Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Internet cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) is an effective form of psychiatric treatment delivered via the internet or other internet technologies. These programs can serve as an alternative to face-to-face therapy and improve quality of life for those suffering from mental disorders like anxiety or depression.
Many people struggle with anxiety, which is a widespread issue among both adolescents and adults alike. Anxiety symptoms can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, creating significant issues for them and their family, as well as negatively affecting social and work activities.
To address these challenges, therapist-supported internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) programs have become increasingly popular. Studies have demonstrated they are cost-effective, accessible and provide effective treatment for anxiety patients. These can either be therapist-guided – where patients check in with their therapist via email or online sessions – or self-guided – where individuals use an internet program independently.
iCBT (interpersonal cognitive behavioral therapy) is commonly used for panic disorder, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has been proven effective in various clinical settings such as primary care settings, community mental health clinics and university psychiatric clinics.
Numerous randomized clinical trials and studies have demonstrated the success of iCBT for treating panic disorder. Not only does it reduce symptoms, improve quality of life and boost functional outcomes in panic disorder sufferers, but it’s also proven beneficial when dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), post-traumatic stress disorder in critical care patients or breast cancer survivors as well as managing other mental health disorders.
In this study, we sought to determine if providing a treatment rationale that highlighted the advantages of iCBT would alter participants’ attitudes toward and outcome expectancies for both therapist-assisted and self-guided iCBT. Furthermore, we examined whether providing both an educational incentive and financial reward would motivate individuals to seek information regarding how to access iCBT.
To test these hypotheses, we sent participants an email with a link to an online survey. Participants answered questions about their history using and familiarity with online mental health interventions, completed measures of attitudes toward and acceptability for self-guided and therapist-assisted iCBT, and were provided with more information about accessing evidence-based iCBT programs. Depending on the experimental condition, participants were told they would receive a small financial incentive for responding to the survey.
This small-scale randomized trial revealed that participants who were presented with a treatment rationale and financial incentive for iCBT showed an moderate increase in their attitude toward and outcome expectancy for therapist-assisted iCBT, as well as a slight increase in willingness to use it. These results were similar to those observed in similar controlled studies of acceptability-facilitating interventions for Internet-based mental health treatment; however, differences may have been due to differences in the nature of the intervention (ie, type of iCBT used) or recruitment source).