Online CBT I: Bridging the gap between Eliza and modern online CBT treatment packages
Helgadóttir FD., Menzies RG., Onslow M., Packman A., O'Brian S.
Reviews have demonstrated large effect sizes when using computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) protocols for treating anxiety, depression and health related concerns. However, the amount of therapist contact per user seems to be the most significant prognostic indicator. Thus, in some ways current online interventions can be viewed primarily as an extension of one-on-one therapy. The present article provides guidelines for targeting this limitation of online psychological interventions. The goal is to mimic the therapeutic relationship using a computer, without having any therapist involved. Consequently, thousands of users would be able to receive treatment simultaneously, reaching a wider audience, which was the initial goal of the online model. The development of a treatment program using file audit data is suggested as an alternative to having an individual therapist for each user. This is done by allowing the 'computer psychologist' to tailor individualised treatments for each user based on their psychological profile. The user is provided with individualised corrective feedback based on a set of prewritten responses to common faulty thoughts. A new paradigm is proposed for online treatment delivery.