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KBT therapy for health anxiety (previously called hypochondria) over the Internet gives similar results as physical meetings shows a study from the Karolinska Institute. The main difference is that the therapist only needs to spend 10 minutes a week treating a patient instead of 45 minutes.
The therapists can thus treat many more patients without suffering the quality of care.
"The study is unique in that it is the first direct comparison made by KBT eye to eye and KBT via the internet for health anxiety. The results show that with a treatment that is entirely communicated online it is possible to achieve the tough behavioral changes that are required," says Erik Hedman-Lagerlöf, professor of psychology and researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet.
Another advantage is that people who have difficulty getting to a KBT reception can still receive a full treatment. This may involve people who live far from a therapist or who experience a social stigma from seeking help.
In these times, of course, it is also positive that those who need therapy can get it even if they belong to a risk group for covid-19 and should therefore limit their personal meetings.
“A big advantage is that the therapist can help more patients at the same time, but also that the treatment can be given regardless of where the person is geographically, for example to people in rural areas. The fact that it is possible to obtain information and contact a therapist at any time also means that treatment can benefit those who have difficulty taking time off work, "says Erland Axelsson, psychologist and researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet .
KBT over the internet works so that the patient can access extensive information material via the internet. Then the patient contacts the therapist via e-mail-like text messages. The patient also makes behavioral changes in his or her everyday life just like in traditional KBT treatment.