Most patients who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are driven by unreasonable thoughts and unwarranted fears (often referred to as obsessions) that make them feel anxious and distressed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involving Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) has been a proven effective treatment. However, a significant number of patients drop out of the therapy early and most of them do not perform the Exposure exercises in between the therapy sessions because they don't have structural guidance of their progress.
Only half of all patients offered ERP show recovery after the therapy. This can be mostly explained by the fact that about 1 in 4 of all patients who start the ERP treatment drop out early. The therapy involves intentionally and regularly exposing oneself to anxiety-provoking situations. For those who continue with the therapy, many do not regularly engage with the regular between-session exposure and response prevention tasks.
Empowering patients to do their exposure exercises on a regular basis. Making mood tracking more accessible and engaging through gamification and playful design, creating a safe and comfortable environment for patients to do their exercises. Spirit is suitable to be applied for self-treatment or, preferably, under the auspices of an expert therapist.
"A monster in my mind"
Obsessive-compulsive disorder has had a profound impact on my life, muffling my school grades, discontinuing my social life and even forcing me to drop out of university
Gamification for behavior change
By implementing gamification techniques we empower patients to improve their life by helping them to understand the benefits of following the ERP therapy in a playful way.
Spirit emphasizes patients' compulsions as the monsters they sometimes feel in their minds. By completing exposure exercises the monsters will shrink into unharmful babies which can be controlled by the patient.
For the basis of the narrative within Spirit, we make use of the Avoidance hierarchy. The avoidance hierarchy is a CBT worksheet that represents a fear or avoidance hierarchy that helps patients to plan exposure tasks. Each level in this ladder will be externalized by a different monster in Spirit to represent their problematic obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.
Spirit is making use of playful design to make mood tracking more accessible and engaging. Before and after each exposure exercise patients will be prompted to rate their anxiety as well as the urge for obsessive thoughts or compulsive behavior.
Monsters representing the CBT worksheet ladder
By giving insights into performed exercises patients will be guided into performing their exercises on a regular basis. The patients will be able to see the effect of their ERP treatment progress outside of the sessions with their therapist. All exercises will be kept in a local diary for the patient to reflect upon and gain insight into their progress over time. Entries can be shared with the therapist if the patient desires so.
Setting a long term goal will remind the patient of their intrinsic motivation for doing their exercises. Besides this Spirit provides short term goals in the form of badges which can be earned by doing your exercises on a regular basis, nudging you to achieve your long term personal goal.