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Therapy,Counseling Done Over the Phone as Effective as Face-to-Face Sessions

Update Date: Sep 30, 2012 08:19 PM EDT

Cognitive therapy sessions are just as effective over the phone as they are when conducted in person, according to a new study published in the journal PloS ONE.

University of Cambridge Researchers in conjunction with the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research & Care (NIHR CLAHRC) and NHS Midlands & East found that therapy sessions conducted over the phone increases access to psychological therapies for people with common mental disorders and potentially saves both the patients and the NHS money.

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In a study testing the efficacy of talking therapy versus face-to-face sessions, experts collected data from  39,000 patients in seven established Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services (an initiative which aims to expand the availability of psychological therapies) in the East of England were used to compare Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) delivered face-to-face versus over the phone.

For all but a small clinical group including subjects with more severe illness, therapy over the phone was as effective as face to face, and the cost per session was 36.2% lower.

Professor Peter Jones, Principal Investigator of the study from the University of Cambridge, said: "Providing therapy over the phone will not only help individuals gain much-needed access to mental health treatment, it will provide a more cost effective way of providing these services at a time when everyone is concerned about cutting costs."

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