CBT online may be more effective than in-person.
In the age of Covid-19, many therapists (myself included) have transitioned to providing online sessions exclusively. It keeps clients and therapists safe, reduces parents’ stress having to find childcare, reduces driving time, and generally creates a more relaxed atmosphere. An added bonus of online therapy is the client’s ability to show the therapist his or her living environment. Learning about a client’s surroundings can help navigate the counseling process.
Now there is scientific evidence that online therapy may be more effective than in-person therapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression. CBT is a type of talk therapy that is goal-oriented and short-term. In CBT sessions, you learn how to identify and then change your ways of thinking and self-talk, or “cognitive distortions.” Two CBT interventions include your therapist assigning “homework” for you to do between sessions, and role-playing an anxiety-provoking social interaction. Research has found that CBT leads to significant improvement for a wide range of mental health issues. Due to Covid-19, many therapists are now providing CBT online rather than in the office. There is good news — online CBT may be even more effective than face-to-face CBT.
A systematic review and analysis of 17 studies by Luo et. al (2020) found that electronically-delivered CBT (eCBT) was more effective than face-to-face CBT at reducing the severity of depression symptoms. The rate of satisfaction was the same for both face-to-face CBT and eCBT in the studies, and eCBT was viewed as being more cost-effective than face-to-face CBT.