Online Emotional Regulation Group Treatment
Several barriers prevent individuals with TBI from accessing outpatient or community-based rehabilitation services, including limited proximity and access to trained professionals and medical centers, scarcity of treatment programs and limited transportation options. These barriers limit outcomes, especially among those living in rural areas. Given the need for life-long services to promote functional, vocational and social recovery, it is imperative to develop innovative interventions for TBI survivors that address these barriers.
Results of studies of tele-rehabilitation programs are encouraging, generating evidence for the effectiveness of such interventions in improving functional status, decreasing depression, decreasing emotional distress and improving community integration and problem solving. In non-TBI samples, various forms of video-conferencing have been utilized to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictions. While the methodological rigor varies, most videoconference studies report therapeutic alliance and clinical treatment outcomes similar to those of face-to-face treatments.
In this Intervention Development study, we are transferring an existing, empirically supported emotional regulation intervention for individuals with TBI to a new and more widely accessible platform: group videoconferencing. The study uses a pre-post design, a suitable approach to evaluate proof of concept, estimate effect size, and systematically collect information needed for a subsequent RCT efficacy study. The target population for this study includes individuals from across the U.S. with mild to severe TBI who self-report difficulties in emotional regulation. Groups of 4-5 participants “meet” twice weekly in one-hour sessions, for 12 weeks; groups are led by two professionals: the PI and a post-doctoral fellow trained in the emotional regulation techniques that have been studied in two of our prior RCTs.