Consulting a shrink online would be more effective than face to face? Our expert’s answer

Consulting a shrink online would be more effective than face to face?  Our expert's answer

A study conducted on more than 27,000 patients confirms that consulting a psychologist online would have more benefits than a meeting in an office. Our expert, Johanna Rozenblum reacts.

In 2020, the Covid pandemic has changed our habits. More attentive to our mental health, we have favored teleconsultation to consult, obtain a psychologist’s opinion and advice. Video and chat sessions could be more than a substitute for a traditional consultation. A study of 27,500 British patients suffering from anxiety concludes that online consultation has more benefits.

Remote therapy gets better results

Scientists compared the results of patients with anxiety or depression having cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions conducted via text chat with those following other traditionally offered methods.

Results ? Teleconsultation with a mental health professional would be as effective as a face-to-face meeting in an office. Better, it could even be more efficient.

Patients who were offered the CBT program guided by a remote therapist accessed treatment more quickly and improved their quality of life more quickly.

The shorter period in question

How can this attraction and this difference be explained? Are patients more reassured and confident by staying at home? The answer is rather to be found in the processing time. Online, users don’t have to wait for an appointment to be available near them and can get to an available doctor faster.

Treated more quickly, these video enthusiasts can aspire to a faster improvement, without accumulating sessions over several months. Appreciated progress: “The longer patients wait, the more likely they are to see their problems worsen and get a poorer response as a result of that wait”explained Ana Catarino, author of this study.

A difficult comparison

For Johanna Rozenblum, psychologist, it is difficult in this study to really compare the effectiveness of a face-to-face session with a remote one. : “It would be necessary to be able to compare at the same level all the issues addressed, all the personalities and their expectations, which seems impossible”.

Facilitating access to a professional is an asset

Nevertheless, the consultation option by video, chat, remotely has allowed a great advance in the field of mental health. What our psychologist also recognizes:

“This option already shortens the delays encountered by some practitioners. But in addition, consulting outside can be a psychological obstacle for people who have difficulty leaving their homes, who are agoraphobic, very anxious, or even physically handicapped. The fact of being able today to act by video can unlock many things and these people who would not have consulted a professional when they express the need, can finally benefit from adequate care. In this sense, it is an excellent thing”.