Various kinds of psychotherapy are increasingly available via new technologies, but little is known about the effectiveness of these novel delivery systems. Now, two psychologists have launched a program using online videoconferencing to help make treatment available to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who might not otherwise have access to psychological help.
Drs. James Herbert and Evan Forman of Drexel University have designed a program that treats individuals with OCD through Skype, a computer software application that allows users to make voice calls and videoconference over the Internet.
According to the Drexel researchers, programs like Skype could revolutionize how therapy is provided, particularly in cases in which individuals need highly specialized mental health treatment, as is the case with OCD.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in four Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, and of those more than 2.2 million people with anxiety disorders have OCD. An extremely debilitating anxiety disorder (despite how it is depicted in the media, most notably on the TV show Monk), it is responsible for roughly 8.4 billion dollars per year in social and economic losses in the United States.
Many professionals don’t know how to deliver highly effective, non-medication treatment for OCD and patients often don’t have access to high-quality treatment to address their needs.
The researchers aim to study the effectiveness and feasibility of videoconferencing treatment as a user-friendly and low-cost option for people seeking psychological counseling.
Source: Drexel University