Many times finding a space within the busy weekly schedule to go to therapy can be very complicated. On the other hand, even if we manage to find the time, sometimes meeting in person can be difficult for many people who have anxiety or depression. Online psychology may be the most effective solution to these problems.

Patients can receive therapy through online psychology whenever and wherever they want . Online psychology can provide trust, confidentiality and comfort. These elements are essential in order to help people who need psychological intervention, but are reluctant to go to the psychologist’s office.

The effectiveness of online psychology

Online psychology, since the last decades, is a way of bringing psychotherapy to people who are overwhelmed by problems of anxiety and depression .

As well as face-to-face, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and third generation behavioral therapies (ACT, Behavioral Activation, Mindfulness, …) are also effective in the online modality for people with depression, and anxiety.

Pioneering countries and development in Spain

The pioneering countries in online psychology are the United States, Canada and Australia. In Canada more than half of the psychologists use online psychology in their work (Simms, Gibson & O’Donnell, 2011).

In Spain it is considered that the beginning of online psychology appeared in 2000, with 1% of the total psychotherapeutic treatments. The year 2010 represents a turning point in the development of online psychology in Spain , being present in 12% of psychological treatments. In 2013, online psychological therapy is considered to have taken off with 26% of all psychotherapeutic interventions (González-Peña, P., Torres, R., Del Barrio, V., y Olmedo, M., 2017).

Studies and institutions

Psychologist Andreas Maercker from the University of Zurich conducted a study with people suffering from depression in 2013 in which he concludes that online psychology is equally effective as face-to-face psychology .

We found in another study conducted by the American Psychiatric Association that concluded that online psychotherapy had equivalent results to those achieved in face-to-face psychology. On the other hand, the mentioned study found a similar level of satisfaction in patients who were treated both online and in person.

Gratzer, chief psychiatrist of the Mental Health Service at Scarborough Hospital (Toronto), and his team reviewed studies on the effectiveness of online psychotherapy conducted between 2000 and 2012. According to these studies, patients using online psychotherapy had better results than those using face-to-face psychology .

In the JAMA Psychiatry journal (through 2013 Archives of General Psychiatry ), a study was published that evaluated how online psychology affects the well-being of physicians in training. Medical residents have a heavy workload, including nights and weekends, and the accumulated stress can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide. Resident physicians who received half-hour online psychology sessions had fewer depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicide.

The psychologists Cohen and Kerr from the University of Arizona published in 1999 a study on the effectiveness of online psychology for the treatment of anxiety disorder in students and concluded that there is no difference in the level of effectiveness between online and face-to-face psychology , which was confirmed with the psychometric instrument the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory .

Prestigious institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine of Harvard University, the National Institute of Mental Health of the United States and the British Journal of Psychiatry, consider online psychotherapy to be as effective as face-to-face psychological care.

However, online psychology is not recommended for people with severe mental disorder .

Our experience

From our clinical experience of seven years in of online psychology practice with more than 1200 sessions and nearly 100 people treated by videoconference we corroborate the effectiveness of the above data.

The results of our patient satisfaction surveys show a significant level of online psychology patient satisfaction in dealing with their anxiety and depression problems.

For all the above mentioned in this article, online psychology is today a means of making adequate psychotherapy , by providing effectiveness in the psychological treatment of people who are affected by problems of anxiety and depression.