With the ‘Alfred’-award, the Flemish Union of Specialists in Solution focused cognitive and systematic therapy, Pedagogy, and Coaching (VVDO in short) crowned 15Minutes4Me.com as the ‘best solution focused therapeutic initiative’ of Flanders last month. “This easy-to-start program helps people to solve their stress, depression, or anxiety complaints themselves”, the jury found.
“Paul Koeck, MD, the initiating person of 15Minutes4Me.com completely deserves this recognition”, doctor Luc Isebaert, director of Korzybski International (*) stated during the award ceremony. “He managed to do that which Steve de Shazer, the founder of solution focused therapy, never could: develop a solution focused computer program which helps people as efficiently as real psychotherapy does.”
By asking people with burnout, depression, or anxiety focused questions, the online self-help program teaches them how they can solve their complaints themselves. The online character of 15Minutes4Me.com is important here. It makes it easier for people to get help if they cannot get to a real therapist, are on waiting lists, or are scared of looking for psychological guidance, and so on. It also makes it so that the program can easily be used as an additional guidance for patients who already are in treatment with a doctor or therapist.
Nowadays, hundreds of people find their way to the digital platform every day. “And with time we want to reach millions”, doctor Koeck ambitiously says. “Help as many people as possible to learn to live more happily and solution focused and showing them how they can help themselves, is the ultimate dream of everyone participating in this.”
The initiative is well-established. In 2008 already the Antwerp doctor and psychotherapist Paul Koeck, MD started the international think-tank MijnKwartier.be with research to a way of making psychotherapy more accessible for people with stress-related issues. Koeck & co got their inspiration from the medical-psychological sciences and molded the most efficient interventions and techniques into a software model. This model consisting of repetitive questions were then tested for three years, and on the basis of its findings they continued to improve it.
In 2011 the first results with the Australian DASS-test became clear, and these were more than promising: fifteen minutes of online self-help per day decreased stress by 77% after just one month, and after three weeks the life-satisfaction curve increased by 40%. “By holding a mirror in front of them, this computer program helps people with self-reflection”, Koeck, MD, then stated. “And that makes it so that they start making better choices and, themselves, take steps toward a happier life.”
Article by Tijs Ruysschaert
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