Research Results and Ongoing Efforts

Written by on November 3, 2011 in Blog - Comments Off

There's a lot of talk online about Success Rates. I've been pretty disappointed with what I've seen. What does a success rate of 80% mean? Does it mean that your approach worked for 80% of the people and for the rest it was a complete failu

re? Does it mean you “cured” 80% of those who went through your program as if addiction is some kind of a bacterial infection? What are your drop-out rates? Do you have an 80% success rate among the 2 in 50 people who stay in your program?

I'm suspicious of “success rates” and you should be too.

Most success rates are tallied at the time people leave the program. This won't do. Longitudinal studies that track people during the years following their release from treatment, present dismal success rates. Writing on the problem of sex therapy failure, McCarthy and McDonald note that one of the major contributors to failure is the lack of a relapse prevention program and long-term support.1

The answer to why this support is needed is clear – the brain can't change in 2 weeks, or 30 days, or from an evening once a week. The brain changes in response to consistent daily effort. Not the exhausting effort of willpower, but easy-does-it daily effort that intelligently targets urges and triggers right when they are encountered—in context. That's why we got into the business of offering this kind of support.

A little over 75% of Candeo students have tried another method of counseling or treatment before finding us. They were still looking for answers. I'm very pleased that we can offer the kind of long-term support they need.

So, while success rates might be a great marketing ploy, we try to stick to basic research. Research can be difficult to communicate briefly and clearly, which is probably why people default to success rates. But I'm going to try my best to report on our latest research.

In our published pilot study, we reported a 50% reduction in symptoms through our 6-month Advanced Recovery Training program.

These outcomes are not only exciting, they are also the first of their kind. No one else has ever published outcomes for a technology-based intervention for unwanted sexual behavior, which is one of the hardest behaviors to break. We weren't very satisfied by the rigor of the study, but the results were so encouraging we've pushed forward with our research efforts, trying to tighten up the process.

Here's a very brief update of one aspect of what we've been finding:

We measure 10 categories of behavior – 1) Overcoming Intrusive Thoughts, 2) Self-Empowerment, 3) Meaning and Purpose in Life, 4) Healthy Response to Triggers, 5) Connection to Others, 6) Self-Forgiveness, 7) Creating a Positive Self-Image, 8) Managing Negative Emotions, 9) Increased Level of Awareness and 10) Changes in Unwanted Sexual Behavior.

Regression analyses indicate that the program is very effective and the results are strong and consistent within these areas. I'll spare you the statistical details, but with thousands of students it’s very easy to reach levels of significance with these data (p > .001, for anyone who cares. This means, in other words, that the changes are not due to chance).

Regression analyses tell us how much change to expect given a certain amount of time. What we're finding is a 10% reduction in symptoms month over month on average (or a 10% improvement month over month in positive areas such as Self-Forgiveness, and Meaning and Purpose in Life). If this doesn't sound like much to you, keep a few things in mind:

1. These are results for people who have been struggling for over 17 years on average with their behavior and who have continued to struggle in spite of using other resources. The brain's ability to change is amazing but it's not magical.

2. These are not quick fix changes brought about by a mammoth effort of willpower. This might reduce your behavior in the short-term, but it will set you up to enter a release phase of massive acting out. The changes we want, on the other hand, are the kind of changes that last over the long haul.

3. These preliminary outcomes are on par or superior to some of the more intensive services designed to address unwanted sexual behaviors.2 While Candeo is technically self-directed, not “self-help,” researchers find that even self-help — if it's evidence-based — returns effect sizes nearly as large as traditional interventions.3 Indeed, 85% of psychotherapists recommend self-help resources to their clients. Unfortunately, less than 5% of self-help resources have the benefit of research-based evaluation.4 Buyer beware!

Why Self-Directed?

Candeo thinks of itself as “self-directed” because we supply clinically validated techniques and training, and we also provide neurocognitive exercises, social support and human performance tools. There's a dynamism to the system that gives the support needed and the personal tailoring required for relevance and effectiveness. This way you can direct yourself through your own program without going it alone – it's very difficult to make the kind of changes we all desire without some help and support.

Not bad for a program that costs less than $2 and a quarter a day for the first 6 months, and only $0.67 a day for Long-term Support going forward. That's a bargain compared to the estimated $250,000 cost of these behaviors over one's lifetime.5

We wanted to provide an assisted service at self-help prices that actually works for people. 96% of our users say that this system is as good as or better than anything else they've tried. It's gratifying to know we're hitting the mark of creating a novel approach to old problems.

If you or someone you love is struggling with these behaviors, there's never been a better time to get help.

1. McCarthy, B. & McDonald, D. (2009). Sex Therapy Failure: A Crucial, Yet Ignored, Issue. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 35:4, 320-329.
2. See for example, Orzack et al. (2006). An ongoing study of group treatment for men involved in problematic internet-enabled sexual behavior. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 9:3, 348-360.
3. Gould, R.A., & Clum, G.A. (1993). A meta-analysis of self-help treatment approaches. Clinical Psychology Review, 13, 169-186.
4. Norcross, J.C. (2000). Here comes the self-help revolution in mental health. Psychotherapy, 37:4, 370-377.

5., Dr. Doug Weiss


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