MARA’s features

Technology structure: MARA operates through Filemaker GoTM interface, which is freely downloadable from iTunes.

Security features: include password protected access, two levels of access for managers and users of the assessment process, and the option of different users on the same licence.

Client information storage: MARA’s functions include storage of client personal data such as name, contact details, information about health and an identification photo.

Attendance function: An attendance function allows monitoring of client participation in a program, including the number of sessions the client has attended compared with the total number of sessions offered. A ‘Groups’ function enables individual client records to be organised into groups as clients might be in DMT settings.

Assessment process: Assessment scores are created are assessed by the assessor tapping the screen for the appropriate measure. An assessor can decide to tap once at the time a behaviour or movement is observed in a session, or multiple times to indicate frequency of occurrence of the behaviour or movement, or at particular time intervals throughout a session. The app records of the total number of taps made and the range and average score for that measure for the session. Data can be viewed in graph form for each session or for a period of time immediately following input of the information. This instantaneous visual feedback of client progress is expected to be affirming to the assessor, who is able to see patterns in the client profile that would not be available in hardcopy assessment processes until after time spent collating information. 

Data collection options: Therapists’ numerical scoring is augmented by typed or hand written notes or drawings, photo, video and sound recordings. Client progress can be considered for any period: within or throughout a single session, or series of sessions, or program; and also between clients or groups of clients

Data exporting: Data can be exported in Excel form, via email and transfer to iTunes. This enables it to be used in other contexts, for reporting, archiving and back-up.

The app facilitates the therapists’ selection of therapeutic domains and goals from the comprehensive range for an individual or group. These goals can remain consistent over time or be changed as appropriate for the overall program or an individual session. MARA  allows collection and provision of information that is relevant for various stages of the therapeutic process. A broad overview of a client’s movement profile can be made for intake assessment at the beginning of a program. Data gathering can be focussed narrowly on pre-determined therapeutic goals, or more broadly to capture overall client progress. Data can reflect client progress at specific points in the therapeutic process (formative assessment) and at the end (summative assessment) (Masters, 2013).

Data may also signal emergent or potential movement: intermittent or micro-moments of observable behaviour could indicate ‘what is to come’ as the client transforms in the DMT process (Exiner & Kelynack,1994).

The possibility of comparison between clients in a group or between groups is also enabled.

Additional functions in the app enable capture of the breadth of individualised expression in more detail than the Framework’s indicators of progress alone.

Video and Photo options allow for visual recording of particular movement moments. A Notes function allows the therapist to type written comments to augment quantitative observations, while a Drawing function enables pictorial responses. All of these are integrated into and correspond with quantitative assessment ratings.