Psychotherapy via text messaging can work, study says

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Online psychotherapy with patient and therapist texting each other in real-time can be effective, potentially giving thousands or even millions of patients new access to much-needed treatment, researchers say.

The new study adds to a growing body of research and practice involving technology-based treatments for depression and othermental health issues. In this case, the specific type of therapy used was cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

“There is a role for this, it’s exciting,” said one expert, Dr. Kathryn J. Kotrla, chairwoman and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “CBT is tremendously underutilized.”

This and other computer-based treatment could benefit people in rural or remote areas who need psychotherapy, including traumatized veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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