Using Technology to Enhance and Expand Interventions for Couples and Families: Conceptual and Methodological Considerations

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Technological advances provide tremendous opportunities for couple and family interventions to overcome logistical, financial, and stigma-related barriers to treatment access. Given technology’s ability to facilitate, augment, or at times even substitute for face-to-face interventions, it is important to consider the appropriate role of different technologies in treatment and how that may vary across specific instances of technology use. To that end, this article reviews the potential contributions of telemental health (aka, telehealth; e.g., videoconferencing to remotely deliver real-time services) and asynchronous behavioral intervention technologies (BITs; e.g., apps, web-based programs) for couple and family interventions. Design considerations—such as software and hardware requirements and recommendations, characteristics of intended users, ways to maximize engagement, and tips for integrating therapists/coaches—are included for both types of technology-based intervention. We also present suggestions for the most effective recruitment and evaluation strategies for technology-based couple and family interventions. Finally, we present legal and ethical issues that are especially pertinent when integrating technology into couple and family interventions.

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