Client-identified helpful and hindering events in therapist-delivered vs. self-administered online cognitive-behavioural treatments for depression in college students
Citation:Richards, D., & Timulak, L., Client-identified helpful and hindering events in therapist-delivered vs. self-administered online cognitive-behavioural treatments for depression in college students, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 25, 3, 2012, 251-262
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The study investigated what participants found helpful and/or hindering in therapist-delivered vs. self-administered online cognitive-behavioural treatments (CBT) for depression. A descriptive-interpretive analysis was used to investigate client-identified helpful and hindering events and impacts in online treatment. Eighty participants with symptoms of depression were randomly allocated to either 8 sessions of therapist-delivered asynchronous e-mail CBT counselling (eCBT; n = 37), or computerised CBT self-administered treatment (cCBT; n = 43) for depression. From session 2 to 8 participants were asked to complete the Helpful Aspects of Therapy form (HAT). Participants completed 149 HAT forms representing a response rate of 45% (eCBT: 49%; cCBT: 42%). Reported helpful events included provision of information, monitoring, scheduling, restructuring, problem solving, and distraction techniques and led to impacts such as learning new coping skills and behavioural changes, developing awareness and insight, and achieving self-efficacy. Additionally, therapist responsiveness seems to have a worthy impact of feeling supported and validated as identified by the eCBT group, whom solely reported helpful events such as acknowledgment/listening, advice and guidance, and provision of compassion. Unhelpful events also surface for both groups, though more for the cCBT group, and included, the burden of work, time and pace, issues with the content and its form of delivery, and technical problems, which led to impacts such as being frustrated, confused, irritated, disappointed, anxious, and self-critical. CBT principles remain established in online work and in addition therapist responsiveness seems to have a worthy helpful impact, beyond any established CBT techniques or strategies.
Type of material:Journal Article
Series/Report no:Counselling Psychology Quarterly
Availability:Full text available
Keywords:online treatments for depression, helpful and hindering impacts, significant events in therapy, depression, descriptive and interpretive framework