June... seemed genuinely interested in learning skills to reduce her anxiety and reported practicing the skills between sessions. When I asked June for feedback at the end of each session, she told me the therapy was helpful. “The skills you’re teaching me are good,” she replied in her soft, careful voice.
Before each session, June took a few minutes to complete the fit survey on an iPad in the waiting room, responding to statements like “I feel fearful” and “I enjoy my spare time” with preset answers ranging from “never” to “almost always.” Though I had access to her clinical graph every session, I didn’t bother checking it at first, because she seemed to be progressing so well.
After a few sessions I finally checked the graph—more because I felt like I should than because I thought it would be helpful. I was shocked to see that June’s chart showed a red alert. Her symptoms had not improved since our first session. The algorithms reported that she was actually at a high risk of deterioration and suicide.
My gut reaction to the alert was skepticism—as it almost always is, to this day, when the program’s algorithms contradict my instincts.... At the beginning of our next session, I asked her how she was doing. Looking into the corner of the room, she replied that the skills I was teaching her were useful; but this time, I persisted: “I’m glad to hear the skills are helpful, but how are you doing?” June was silent for a while and shifted in her chair, clearly uncomfortable. I felt my own anxiety rise, and resisted the urge to change the subject. “Take your time,” I said. “There’s no rush.” After a period of silence, June looked me in the eye for perhaps the first time ever and said, “I’m sorry, but I think I’m worse. I just don’t want you to think it’s your fault; it’s mine. You’ve been really helpful.” June was deteriorating, but I never would have seen it without the program.
April 1, 2017
"Big Data has transformed everything from sports to politics to education. It could transform mental-health treatment, too..."
"... if only psychologists would stop ignoring it." A long article — "What Your Therapist Doesn’t Know" in The Atlantic. Here's the passage that I think might make you interested in reading it: