Need a Therapist? Go to Your Computer

August 9, 2013
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When you mention telehealth, most people think of treating patients for physical ailments. Now it may also have a place for treating mental health issues.

When you mention telehealth, most people think of treating patients for physical ailments. Now it may also have a place for treating mental health issues.

telehealth therapistAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adult Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Many of those who suffer from mental-health issues resort to in-person visits to therapists as a way to overcome their issues and problems. That may change soon with the help of telemedicine.

According to a recent study performed in Switzerland, researchers found that online psychotherapy is just as efficient as traditional, in-person therapy.

In the study, two equal groups of 62 patients who were experiencing moderate depression were analyzed. One group received traditional cognitive behavior therapy, both orally and in writing. The other group received online therapy and had to perform one predetermined written task on why they have a negative self-image of themselves. The therapists knew the patients by name both in the in-person and online groups so everything was completely transparent.

Following the therapy, researchers found that both groups reported lower levels of depression. But after three months, 57 percent of the online patients had no sign of depression, compared to just 42 percent who had in-person therapy.

Researchers concluded that online communication in some cases may be more effective than in-person, face-to-face communication.