Charlotte Gentili from Karolinska Institutet did her half time seminar towards receiving a PhD this fall. I was honoured to be on the committee for her seminar, and learned a lot about her reserach area. She has truly done an amazing job, and reached very far in her PhD studies. I think that society need more of this kind of reserach which is multidisciplinary, applied and addresses an important societal problem!
Charlotte is a psychologist with a focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The definition found in Wikipedia is:
“Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of psychotherapy and a branch of clinical behaviour analysis. It is an empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways with commitment and behaviour-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.”
As readers of the blog might know, I am not a psychologist, so experts might disagree, but I would say that it is a kind of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that they have designed for mobile phones. Hence, Charlotte Gentili´s research area is smartphone ACT treatment for adults with chronic pain. This area of eHealth is quite new, and in her reserach she has done a pilote study as well as some follow up studies that look very promising.
She has also used an excellent user-centred design approach, and also written an experience paper based describing the methods used. I would highly recommend reading this paper to people working with eHealth and deevelopment. You find it here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-020-0228-4
Among other things Charlotte Gentili has looked at psychological flexibility and the effect of the usage. Flexibility is a personality trait that includes the extent to which someone can deal with changes in circumstances. To what extent can we think about problems and tasks in novel, innovative ways? This trait is used when stressors or unexpected events happen. The results show sychological flexibility significantly contributed to the prediction of pain interference and depression. Moreover, participants with low levels of psychological flexibility were more likely to be on sick leave.
We discussed future studies at the seminar and Charlotte Gentili is really very intrested in the intersection of psychology, eHealth and UX – which is close to my area. So I am super much looking forward to reading more about her work, and hopefully also be invited to the PhD defence!