Have you heard about the growing trend of doing cognitive behavioral therapy online? If not, it’s something to learn more about particularly if you struggle with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD or even addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has long been one of the most effective forms of treatment for the most common but challenging mental health disorders, but many people didn’t receive treatment. Now that it’s available online or on your mobile device, you might find that it’s accessible to you.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online?
First, what is cognitive behavioral therapy in general? Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a type of psychotherapy where you work on addressing your negative views and thought patterns toward yourself and the world. You then work with your therapist and on your own to challenge negative thoughts and behaviors and ultimately find ways to solve problems and cope that are more healthy and effective.
The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that your deeply rooted thoughts and perceptions influence your behavior. You may also have a distorted perception of reality.
CBT is often a preferred treatment option because it doesn’t require medicine (although it can be used along with medications), and it is extremely effective. CBT is useful for people of all ages as well including children and adolescents. Some of the conditions that you may find CBT helps with include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Major depressive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
What Should You Know About CBT?
The following are some things to know generally about CBT, outside of looking at cognitive behavioral therapy online:
- CBT is based on the idea that it’s ultimately our thoughts that create our feelings and behaviors, rather than external forces such as people or situations.
- The results of CBT can start occurring relatively quickly. The average number of sessions someone participates in when they do CBT is only 16, as compared to other forms of psychotherapy that can go on for years. What a lot of people like about CBT is the fact there is an endpoint, and it’s not open-ended.
- CBT is instructive and uses worksheets and homework assignments.
- The focus of CBT isn’t on the relationship you have with your therapist, which is likely why online CBT is so effective. The core of what is effective about CBT is that clients change their thinking and therefore how they behave. It’s about learning rational coping and problem-solving skills.
So what about cognitive behavioral therapy online? What should you know about that?
6 Things Everyone Should Know About Doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online
Doing CBT online is a relatively new trend, but it’s proving one that’s effective and breaks down many of the barriers people have traditionally felt exist when it comes to participating in therapy.
1.) Online CBT Tackles Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
This was touched on a bit above, but one of the biggest benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy online is the fact that it helps to overcome the most common barriers to mental health treatment.
For example, not having a CBT practitioner in your area, not having a lot of time, the high costs of treatment and the stigma of receiving mental health care can all be dealt with when you utilize online CBT.
Research has shown that along with helping people in general to receive treatment, online CBT especially helps men to seek treatment particularly when they worry about the stigma surrounding men needing help for emotional or mental health issues.
2.) There Are a Variety of Tools and Resources Included in Online CBT
With online CBT, there are typically a variety of different formats participants can use for communication with their therapist, and there are also different homework assignments and worksheets they can use. The sense of flexibility allows people to find what works for them, which can improve the effectiveness of treatment.
3.) The Costs Are Affordable for Most People
Depending on the online therapy provider you choose, you’ll likely find that treatment online is much more affordable than working with an in-person therapist. For example, the Online-Therapy.com platform has three different pricing plans, starting with the basic plan that includes the full online therapy program and daily feedback from your therapist for $31.96 a week. This is compared to face-to-face CBT, with each session costing $100 or more in many cases.
4.) Online Therapy Leads to High Levels of Patient Satisfaction
There have been numerous studies looking at the effectiveness of online therapy and how satisfied patients are with it. In a review of studies published in the World Journal Of Psychiatry, patients who received mental health care through video conferences reported high levels of satisfaction.
A study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews showed that online cognitive behavioral therapy was an effective treatment option for adults with anxiety. A separate review indicated online counseling helped people with depression return to work more quickly.
5.) Online Therapy Leads to Improved Outcomes
There were two recent studies looking at the effectiveness of online therapy for social anxiety or panic disorder. With the treatment groups using both in-person and online CBT, there was a significant improvement in symptoms. One study even found better outcomes for the group that used online treatment, while the other groups showed similar results between in-person and online therapy. However, online treatments were significantly more cost-effective.
A separate study published at the end of 2017 in the JAMA Psychiatry journal looked at the effectiveness of computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy and found that patients who used online therapy had a better quality of life, a better mood and had reduced anxiety as compared to participants who received only care from their primary care physician.
The same study showed the more online therapy sessions someone participated in, the better their improvements in mental health. Their recovery also seemed to be longer-lasting.
Participants in this study were diagnosed with anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic or depression.
6.) Online Therapy Isn’t Right for Everyone
While online therapy has some tremendous benefits, it should be noted that it’s not necessarily right for everyone. For example, people who are suicidal or extremely mentally ill may not be well-suited to online therapy.
What is the Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online?
There are a lot of options for cognitive behavioral therapy online, but we partner with Online-Therapy.com. If you use our link, you’ll receive 20% off your first month. We like Online-Therapy for many different reasons including the flexible pricing and membership plans, as well as the online journal and worksheet features. We also like the amount of access you’re given to a therapist with your membership, and the reviews are great with this program.
Miller, Anna Medaris. “When Your Therapist Is a Computer.” US News Health. July 31, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2019.
Nauert, Rick Ph.D. “Online CBT Shown To Be Effective Even for Severe Depression.” Psych Central. December 12, 2018. Accessed April 29, 2019.
Cherry, Kendra. “What You Need to Know About Online Therapy.” Verywell Mind. November 30, 2018. Accessed April 29, 2019.
Sandoiu, Ana. “Internet-based CBT effective for treating severe depression.” Medical News Today. December 16, 2018. Accessed April 29, 2019.
Richmond, Linda M. “Guided Online CBT Benefits Patients with Depression, Anxiety.” Psychiatric News American Psychiatric Association. February 1, 2018. Accessed April 29, ,2019.