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Video: Distance Psychotherapy For Depression Turned Out To Be No Worse Than Personal Visits To The Doctor
Distance psychotherapy for depression turned out to be no worse than personal visits to the doctor
The therapeutic effect of the direct presence of a specialist nearby turned out to be a myth. Scientists consider this result to be predictable: with remote therapy, people receive help in a comfortable environment, they do not need additional spending.
Photo: Kurt Skoglund
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment for a variety of mental disorders, including depression. It is based on the influence on cognitive distortions (thoughts, attitudes, beliefs) and behavioral stereotypes that negatively affect the patient's condition. The therapist develops individual treatment strategies for each patient.
Many experts consider the physical presence of the therapist and the patient in the same room as an important component of the effectiveness of CBT. But a number of studies contradict this belief.
In the treatment of depression, CBT is equally effective with face-to-face sessions and with remote sessions (using telemedicine). That is, CBT does not require a personal meeting between the patient and the therapist. This was shown by the largest systematic review to date, published in EClinicalMedicine.
“It is widely believed that face-to-face practice has the advantage of connecting the patient with the therapist, and that this advantage leads to better results,” explained Zena Samaan, professor at McMaster University and co-author of the study.
In the systematic review, Canadian scientists included 17 studies that were conducted over 20 years. All studies compared the treatment effect of major depressive disorder in groups of patients who received therapy with face-to-face and remote sessions. Remote treatment was carried out not only in the form of video conferencing, but also through e-mail, text messages and any other means available via the Internet.
The results indicated that e-CBT is likely to be more effective than face-to-face training. According to the review, “moderate-quality evidence” suggests that remote therapy results in better symptom relief. But the authors point out that the studies they analyzed were very heterogeneous. Therefore, we can confidently state only that the effect of these types of therapy is approximately the same.
“The effectiveness of electronic therapies does not come as a surprise. This method offers flexibility, anonymity, it does not need to spend time on transport, it does not require money for parking. It makes sense when people get help while staying in a comfortable environment,”Samaan says.
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