Experiences as validated Mental Health Treatments?

Screenshot 2022-10-20 at 15.29.11

Experiences as validated Mental Health Treatments?

We have a mental health problem.

Global stats are sobering. The suffering is staggering.

There aren’t enough therapists, psychologists, teachers, or psychiatrists to even begin to meet the need.

You’ve read enough of these heartbreaking stats online — so I won’t go there.

Over here, I’m tired of crying at mental health conferences.

This is why I believe in Transformative Tech as scalable, affordable, and accessible means to support people to heal, grow and thrive.

It’s why I started talking about fusing mental health and tech in 2015.

And it’s also why I’m a supporter of the Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab and recently spoke at the Stanford Mental Healthcare Innovations Summit created in partnership with Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

The Stanford Health Care Lab is one of the brightest innovators in mental health. Follow them.

So, how do we begin to fix this?

We need to expand the tools we have to support mental health treatment.

We need to lean into prevention.

More Tools:

  • Digital therapeutics and VR treatments are well on their way to becoming strong validated tools for mental health. ✅
  • Psychedelic-assisted therapy continues to make its way through FDA trials. ✅

But, I also want to see a wider set of experiences as validated mental health treatments.

The Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab has been exploring this too with several well-known retreats, workshops, and experiences — looking at dozens of pre-post psychological and biodata markers.

Seeing the early data took my breath away and I was filled with hope.

One promising tool is “The Work” by Bryon Katie. A modern version of an ancient practice known as Direct Inquiry, Katie’s Four Liberating Questions can be life-changing.

The core method is being investigated with good foundational research.

Ariel Ganz has a forthcoming paper on Byron Katie’s work, which already has ~18 other papers showing improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, shame, self-stigma, and well-being — across tons of populations including teachers, cancer patients, etc.

Ariel is working with the legendary Mike Snyder, Stanford’s Chair of Genetics and Director of the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine.

Byron Katie’s method is free, available 24/7, and can be practiced alone or with a partner. This overcomes a lot of the access problems with traditional therapy.

However, the key lever here to understand is the importance of being reimbursable. Why?


Companies and governments mostly only pay for validated tools so, even if something is free, if it isn’t validated it is not on the list


Big channels like companies and governments increase the awareness of a tool dramatically


Willingness-to-try in employees goes up 3x if a company will pay for it – for themselves or their dependents.

People already use experiences to support their mental health but without validation, they remain primarily available to the elite.

Japanese doctors prescribe forest-bathing — the US healthcare system doesn’t and, in its current form, can’t really without validation.

I’m excited by this area of research as once the core methods become validated…

  • We can create inexpensive tech delivered tools to be developed that can reach more people through wider channels and reimbursement.
  • We can create tools that support preparation and integration so people get more benefit from mental health experiences.
  • We can create tools that allow people to see their own progress so they don’t lose hope.

And to help with prevention, we can teach people The Work, and other things like it before they need it.


P.S.S.  Here’s the rest of the series:

Comment (1)

  1. anup kanodia

    i love your email series.

    anup kanodia, md

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