Online therapy is particularly needed at this time of social isolation, now that access to meeting in person has gone. Technology such as Zoom and Skype, as well as Facetime, means we can work face to face. Among the advantages are that I come to you, wherever you are, at a time that suits you - to your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. You spend no time getting to me and no time in the waiting room. And I offer 25 minute and 50 minute slots online to fit more easily into your schedule. Check my diary here. https://cbt.simplybook.it/
Before the pandemic, my online clients were people who
• have extremely busy work schedules
• were pregnant or with small children
• live or work in rural areas, offshore or overseas
• have physical conditions which limit their mobility.
• have psychological conditions which restrict travel
• could not get find qualified support nearby
Another advantage of meeting online is being able to choose to meet in the environment where you want to make changes, the places where you want to feel stronger, more confident, more in control. My clients pointed this out to me as very helpful, allowing them to put their new mindset in action as soon as the session had finished. And new technology permits automatic recording of our meeting, so you can repeat the experience maybe once or twice a week, depending on what works best for you. Hypnosis works in part by repetition, so this speeds the improvements along. You can book in with this link. https://cbt.simplybook.it/
I use the same evidence-based approaches and protocols for distance therapy as for clients who work with me in the clinic. As a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist my approaches bring together the power of hypnosis and the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural techniques. CBT is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) because it has consistently been found by numerous research studies to be the most effective treatment for anxiety conditions. Research shows that when combined with hypnosis, CBT is even more effective. Hypnosis is a very natural experience, and we all experience trance-like moments from time to time, such when we get absorbed in our thoughts as we drive home safely after work. Fully aware of the traffic but focusing on our thoughts. So hypnotic moments can happen anywhere, and we can create them in our work online. Hypnosis is not magic, or sleep or unconsciousness, but can be thought of as a special form of consciousness, where you are tuned in to deep internal processes, at a level beyond conscious awareness. It is a powerful therapeutic instrument and in the hands of an experienced therapist, can enable the changes that move us from anxious and fearful to strong and confident.
Does therapy work online?
Research shows that it is as good or better. With the development and growing access of technology, researchers have been finding lots of evidence to show that it works well for conditions such as panic, social anxiety, health anxiety, insomnia, OCD along with other anxiety conditions. Here are some examples.
- 2008 analysis of 92 studies of online therapy found that they“provide strong support for the adoption of online psychological interventions”.
- 2006 randomised controlled trial of telephone CBT in 2006 based in 2 psychology outpatient departments in the UK found that clinical outcomes of CBT delivered by telephone was equivalent to treatment delivered face to face and similar levels of satisfaction were reported.
- 2010 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that clients receiving online CBT for panic improved as much as those receiving traditional face-to-face CBT. The study participants reported strong improvement after treatment, remaining strong at six months follow-up.
- 1995 study conducted at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, found that telephone behaviour therapy in their own homes for patients suffering panic disorder with agoraphobia is effective in reducing symptoms.
- Randomised controlled trial in 2014 led by researchers at University of New Brunswick, Canada of telephone CBT for people with high anxiety sensitivity (which is associated with the development and maintenance of anxiety and depressive symptoms) found the treatment successful in reducing anxiety sensitivity as well as panic, social phobia, post-traumatic stress symptoms compared to a waiting list control. These gains were maintained at follow-up.
- 2014 study conducted by researchers at Florida International University, Brown University, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania found online CBT for children with OCD to be effective.
- Randomised controlled trial in 2012 by researchers at The Wake Forest University School of Medicine, North Carolina, found that telephone CBT for anxiety in later life proved superior to information-only in reducing general anxiety, worry, anxiety sensitivity and insomnia. Additional sessions may be needed to maintain these effects over the long term.
- Randomised clinical trial in 2015 compared telephone CBT and telephone and non-directive supportive therapy for rural older adults with generalised anxiety disorder. At 4 months’ follow up, there was a significantly greater reduction in worry severity and generalised anxiety and depressive symptoms in the CBT group. Wake Forest School of Medicine.
- 2014 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found online therapy using CBT to as effective as traditional face-to-face treatment for health anxiety. Researchers also found online therapy was sometimes more effective, as more clients were willing and able to participate in online treatment compared to face-to-face treatment.
- 2014 study conducted by researchers at Brown University, Drexel University, the University of Tampa, and Massachusetts General Hospital examined online ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) for OCD. 80% of participants were “much improved” or “very much improved” at 3-month follow-up, with 30% of participants no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for OCD.
- 2009 Randomized controlled trial by the University of Manitoba in Canada, compared online treatment with a waiting list control for insomnia. Online treatment produced statistically significant improvements in sleep quality, insomnia severity and daytime fatigue.
- 2013 study conducted by researchers at Curtin University in Australia compared CBT for mood and anxiety disorders using online therapy versus traditional in-person therapy. Researchers found that CBT was effective in significantly reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety using both in-person and online therapy, with “no significant differences being observed between the two”.
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