Published in

MDPI, Journal of Clinical Medicine, 14(11), p. 4226, 2022

DOI: 10.3390/jcm11144226



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Understanding Client Difficulties in Transdiagnostic Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: A Qualitative Analysis of Homework Reflections

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) is helpful for many clients, but less is known about the challenges clients face during ICBT, such as difficulties with skill practice, development, or maintenance. Understanding client difficulties can help therapists support clients with skill development and prevent treatment drop-out, but has not been systematically studied. This study included a conventional content analysis of clients’ responses to a homework reflection question about difficulties with lessons and skills. Data was drawn from a previously published trial of 301 clients who were randomly assigned to receive homework reflection questions during ICBT. A decreasing number of clients responded to the question about skill difficulties with each lesson. Clients who answered the question about difficulties were more engaged with ICBT (i.e., more lessons completed, logins, days enrolled in ICBT, and messages sent to therapists). Clients shared skill-specific challenges (including initial challenges and more advanced challenges), generic challenges (content or skills being cognitively draining or emotionally draining, contextual challenges, forgetfulness, limited time, and lack of familiarity with the skill), or no challenges. Thought challenging (59.6%) and graded exposure (57.5%) were associated with the greatest number of skill-specific challenges. Findings can help therapists anticipate and address common client challenges during ICBT.