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Friday, 18 June 2010

The end of face-to-face CBT?

Web psychotherapy 'just as good'

Therapy delivered via the internet is just as good as face-to-face sessions for treating depression, say Swedish researchers.

In the study, 117 volunteers with mild to moderate depression participated in either a web-based self-help CBT programme plus an internet discussion group, or an internet discussion group alone. The do-it-yourself CBT programme consisted of 89 pages of text divided into five modules that were estimated to take eight weeks to complete.

Overall, 37% of the patients withdrew from the programme - the main reason given was that it was "too demanding".

However, those that continued with the programme reported significant improvements to their psychological wellbeing.

The success of the web-based self-help programme was the same as that seen in past studies of face-to-face therapy, and was much more effective than the internet group therapy on its own.

The self-help programme resulted in decreased depressive symptoms immediately after treatment and at the six-month follow-up, the researchers found.

Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, said: "Computer-delivered CBT is an important addition to the range of treatment options available for people experiencing depression.

"This method of delivery is useful for people who might not be able to access CBT easily because of their remote location, or for people who find it difficult to speak 'one-to-one' about their depression.

"However, online CBT will not suit everyone. It should not be used as a reason to evade training enough therapists so that people experiencing mental health problems can access the treatments they need when they need them."

Link to News Article

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