Does counselling via the Internet work? Yes – Yes – Yes !!!
For the first time, clinical researchers from the University of Zurich have studied whether online counselling (such as that offered by YourPsychOnline.com) and conventional face-to-face counselling are equally effective in an experiment.
The experiment consisted of 62 patients that were treated by 6 therapists with the clients suffering from diagnosed moderate depression. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups, an online therapy group or a face-to-face therapy group. The treatment consisted of eight weekly sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Professor Andreas Maercker who was in charge of the research, reported that at the end of the treatment, no more depression could be diagnosed in 53% of the patients who underwent online therapy – compared to 50% for face-to-face therapy. Three months after completing the treatment, the depression in both patient groups continued to decline, but the decline was 15% greater for those treated online.
For both patient groups, the degree of satisfaction with the treatment and therapists was equally high. 96 percent of the patients who did online counselling and 91 percent of the recipients of face-to-face counselling rated the relationship with their therapist as “personal”. This supports the notion that rapport and trust can be just as effectively established with online counselling than with face-to-face counselling.
In addition to being highly effective, online counselling also comes with the added convenience of:
- no waiting weeks for a face-to-face appointment
- no referral needed from your doctor
- no travelling within traffic to and from appointments
- all equating to less stress!
So, if online counselling works just as good (no, sorry that should be works better) than face-to-face counselling, then why not take the plunge now and give it a go!
Reference: Birgit Wagner, Andrea B. Horn, Andreas Maercker. Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial. Journal of Affective Disorders. July 23, 2013. Doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.032