• Therapist-assisted online treatment programs

    What are therapist-assisted assisted programs and is there evidence of their efficacy?

    What are therapist-assisted programs?

    Therapist-assisted online programs typically draw on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and other evidence-based therapies.
    Users work through psycho-educational material and exercises in the online program and receive support from human therapists, through text-based communication such as email or via telephone.

    What is the evidence?

    These programs are accumulating a strong evidence base, and one recent meta-analysis concluded that internet-based CBT treatments for depression, social phobia and panic disorder were "well-established" according to the evidence criteria specified by the American Psychological Association. For 22 other disorders, the authors concluded that if face to face CBT worked, it was likely that internet based CBT would also work (Hedman et al 2012).

    Australia's therapist-assisted programs

    The MindSpot Clinic is the Australian Government’s free clinic. It has in-house therapists who provide assessment and referral. Courses include Wellbeing (18+, 18-25 yrs, 60+, Indigenous), OCD and PTSD. Self-referral or email/online clinician referral. Outcomes are reported here.

    The MindSpot website provides information and support for referrers here

    eCentreClinic evaluates courses for adults and older adults–including anxiety, OCD, PTSD, stress, depression, chronic pain and epilepsy. Self-guided and therapist-supported courses are available.

    Mental Health Online provides information, automated assessment and treatment programs (anxiety, panic, OCD, PTSD). Courses available as self-help for free or with in-house therapist support for a small fee.

    THIS WAY UP provides therapist-assisted and self-help courses for depression and anxiety (GAD, mixed depression/anxiety, panic, social phobia, OCD). Clinician referral is required and there is a small cost to patients.

    Want more info?

    - Watch our free recorded webinar , then email us if you would like documentation for your CPD portfolio at emhprac@anu.edu.au.

    - Read the Audience Q and A.

    - Search on the Australian Government's MindHealthConnect portal and the Beacon site.

    - Share your experiences in the members' section of eMHPrac Exchange. Become a member here.

    Hedman E, Ljotsson B, Lindefors N Cognitive behavior therapy via the Internet: a systematic review of applications, clinical efficacy and cost–effectiveness. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2012;12:745–64. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1586/erp.12.67

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