For the first time NHS patients in Camden or West Kent suffering from a range of depression and anxiety disorders can benefit from innovative and highly successful therapy offered by PsychologyOnline, all without having to step outside their front door.
With PsychologyOnline, patients use instant messaging to communicate one-on-one with an experienced and fully qualified psychotherapist.
This type of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is clinically proven to be highly effective in the treatment of a range of mental health issues. All that is required to access support is a computer or mobile phone and an internet connection.
Camden and West Kent are the first Clinical Commissioning Groups to offer online CBT alongside face-to-face therapy as part of a self-referral programme.
Patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and health anxiety can self-refer.
The opportunity to increase patient choice and access was part of the appeal for the CCGs. PsychologyOnline is offered within a portfolio of service providers.
PsychologyOnline can offer sessions at any time including evenings and weekends. By providing appointments outside of office hours, people with different kinds of work patterns or who might find it hard to attend appointments are now able to receive therapy more easily.
Psychotherapist and PsychologyOnline’s Clinical Supervisor Kate Tilbury comments that in clinical trials, text-based CBT was found to be a very effective for treating anxiety and depression.
She says: “CBT works by changing the way we think and feel about problems. The process of answering questions through writing is very effective for reflection and learning purposes which could be why we have had recovery rates of more than 60% within 40% fewer sessions than would be expected from traditional face-to-face talking therapy. Research has shown that patients using text-based CBT are more honest about their feelings, which helps a quicker and more sustained recovery.”
Kate says that online therapy also means greater confidentiality: “Many people still feel embarrassed or fear stigma at the thought of talking about their emotional problems and being able to communicate by instant messaging helps to overcome this obstacle; it means the patient never has to see a psychotherapist face-to-face, which is a particular benefit from many client’s feedback about the service.
“Nobody else needs to know you are having therapy, as it can be delivered at home on a computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection – that’s all you need.”
PsychologyOnline is suitable for most people. It is particularly beneficial for patients who struggle to open up in a face-to-face situation, people who want to have therapy in their native language and those with a disability or mobility problems, as patients can receive one-on-one therapy from the comfort of their own home, at a time which suits them best.
To access the service, people aged 18 or over living in or registered with a GP in Camden or West Kent can self-refer simply by logging on at www.psychologyonline.co.uk/camden or www.psychologyonline.co.uk/West Kent or by calling 01954 230066.