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Department of Psychology  Clinical Psychology with Focus on Psychotherapy Research

Psychotherapy Processes: an Intra- and Inter-Session Approach (ISA-Bell)

A randomised controlled trial of smartphone-based self-monitoring during psychotherapy and a process-outcome study on the role of inter-session processes


Project Lead: Prof. Dr. phil. Birgit Watzke, Dr. phil. Marie Drüge

Project Management: MSc. Louisa Jagmetti

While process-outcome research has identified several intra-session processes critical for therapy success, evidence on critical inter-session processes (ISP) – defined as therapy-related experiences and behaviours in-between sessions – is sparse. This project aims to test the effect of a smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA) of ISP and symptoms as an adjunct to psychotherapy in a randomized controlled design. A further aim is to investigate the dynamic interplay between ISP, intra-session processes, and outcomes by analysing intensive longitudinal data. While the overarching theoretical approach of the project is not specific to a particular type of psychotherapy or a particular mental health diagnosis, the current study works with individuals who are receiving cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression as an illustrative sample. The ISA-Bell project shall contribute to understanding the worth of EMA-based self-monitoring during psychotherapy, ISP critical for psychotherapy success and dynamics between intra-session process and ISP.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial will be conducted with 84 patients receiving CBT for depression (usual gold-standard treatment) with or without EMA. For the in-depth analyses of ISP and intra-session processes, longitudinal data will be analysed using dynamic latent class structural equation modelling.

Ethics: The study has been reviewed and approved by the cantonal ethics committee (swissethics: 2021-02335). Trial registration: Identifier: NCT05553197.

Project duration: 2022–2024

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)


Advisory Board:

Prof. Dr. Holger Brandt, University of Tübingen, Germany

Prof. Dr. Jamie Delgadillo, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Prof. Dr. Fredrik Falkenström, University of Linköping, Sweden

Prof. Dr. Andrew Gloster, University of Basel, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. med. Almut Zeeck, University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany

Weiterführende Informationen