Integrated Mental Health Technologies (IMHT), a Colorado-based tech company specializing in psychotherapies, seeks to patent an on-demand mental health therapy tool that provides guided exercises according to a user’s emotional state.
IMHT says that while technology has seen wide application in the realm of physical health—fitness trackers or nutrition apps—the same cannot be said for mental health. The company’s patent application claims an awareness and support tool that responsibly leverages technology and evidence-based psychotherapy methods to assist in the psychological, emotional, and social well-being of individuals.
Nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness. These vary in degree of severity, but all can lead to impairment of one’s daily functioning if left unaddressed. IMHT mentions psychotherapy methods typically employed to increase people’s mental well-being. These include:
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which involves efforts to change thinking patterns;
- Prolonged Exposure, which helps individuals gradually confront their traumas and fears;
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which changes the way bad memories are stored in the brain; and
- Internal Family Systems Therapy, or IFS, which involves the “family” of subpersonalities within a person, and how they relate to each other.
IMHT’s USPTO filing uses language specifically related to the IFS psychotherapy model. The tool involves users logging their current mental state and relating it to a particular “trailhead,” or experience that triggered the emotion or sensation. An AI would then generate custom guided exercises, like meditation, or insights and reminders to alleviate the user’s distress.
Fig. 1. One embodiment of an interactive support and awareness tool’s home screen user interface.
The system keeps track of numerous trailheads and the associated user inputs, not only to monitor a person’s psychotherapy progress, but also to allow them to explore specific pain points in their life.
IMHT says its technological approach removes the feelings of frustration that may come with pen and paper journaling, which does not provide supportive responses like sessions with a therapist can. The patent application tells an example scenario where IMHT’s tool serves as a source of mental health assistance in between a therapy patient’s scheduled sessions.
Fig. 2. Embodiments of a user interface to categorize a trailhead [left] and to set a reminder to check back in with a trailhead [right].
IMHT says its invention allows people to easily capture how they feel or what they experience about certain events. The system constructs a unique and temporally marked file set for every user, mapping out associations to provide unique insights and functions for them. User state data is tagged under various categories, such as body sensation, emotion, behavioral urge, belief, dream, vision/visual, qualities core self, states, or user-customized groupings.
Fig. 3. Embodiments of a user interface for visualizing [left] and tagging [right] user states.
IMHT claims that its on-demand mental health therapy tool could benefit people dealing with mental health challenges through new and enriched awareness and support, as well as decreased barriers to change, which leads to overall decreased emotional distress and increased emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
The featured patent application, “Interactive System For Improved Mental Health”, was filed with the USPTO on March 5, 2021 and published thereafter on September 9, 2021. The listed applicant is Integrated Mental Health Technologies, LLC. The listed inventor is Sarah Houy.