients
    • Describe the rationale for using app/internet tools and the benefits and concerns
    • Describe strategies for choosing the right app or Internet intervention
    • Describe at least 3 mental health apps and Internet intervention programs
    • Describe why using evidence-based programs is important
    • Describe some of the conditions that have been shown to be effectively treated with digital programs
    • Describe ways to obtain evidence on apps
    • Describe apps that provide self-monitoring
    • Describe strategies for reviewing self-monitoring data in practice
    • Provide feedback about self-monitoring
    • Describe self-monitoring data in the medical record
    • Describe ways to determine which tool to use and the appropriate balance of digital/ human interaction
    • Describe examples of clinical strategies therapists use to engage clients in blended therapy
    • Identify strategies for addressing non-engagement with digital tools
    • Describe key ethical and legal issues in digital therapy
    • Identify strategies for navigating ethical concerns including privacy, duty to grow with the field, and professional boundaries
    • Describe strategies for navigating legal concerns, including HIPAA concerns and risk management
    • Describe the role that social media may play in clients’ lives
    • Describe how social media can be used in therapeutic practice
    • Describe strategies for staying current and up-to-date with evolving technological mental health tools
    • Describe methods for using three different digital tools
    • Describe three reasons why evidence is important in selecting digital tools
    • Describe three strategies for introducing a digital tool and enhancing client engagement with digital therapy


About our Presenters from the Center for m2Health at Palo Alto University

C. Barr Taylor, MD, is a Research Professor at Palo Alto University and Director of the Center for m2Health that focuses on developing, evaluating and disseminating digital health interventions for preventing and treating common mental health problems. He is also Professor of Psychiatry (emeritus) at Stanford University. Dr. Taylor did his undergraduate training at Columbia University, his medical training at the University of Utah Medical Center and his residency in psychiatry at Stanford Medical Center. He has published nearly 400 papers, and written or co-written 11 books. He is currently one of the Principal Investigators on a large, long-term NIMH funded study designed to evaluate the effects of digital interventions to prevent and treat anxiety, depression and eating disorders in college students. He has extensive experience as a teacher and clinical supervisor, having, for instance, served as the Adult Residency Training Director in the Stanford Department of Psychiatry for many years and helping to train many psychologists as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system program for disseminating and implementing cognitive behavior therapy for depression.

Josef Ruzek, PhD is Co-Director of the Center for m 2 Health at Palo Alto University, an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Dr. Ruzek retired as Director of the VA National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division in 2018, after helping improve PTSD services in VA for over 26 years. He specializes in early intervention to prevent the development of PTSD, development and evaluation of Internet- and smartphone-based interventions for trauma survivors, and dissemination of evidence-based best practices for prevention and treatment of PTSD. He has been a member of the VHA Undersecretary’s Special Committee on PTSD and served as psychotherapy champion for the joint VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Traumatic Stress. He has edited several books, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma and Caring for Veterans with Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond. Dr. Ruzek is a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and a co-developer of several psychosocial interventions (Psychological First Aid; Skills for Psychological Recovery; InterPar; 2-session dyadic early intervention for recent trauma survivors). He is also a co-developer of many Internet and mobile phone interventions (e.g., PTSD Coach; PTSD Family Coach; My Disaster Recovery).

Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the Associate Director for Training at Palo Alto University Center for m2Health, California. She also serves as the Chief Clinical Officer at Eleos Health, a startup company in the digital healthcare space. Dr Sadeh-Sharvit has previously worked at Stanford University Eating Disorders Research Program, where she received research funding to conduct intervention studies on family- and couple-based interventions. Dr. Sadeh-Sharvit’s clinical and research interests include eating disorders (from infancy throughout the life cycle), online interventions, incorporating technology in mental healthcare, and clinical training. Her book, “Parents with Eating Disorders: A Treatment Guide”, was recently published by Routledge.

Elsa Rojas, PhD, is the Training Director for the iAIM EDU study at Palo Alto University and previously worked as the Associate Director for Service Innovation within the Center for m2Health. In this role she worked to establish a training and research clinic that focuses on developing, evaluating and disseminating digital health interventions for preventing and treating common mental health problems. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University where she works as a member of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment team. Clinically, Dr. Rojas has experience and expertise in the treatment of traumatic stress, personality disorders, eating disorders, and she is certified in perinatal mental health by Postpartum Support International. She has significant experience as a teacher and clinical supervisor both through her work at Stanford and at Palo Alto University. Dr. Rojas completed her training at the University of Akron, with a psychology internship at The Medical College of Georgia and Charlie Norwood VA medical center. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford Medical Center.

Alina Kurland, PsyD is the Associate Director for Service Innovation at the Center for M2Health at Palo Alto University, focusing on increasing access to training in digital therapy among therapists. In addition to her work for PAU, Dr. Kurland does clinical work with clients at Peninsula Behavioral Health, a group practice based on using evidence-based therapy to treat individuals in the community, and StandTall a trauma-focused clinic housed within Peninsula Behavioral Health. Dr. Kurland graduated from the PGSP-Stanford PsyD consortium, a joint program between Stanford University and Palo Alto University, completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Loma Linda VA Medical Center, and her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System through the Women’s Trauma Recovery Program and the PTSD Clinical Team. Dr. Kurland’s clinical and research interests include Women’s mental health, PTSD, third-wave therapy, and increasing access to evidence-based care through technological innovation.

Joseph Bankman, JD, PsyD is the Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School and a licensed psychologist. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, his J.D. from Yale Law School, and his Psy.D. from the PGSP-Stanford Consortium. He teaches mental health law at Stanford and writes on the intersection of law and psychology. He has co-developed a course on anxiety psychoeducation that has been taught at Stanford, Yale and other schools, and in other business and professional settings. He is Associate Director of the Center for M2 Health at Palo Alto University, and hosts a Wellness cast podcast.

Kelly Coker, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Counseling Department at Palo Alto University and is a licensed professional counselor (#4490) in North Carolina. Kelly has conducted research and published findings in refereed journals related to substance abuse prevention and intervention, clinical training and supervision, the use of play in counseling and supervision, and the importance of program evaluation and assessment in counseling. She has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling and Development (JCD), the flagship journal for the American Counseling Association. Kelly has also co-edited a book on using family systems approach in applying the DSM-5 to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning, and has presented at numerous regional and national conferences.

This course includes the following 11 modules:

  • An introduction to digital therapy
  • A review of CBT
  • Using email and texting
  • Apps and Internet interventions
  • Review of research on digital tools
  • Self-Monitoring Apps
  • Clinical Strategies for best practice
  • Ethical and Legal issues
  • Tips for tele-mental Health Counseling
  • Social media and future use
  • Strategies for digital tool introduction

Continuing Education Credit

This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 20 CE hours upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

Board Approvals: APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Your satisfaction with our programs, products and services is important to us; however, because these are immediately made available to you upon registration and payment, we do not issue refunds. Should you find that a particular program, product or service is not the right fit for you, we will assist you in crediting your registration towards another one of our offerings that might better suit you.

We specialize in training groups — from a handful to hundreds — and are happy to contact you to discuss your group training needs.

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