In a clinical trial of 62 patients diagnosed with moderate depression, individuals who received online psychotherapy were relieved of more symptoms than those who saw psychotherapists face-to-face. Surprisingly, those treated by correspondence also rated their treatment sessions as more personal. “The treatment consisted of eight sessions with different established techniques that stem from cognitive behavior therapy and could be carried out both orally and in writing. Patients treated online had to perform one predetermined written task per therapy unit—such as querying their own negative self-image. They were known to the therapist by name.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
In both patient groups, rates of depression fell dramatically, according to researchers. But by the end of the treatment, no more depression could be diagnosed in 53 percent of the patients who underwent online therapy—compared to 50 percent for face-to-face therapy. “In the case of online therapy, the patients tended to use the therapy contacts and subsequent homework very intensively to progress personally. For instance, they indicated that they had re-read the correspondence with their therapist from time to time.” Researchers concluded that, in the medium term, online therapy was more effective than face-to-face treatment.