Therapy over the phone more effective than in-person sessions?
Article Type: Report
Subject: Telemedicine (Practice)
Physician and patient (Psychological aspects)
Depression, Mental (Care and treatment)
Psychotherapy (Research)
Psychotherapy (Health aspects)
Psychotherapy (Practice)
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 192800777

Nearly all psychotherapists will agree that therapy sessions are effective at eliciting a desired result from a client. However, if clients fail to keep up attendance at the sessions, the therapy cannot work.

In a study performed by researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, results showed that therapy performed over the phone for clients suffering from depression yielded results similar to those in in-person treatment. Additionally, only 7.6% of patients quit the phone therapy, as opposed to the nearly 50% who quit in-person treatment.

Lead author of the study, David Mohr, said, "One of the symptoms of depression is people lose motivation ... It's hard for them to do the things they are supposed to do. Showing up for appointments is one of those things."

Therapy performed over the telephone allows for fewer emotional barriers between the patient and therapist. Many patients may find it easier to communicate feelings over the phone. Busy schedules also push telephone therapy to be a more comfortable fit for those who do not seem to have enough hours in the day to make it to the therapist's office.

Mohr expects additional studies in the future to shed even more light on the efficacy of telephone therapy.

Northwestern University. (2008, September 22). Patients stay with phone psychotherapy longer than office visits. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from http:// Patients_stay_with_phone_psychotherapy_longer_than_office_visits.html

MCT Illustration by Kirk Little/Saint Paul Pioneer Press
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