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When my best friend went through a painful breakup I noticed that, although there are excellent and free interactive self-help tools for everything from depression to meditation, no science-based tool existed to help people get through a breakup. I designed a tool to aid introspection during the painful act of breaking up, especially about positive aspects and growth opportunities that come from that experience. The concept was based on the psychological literature studying how people are able to successfully get over a relationship and move on, and used clinical psychology techniques such as reframing, de-catastrophization, positive activity planning, and gratitude brainstorming.

I did a great deal of research before deciding the flow and wording of the individual questions, mostly consulting psychology journal articles and clinical counseling manuals. I decided to use a framework which would allow me to rapidly code and test my self-help tool, as well as collecting data on user patterns, clicks, completion, time spent on each question, and anonymized answers. Before and after the tool, users were asked to rate how they felt about their breakup on a variety of different dimensions. The platform I used also allowed me to easily perform randomized A/B tests and change the flow of questions based on user’s answers to preceding questions.

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I published the tool to my social network and immediately received a pretty good response of first testers. This was somewhat of a high-stakes testing environment because of the sensitive nature of bringing up sad events. I wanted to be sure that my tool did at least more good than harm from the moment the first tester logged on.

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