Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Empower@Home

Our Mission

  • Making mental health treatments accessible to all
  • Harnessing the power of technology for social good
  • Designing treatment programs tailored for the needs of our client populations
  • Producing highly usable mental health self-care products
  • Enhancing independence and quality of life

What is Empower@Home?

Empower@Home is an online program for emotional wellbeing and social connection. A team of researchers at the University of Michigan developed it along with input from health care staff and at-home seniors. Users go through the program by watching a series of short videos and doing interactive exercises. The lessons are based on a type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy or just CBT. Empower@Home covers many CBT techniques such as getting activated and doing enjoyable things, challenging negative thoughts, solving problems effectively, and practicing mindfulness. 

What is internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or just CBT is a type of talk therapy. CBT is based on the idea that your mind and body are connected, and that changing what you do and how you think can make you feel healthier and happier. Hundreds of studies show that CBT is effective in treating depression, anxiety, and a range of other problems in people of different ages and social backgrounds. Studies have also shown that CBT is as effective as antidepressants for some people. However, many people face difficulties accessing CBT due to various barriers such as cost, transportation, and shortage of mental health professionals.


iCBT, also known as computerized CBT, online CBT, or eCBT, is CBT delivered via websites or apps. There are a number of iCBT products commercially available. A common part of these products is prerecorded, self-learning modules that impart CBT skills. Users typically go through sequenced lessons at their own pace and practice the skills after each session via structured assignments.


Research evidence supporting the efficacy of iCBT is strong for treating depression in adults. Fewer studies have tested iCBT with older adults and adults with disabilities. Nevertheless, the studies focused on older adults suggested that iCBT is feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective. 

Who is suitable for Empower@Home?

While any age group can benefit from therapy, we think this program is particularly suitable for those who are 60+, have chronic health and mobility problems, and have either indicated depression or are at high risk for depression. Currently, we are working with community social service providers and are not accepting any self-referred individual participants. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

  1. Do I need to go somewhere to do the program?

No. Everything is done online. You can do the program anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace.

  1. How much does it cost?

There is currently no cost for users.

  1. How long does it take to go through the program?

The program has 9 lessons. Each takes about 20 to 30 minutes. We recommend that you do one lesson a week. It takes about 10 weeks to finish the entire program.

  1. I am not so good with technology. Will that be a problem?

No. No experience with a computer is required to participate. We have worked with seniors who have never used a computer or an iPad. With some help to get started, they had no problem using the program. We will give you a tutorial and help you set up the program.

  1. I don’t have a computer. Can I still participate?

Yes. A tablet (like an iPad) and internet will be provided for free for the duration of the program.

  1. What if I have a problem or a technical question?

We provide technical support during regular working hours 7 days a week. Give us a call, and we will help you troubleshoot.

  1. What if I don’t finish the program in 10 weeks?

That is all right. You will have access to your program for up to one year.

  1. How do I access the program?
    You can access the program via a dedicated website. Your username and password will be provided to you when we sign you up.
  1. What device do I need to use the program?

You can do it on a smartphone, a tablet, an iPad, a laptop, or a computer.

  1. Will anyone see what I enter online?

Everything you enter will be confidential. For the most part, your answers to the exercises are private. However, your health care staff and the research team can access your answers to the weekly check-in questions. We do this to protect your safety.

  1. What is the workbook?
    Every user will be mailed a workbook. The workbook has many worksheets and session summaries. It gives you an option to do exercises on paper rather than going online. It is yours to keep.