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Studies on Phone Therapy:

Phone therapy helps with depression, study says

Receiving psychotherapy over the phone is showing promise for people with depression, according to new research. A study published Tuesday found patients counseled over the phone were less likely to drop out of treatment compared to those who got face-to face counseling. Researchers also found people who talked to their therapist on the phone got better at the same rate as those who spent time on the counselor's couch.

"This research gives us a pretty clear indication that providing therapy via technology can be a useful strategy," says Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director, practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association.

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago conducted the study which was the first large trial comparing face-to-face therapy with telephone therapy. Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In this study, 325 people with major depressive disorder received 18 sessions of one of the two types of therapy. The scientists found that more people dropped out of treatment, usually in the first five weeks, when they went to see their therapist instead of talking on the phone.

But six months after therapy ended, phone patients saw a small drop in benefits compared to those who had seen the psychotherapist face-to-face. People still felt better than when they started treatment, but phone therapy patients were a little more depressed than those who had gotten care at the office. Researchers aren't sure why, but they have some ideas.

"My suspicion is that we were able to retain people in the telephone therapy group who would have dropped out [of the face-to-face group] and these are often people who have a lot more difficulties in their lives," explains study author David Mohr, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Depression is common, affecting 21 to 30 million American each year, says Mohr, and treatment is critical. Experts know that psychotherapy, often called talk therapy, is highly effective but most people who get referred for counseling don't go. Sometimes people don't have time because of demands at work or at home, others say transportation issues or a disability get in the way. Mohr refers to these conflicts as barriers to care. And when people do manage to start therapy more than half drop out before the end of treatment, say researchers.

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"For a long time there was an assumption that people who didn't make it into therapy or dropped out, because they didn't want it. But a lot of our work has suggested that people drop out of therapy because of barriers," explains Mohr.

And, being able to talk about your troubles on the phone may help people who might otherwise not seek treatment. In fact, 85% of psychologists now offer some portion of their care over the phone, according to the American Psychological Association.

 

"While it [phone therapy] may increase access to treatment, it will not be enough for the severe forms of mental illness in which psychosis, thoughts of suicide or crippling despair are prominent," says Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Kennedy is also concerned that without the face-to-face interaction, both therapist and patient may be missing important cues, and that a measure of intimacy is lost. But Mohr did not find this to be the case.

"All therapists in the study found that they could establish a relationship with someone over the phone that was just as deep and just as meaningful [as face-to-face therapy]," says Mohr.

Most insurance companies offer little if any reimbursement for phone therapy sessions. Some companies make exceptions for rural patients who don’t have a counselor nearby.

 

Researchers say that they don't want phone therapy to replace face-to-face therapy, but rather serve as another tool to help people get the care they need.



Mental Health Links


The following links are listed to provide you with additional online mental health care information and counseling resources.

 

Addiction and Recovery
Alcoholics Anonymous
Center for On-Line Addiction
SAMHSA's Substance Abuse/Addiction
SAMHSA's Treatment and Recovery
Web of Addictions

Anxiety Disorders
Answers to Your Questions About Panic Disorder
National Center for PTSD
Obsessive Compulsive Information Center
Calm Clinic

Associations & Institutes
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Counseling Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Society
Canadian Mental Health Association
Center for Mental Health Services
National Institute of Mental Health
National Mental Health Association
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADDA - Attention Deficit Disorder Association
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, NIMH
Born to Explore: The Other Side of ADD/ADHD

Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
Childhelp USA®
SAMHSA's Children and Families
SAMHSA's Protection and Advocacy
Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse
The National Domestic Violence Hotline Website
Women, Violence and Trauma

Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Depression
Bipolar Disorder News - Pendulum.org
Depression and How Therapy Can Help
Depression Screening
Depression Test, Symptoms of Depression, Signs of Depression

Developmental Disorders
Asperger's Disorder
NeuroWeb
Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Diagnosis
DSM-IV-TR: Diagnoses and Criteria

Dissociation and Traumatic Stress
Sidran Foundation Home Page

Eating Disorders
American Dietetic Association
Something Fishy

Fibromyalgia

 

Journals & Magazines

ADHD Report
Anxiety, Stress and Coping
Autism
Childhood
Contemporary Hypnosis
Dementia
Depression and Anxiety
Dreaming
Drug and Alcohol Review
Dyslexia
Early Child Development and Care
Eating Disorders
Educational Assessment
Journal of Gambling Studies
Journal of Happiness Studies
Journal of Mental Health and Aging
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Language and Cognitive Processes
Loss, Grief & Care
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
Metaphor and Symbol
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
Parenting
Personal Relationships
Personality and Individual Differences
Psychiatric Bulletin
Psychology of Men & Masculinity
Psychology Today
Stress and Health
Studies in Gender and Sexuality
Substance Abuse
Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Trauma, Violence & Abuse

 

Medications and Health Supplements
Drug Interactions, Drugs.com
Drug Interactions, DIRECT
Medical Dictionary
Medications, FDA
Medication, Internet Mental Health
Medications, PDR
Medline, Comparison
Multivitamins
SAMHSA's Psychiatry and Psychology

Mental Health Care General Links
CounsellingResource.com
GoodTherapy.org
Internet Mental Health
Let’s Talk Facts, APA
Mental Health Counselor Resources, About.com
Mental Help Net
Mental Illnesses/Disorders
PsychCentral.com
University of Michigan Health Topics A to Z
Web Sites You Can Trust, Medical Library Association

Multiple Sclerosis

 
Parkinson's Disease

Personality Disorders

Mental Help Net - Personality Disorders
Personality Disorders - Focus Adolescent Counselor Services

 

Suicide Awareness and Hotlines
SAMHSA's Suicide
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Suicide: Read This First

Additional Mental Health Care & Counseling Resources
Disaster/Trauma
HIV/AIDS
Interpretation of Dreams
Keirsey (Myers-Briggs) Temperament Sorter
Signs of Menopause, Symptoms of Menopause


Note:
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