Project UPLIFT: Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts


Project UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts) is a group program using cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to help improve low mood or depression in adults with epilepsy. The program consists of eight weekly sessions, each lasting one hour.

Project UPLIFT is based on four key principles:

  • Our thoughts and activities affect our mood, stress, and worry
  • By paying attention to our thoughts, we can learn which thoughts affect our mental well-being
  • By learning to challenge these thoughts or let them go, we are empowered to improve our own well-being
  • Increasing our participation in pleasant activities also improves our mental well-being

Project UPLIFT is available in both English and Spanish.


About Project UPLIFT

Project UPLIFT is facilitated by a trained epilepsy professional and a peer. Groups of three to seven people with epilepsy meet by phone or telehealth platform. When patients enroll in Project UPLIFT, they will receive a treatment workbook and supplies for completing activities.

Patients may benefit from Project UPLIFT if they experience low mood, sadness, or depression; feel socially isolated or disconnected from others; find themselves easily irritated with others; and/or have low energy and difficulty sleeping and remembering things.


Information for Providers

Project UPLIFT teaches participants the skills for managing and improving their mental health and quality of life. In randomized controlled trials, this telehealth program has been found to increase knowledge and skills, prevent and treat depression, and improve quality of life. Project UPLIFT teaches methods such as challenging thoughts, behavioral activation, coping, problem-solving, and mindfulness. Validated mental health measures are used to screen for eligibility for the program, and other measures are used throughout the program to monitor changes in mental health

Project UPLIFT was developed with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program is highlighted in the 2012 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report entitled Epilepsy Across the Spectrum. The results of this program were awarded the Rebecca Goldberg-Kaufman Ethical Neuropsychiatry Award from the American Epilepsy Society in 2012.

Training Opportunities

Training in UPLIFT involves the epilepsy professional (mental health expertise preferred but not required) and identified peer. Non-licensed professionals will need to arrange for a mental health consultation. Training is 10 hours over five weeks and is offered two to three times per year via the University of Washington.

Certified/trained UPLIFT facilitators receive ongoing technical assistance on a monthly basis; treatment and program implementation materials; access to provider network.


Questions? Please email





Key Reference Publications

Spruill, T. M., Friedman, D., Diaz, L., Butler, M. J., Goldfeld, K. S., O’Kula, S., et al. (2021). Telephone-based depression self-management in Hispanic adults with epilepsy: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 11(7), 1451-1460.

Thompson, N., McGee, R.E., Garcia-Williams, A., Selwa, L., Stoll, S.C., Johnson, E.K., et al. (2020). The impact of a depression self-management intervention on seizure severity. Epilepsy & Behavior, 103, Part A. DOI:

Quarells, R. C., Spruill, T. M., Escoffery, C., Shallcross, A., Montesdeoca, J., Diaz, L., et al. (2019). Depression self-management in people with epilepsy: adapting project UPLIFT for underserved populations. Epilepsy & Behavior, 99, 106422.

Thompson, N.J., Patel, A., Selwa, L., Stoll, S., Begley, C.E., Johnson, E.K., et al. (2015). Expanding the efficacy of Project UPLIFT: Distance delivery of mindfulness-based depression prevention to people with epilepsy. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 83, 304-13.

Thompson, N. J., Walker, E. R., Obolensky, N., Winning, A., Barmon, C., Diiorio, C., et al. (2010). Distance delivery of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: project UPLIFT. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B, 19(3), 247–254.