The many benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy are widely lauded among both mental health professionals and the clients who have benefited from its introduction into their lives. In particular, those experiencing symptoms of depression are likely to gain a great deal of personal empowerment and inspiration from undergoing a course of cognitive behavioral therapy, achieving a greater understanding of themselves and the world at large through examining thoughts and behaviors. Unfortunately, access to this form of treatment as well as psychotherapy at large is significantly limited in many parts of the world, and those who may stand to benefit most from CBT are often unable to find a practitioner or to afford treatment.
Explorations in the viability of online delivery of CBT have been underway for quite some time, and more advanced and precise investigations are being made into the possibility of reaching out to those without reasonable access to mental health care through the utility of the Internet. Recently, a team of researchers in the United Kingdom set out to discover whether CBT delivered in real time by a qualified therapist was capable of showing promise for recovery in those with feelings of depression. After an eight month follow-up with clients who were diagnosed with depression and participated either in general health care or an online CBT program, the researchers found that those involved with cognitive behavioral therapy showed a recovery rate of nearly 50%, about double the rate of the control group.
The precise delivery method of the therapy may play a major role in its success; while other studies have been performed on the potential of online therapies to be effective, some have involved computerized “therapists” or have provided human therapists on a delayed basis, such as over email. The researchers and contributors note that while mental health professionals may not favorably envision therapy “call centers” or other futuristic ideas for easy-access, long-distance therapy, such realities may be approaching.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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