A review of technology-assisted self-help and minimal contact therapies for anxiety and depression: Is human contact necessary for therapeutic efficacy?

Michelle G. Newman, Lauren E. Szkodny, Sandra J. Llera, Amy Przeworski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

281 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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