How to measure the effectiveness of the therapy

Sergiy Danylov, Ph.D. in Neuroscience January 19, 2023

Jacob Lawrence – Creative Therapy (1949).

The biggest problem that therapists face is that their clients’ improvement is often not predictable. It seems like some people don’t experience any significant changes during therapy sessions and others show a lot of progress in a short period of time. Anima is an online tool specially designed to help therapists and their clients objectively evaluate psychological states such as attention bias, avoidance, hypervigilance, anhedonia, and dysphoria. Understanding these symptoms helps a lot in treating anxiety disorder, depression, and other mental illnesses.

Therapists have a vested interest in ensuring that the therapies they offer are effective, as this will lead to more satisfied patients and a greater chance of them recommending the service to others. However, it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of one therapy over another [1]. 

It is especially difficult to assess the effectiveness of therapy when the client is unreliable. Clients are not always able to accurately assess their progress, or even the actual process of therapy, because they do not have a clear understanding of what “improvement” means in this context. Also, before Anima, there was no objective way to measure improvement; it’s simply based on how the client feels about their situation and whether or not they feel better — but this can be subjective and changeable over time. 

In therapy, it’s important to know how your client is thinking and feeling. Empathy is a key skill for therapists [2], but it can be hard to get an accurate read on your client when they’re biased toward certain thoughts or emotions—especially if they’re not aware of their tendency to focus on one thing over another. The most common type of attention bias is the negativity bias, in which people have a natural tendency to pay more attention than usual to negative things going on around them [3]. That can be a problem in evaluating therapy as well.

Eye-tracking is a perfect solution

This is why objective tracking of progress is such an important part of therapy. It allows you to see what’s working, what isn’t, and how long it takes for a client to change certain behaviors. The best way that therapists can do this is by using eye-tracking technology (a tool provided by Anima) during therapy sessions. This allows them to see where the patient’s gaze is directed when presented with both positive and negative images or words—meaning they can see whether their attention is drawn more strongly towards negative thoughts than positive ones.

Eye-tracking technology is a fascinating field of study. By using eye movements and pupil dilation as indicators of thought and emotion, therapists can learn about how people process information—and even uncover hidden patterns in the way we think and feel.

This tool allows us to understand more about our brains and minds than we ever have before. It’s the best way to get a complete picture of what a person is seeing, thinking, and feeling, so it’s no wonder that this technology has been used for decades in psychology experiments [4]. 

Anima is a combination of eye-tracking technology and personal analytics based on it. Therapists can optimize a client’s mental health by checking how a person processes visual information, reacting to what a person sees, how well the mind works, and much more. Anima’s primary goal is to empower people to live a happier life.


  1. Lutz, W., de Jong, K., Rubel, J. A., & Delgadillo, J. (2021). Measuring, predicting, and tracking change in psychotherapy.
  2. Nienhuis, J. B., Owen, J., Valentine, J. C., Winkeljohn Black, S., Halford, T. C., Parazak, S. E., … & Hilsenroth, M. (2018). Therapeutic alliance, empathy, and genuineness in individual adult psychotherapy: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy Research, 28(4), 593-605.
  3. Yang, W., Ding, Z., Dai, T., Peng, F., & Zhang, J. X. (2015). Attention bias modification training in individuals with depressive symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 49, 101-111.
  4. Popa, L., Selejan, O., Scott, A., Mureşanu, D. F., Balea, M., & Rafila, A. (2015). Reading beyond the glance: eye tracking in neurosciences. Neurological Sciences, 36(5), 683-688.