Psychological treatment for depression, delivered over the internet, is reliable and effective, according to the results of research published recently in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Psychological treatment, particularly a form of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is already known to be an effective treatment, but qualified therapists are relatively scarce.
Some of the techniques learnt during a course of CBT can, however, be passed on via the internet. This has the advantage of being more widely available to help people who may be having problems with distressing thoughts or moods.
One example of this is MoodGym, an open-access web-based treatment for depression, developed by the Australian National University.
Several research trials have shown MoodGym to be effective at alleviating depression when used either by specifically recruited participants, or by other users who happen to have started using the website.
Researchers hope to gain a knowledge about which aspects of therapy can be best communicated online to develop the most effective web-based treatments and therapies.