Information for Patients
Can ePST® help me?
Are you are feeling down, blue, or depressed, find it hard to get going, or aren't enjoying things like you used to? We can help you gain a sense of control in your life to start feeling better. ePST is convenient, easy to use and can help you make changes in your life in a short period of time.
ePST is electronic problem-solving treatment. It is an interactive computer-guided problem-solving treatment that offers you the best of two approaches: the feeling of working with a live therapist and the convenience and privacy of a computer-guided program. An expert in problem solving treatment teaches, coaches and encourages you, while you work at your own pace and learn tools to manage depression and stress.
The virtual coach takes you through every stage of the treatment, guiding you and encouraging you. You meet with the coach in a series of sessions, much like working with a live clinician. ePST tracks your depression level at the beginning of each session and provides you with an action plan at the end of each session.
Your clinic will monitor your progress and be available should you need any extra help. ePST can be used by itself or combined with medication or other therapy.
What is PST?
Problem-solving treatment (PST) is a form of psychotherapy that improves your ability to handle life's challenges. Depression and stress can result from your reaction to here-and-now life problems and by addressing these problems head-on, your symptoms will improve.
PST teaches you how to identify issues in your day-to-day life that are contributing to your stress and depression and take actions to address them. PST gives you skills you can use now and in the future to make you more resilient to stressful situations. PST has been used all over the world to treat stress and depression, and multiple clinical studies have demonstrated its effectiveness.
How does PST work?
Problems in life can cause or worsen depression. For example, issues like conflicts with coworkers, finding childcare, difficult situations at home, and financial stress can take a toll on you.
Not working on problems can worsen depression by creating a downward spiral in your mood. The low energy and lack of interest in activities caused by depression makes it difficult to work on issues. As a result, problems continue and they build up. The increase in unsolved problems makes depression worse.
The purpose of PST is to help you get some control over your problems:
- When you have some control over your problems, you feel better about yourself;
- When your mood is better, you feel more encouraged and hopeful;
- These hopeful feelings reduce depression, and your activity level goes up;
- This creates an upward spiral in your mood.
ePST will teach you problem-solving skills and how to apply them to treat your depression. PST will increase your ability to solve your problems and this will help improve your mood.
You will learn the 7 Steps of effective problem-solving and you will apply these 7 Steps to problems you choose. The most important part of PST, however, is not what you do during the sessions, but what you do between sessions. Improvement follows action - the actions you take between your sessions to work on your problems. To get better, you need to put the new solutions you discover through PST into action.
What problems can ePST help?
ePST is primarily recommended for the treatment of depression, and is also helpful for both acute and chronic stress, including stress related to life stressors such as chronic medical conditions. The tools you will learn can help you manage stressors that can contribute to depressed mood and loss of interest and pleasure in daily activities.
How many sessions are there?
There are 6 sessions that will help you:
- Chose and clarify a problem to solve
- Identify a realistic short-term goal
- Brainstorm solutions
- Weigh the pros and cons to each solution
- Select one or more solutions to try
- Create a detailed step-by-step action plan
- Evaluate the outcome and adjust your plan
The computer does not solve your problems for you - you do that. It just guides you through a process that’s been shown to help. The sessions are usually done once a week, but the time between can be shorter or longer depending on your situation.
How long does each session take?
Each session takes about an hour. But the most valuable part of the treatment is the work you do between sessions to implement your action plan and work on your problems.
Does it work?
Problem Solving Therapy has been used with many populations for over 30 years with success reducing depression. PST is as effective, in many cases, as treatment with pharmaceuticals or cognitive-behavioral therapies. While ePST is a new approach to delivering treatment, research to date suggests that it can be just as helpful as getting PST from a live counselor.
Does ePST replace face-to-face sessions with a counselor or psychologist?
ePST is not for everyone or for every mental health condition. Live counseling and other forms of therapy are appropriate and necessary for many conditions. ePST can complement those other therapies, including live counseling or pharmaceuticals. Many users find ePST helpful while they are waiting to see a counselor. In some cases, users will see enough improvement with ePST that they do not need additional treatment.
How do I know if ePST is right for me?
If depression or stress is your main problem, ePST can help. If you are willing to try a self-guided approach and like the idea of building self-reliance, ePST could be a good fit for you. ePST can help even if you have already tried other treatments, including medication. Or, it might be the first thing you try. It is also OK to use ePST while you are receiving medication or other forms of therapy or counseling. What is most important is that you make a commitment to yourself to stick with it and follow your action plans. Your clinician will discuss ePST with you, so you can decide whether it is the right choice for you.
How much does ePST cost?
The cost of ePST may be shared between your clinic, your health insurance, and you, depending on the fee structures at your clinic. The ePST Site Administrator at your clinic can fill you in and how it works in your clinic.
How can I get access to ePST?
Your clinician will evaluate your condition and discuss options with you. If your primary care clinic is an everMind™ partner and your clinician feels that ePST would help you, he or she can enroll you in the program and monitor you as you go through it. If your clinic does not yet offer ePST, ask them to contact everMind at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to add ePST to their programs.
Where do I use ePST?
Currently, ePST is only available on site at clinics. You will use the program during a weekly scheduled appointment, much as you would attend sessions with a clinician. The clinic will keep track of your use of ePST and review progress reports with you. At the end of each session, you will have the opportunity to meet with a clinician briefly to review your progress and discuss any concerns.
Is the program confidential?
Yes. When you enroll, your clinic will give you a random user name to access the program, and the information you enter into the program will only be associated with that user name, not with your actual name. You will create your own password to access the program and all information you enter will be encrypted.
Your clinician will receive summary information at the end of each session to check on your progress and that information will be entered into your medical records. Other than the end-of-session summary, no one will review any of the information you enter.
What if I need help with it – am I totally on my own?
If you have questions about the program or need extra guidance, you will be able to speak with a clinician at the end of each visit. All clinicians referring users to ePST are experienced in mental healthcare and many are also trained in problem-solving treatment. They can help you decide whether to keep using the program and if you should modify your treatment plan.
What happens if I miss an appointment?
If you miss or cancel an ePST appointment, you can reschedule that appointment and get back on track. Completing all 6 sessions is strongly encouraged, even if you feel you are doing better. Research shows that people who finish all 6 sessions benefit most.
How will I know if it worked for me?
You will complete a depression test each time you use ePST. Change in your depression will be graphed so you can see how you are doing.
Who do I contact if I have further questions about the program?
Contact your health care clinic or provider.
Who do I contact if I have technical problems with the program?
You will be using ePST in a clinic, hospital or healthcare provider’s office. Staff at your facility will be able to help you with any technical issues.