A Review of Technology-Assisted Self-Help and Minimal Contact Therapies for Anxiety and Depression: Is Human Contact Necessary for Therapeutic Efficacy?

Newman, M.G., Szkodny, L.E., Llera, S.J., & Przeworski, A. (2011). A review of technology-assisted self-help and minimal contact therapies for anxiety and depression: Is human contact necessary for therapeutic efficacy? Clinical Psychology Review, 31(1), 89-103. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.09.008

16 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2015 Last revised: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Michelle G. Newman

Michelle G. Newman

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Psychology

Lauren Szkodny

Pennsylvania State University

Sandra J. Llera

Towson University - Department of Psychology

Amy Przeworski

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Psychiatry

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Technology-based self-help and minimal contact therapies have been proposed as effective and low-cost interventions for anxiety and mood disorders. The present article reviews the literature published before 2010 on these treatments for anxiety and depression using self-help and decreased therapist-contact interventions. Treatment studies are examined by disorder as well as amount of therapist contact, ranging from self-administered therapy and predominantly self-help interventions to minimal contact therapy where the therapist is actively involved in treatment but to a lesser degree than traditional therapy and predominantly therapist-administered treatments involving regular contact with a therapist for a typical number of sessions. In the treatment of anxiety disorders, it is concluded that self-administered and predominantly self-help interventions are most effective for motivated clients. Conversely, minimal-contact therapies have demonstrated efficacy for the greatest variety of anxiety diagnoses when accounting for both attrition and compliance. Additionally, predominantly self-help computer-based cognitive and behavioral interventions are efficacious in the treatment of subthreshold mood disorders. However, therapist-assisted treatments remain optimal in the treatment of clinical levels of depression. Although the most efficacious amount of therapist contact varies by disorder, computerized treatments have been shown to be a less-intensive, cost-effective way to deliver empirically validated treatments for a variety of psychological problems.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders, Depression, Internet therapy, Web-based therapy, Virtual reality, Palmtop computer assisted therapy, Computer-assisted therapy

Suggested Citation

Newman, Michelle G. and Szkodny, Lauren and Llera, Sandra J. and Przeworski, Amy, A Review of Technology-Assisted Self-Help and Minimal Contact Therapies for Anxiety and Depression: Is Human Contact Necessary for Therapeutic Efficacy? (2011). Newman, M.G., Szkodny, L.E., Llera, S.J., & Przeworski, A. (2011). A review of technology-assisted self-help and minimal contact therapies for anxiety and depression: Is human contact necessary for therapeutic efficacy? Clinical Psychology Review, 31(1), 89-103. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.09.008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2556443

Michelle G. Newman (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

University Park, PA
United States

Lauren Szkodny

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Sandra J. Llera

Towson University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Towson, MD 21252
United States

Amy Przeworski

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Psychiatry ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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