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Digital applications in mental health care


NB Language spoken is English unless only Dutch-speaking students participate


In an era of modern technology, new and exciting opportunities to implement digital applications in mental health care are key to advancing the field of diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology in children. This course, delivered by experts in the field of mental healthcare, will provide students with insights in the associated opportunities, as well as challenges and limitations of e-health. Rapid developments in e-therapy, serious gaming, online assessment and data-sharing using digital medical records, require all stakeholders to have up to date knowledge about the pros and cons of digital innovations in the field of mental health care. Students will also learn about digital applications that are available for diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions including autism, ADHD, aggression, anxiety and depression. State of the art technologies such as eyetracking, virtual reality, biofeedback, serious gaming, and mobile apps, offer advanced and outstanding opportunities to positively influence development of vulnerable children. Can children with ADHD learn to control impulsive behaviors through serious gaming? Does practicing with digital interactions in virtual social worlds help children with autism to improve their social skills? Decisions to implement such techniques should be based on scientific evidence supporting effectiveness, embedded in the knowledge we have about brain development. To what degree can we influence functioning of the brain through digital applications, and at what age is brain plasticity most prominent offering optimal windows of opportunity to improve outcome? Can we train brain functions in children with various clinical conditions, and which factors are key to success? Considering the need to provide optimal and tailored healthcare for vulnerable children, students will learn to critically evaluate developments in the field of digital applications, analyze their effectiveness, consider ethical aspects and reflect on implementation in different clinical contexts and for different clinical conditions.

Lectures (6 lectures of 2 hours):
1. Introduction to e-health: digitalizing diagnosis and treatment, implementation in mental health care, benefits and risks, evidence based approaches
2. Serious gaming and cognitive remediation
3. Virtual reality and mobile apps
4. Biomarkers and neurofeedback
5. Online mental healthcare and e-therapy
6. Social media applications and vulnerable children: challenges and risks

Seminars (3 seminars of 2 hours):
In the seminars, students will actively explore digital applications in mental health care, and reflect on effectiveness and opportunities/limitations in implementation. In the last seminar, students are asked to integrate this knowledge through individual powerpoint presentations on a specific set of digital applications.

Course objectives

  • Students will gain knowledge about the challenges and opportunities of implementing digital applications in the field of developmental psychopathology

  • Students will learn to use theoretical models of etiology of developmental psychopathology in the implementation of digital applications in mental health care

  • Students will gain insight in how to integrate digital applications in clinical diagnosis and treatment with the aim to identify individual profiles of strengths and weaknesses and monitor individual development

  • Students will learn to reflect on the ethical aspects of digital developments in mental health care

  • Students will learn to read, interpret and critically evaluate scientific articles in the field.


Method of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Method of assessment

Exam with open-ended questions and an individual presentation in the seminar (75%/25%).
Students can only retake the exam, not the presentation.


During this course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

To be announced.


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.

Courses - Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

Contact information

Co-ordinator of this course is dr Sophie van Rijn.