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Telephonic Therapy Effective for Depression

Telephonic Therapy Effective for Depression A new small study has discovered treating clinical depression via the telephone is nearly as effective as face-to-face consultations.

Brigham Young University scientists followed 30 people newly diagnosed with major depression.

Instead of eight scheduled visits to the clinic, the participants covered the same material during a series of phone calls with the therapist. Calls varied in length, ranging from 21 to 52 minutes.

The patients did not receive antidepressant medication.

At a six month followup, 42 percent of participants had recovered from depression. For comparison, similar therapy conducted in person has a 50 percent recovery rate.

“Offering a phone or webcam option for psychotherapy does appear warranted from an efficacy point of view,” said Diane Spangler, a BYU psychology professor and a coauthor on the study.

“It’s more user-friendly – no commutes, more flexibility of place and time – and has no side effects.”

Over-the-phone therapy may not be for everyone.

One-third of eligible participants declined the option for telephone consultations, preferring the psychotherapist’s couch to the one in their living room. But for those comfortable with phone calls, therapy could soon be cheaper, more convenient and minus awkward waiting rooms.

Though a sample of 30 people is not large, the BYU researchers cite a previous antidepressant drug trial that happened to include a telephone counseling component. In that trial, the added benefit from phone counseling matched the results attained by the new BYU study.

The study appears in the June issue of the journal Behavior Therapy .

Source: Brigham Young University

Telephonic Therapy Effective for Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Telephonic Therapy Effective for Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/11/telephonic-therapy-effective-for-depression/13701.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.