cognitive behavioral therapy

Can computer-guided cognitive behavioral therapy improve depression treatment?

James Cartreine, PhD

Contributing Editor

In a recent study, online cognitive behavioral therapy programs didn’t appear to improve depression any more than standard primary care for depression. But that study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where primary care for depression includes a much wider variety of resources than are typically available in America. Even though these online programs have proven to be helpful, simply making them available isn’t sufficient —they have to be engaging and rewarding enough that people will be motivated to stick with them.

Online cognitive behavioral therapy: The latest trend in mental health care

James Cartreine, PhD

Contributing Editor

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very effective treatment for a number of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. But not everyone is comfortable working with a therapist face-to-face, and for some people, it can be hard to afford — or even find — this treatment. Research suggests that online programs may be able to deliver CBT to a wider audience efficiently and successfully.

Cognitive behavioral therapy offers a drug-free method for managing insomnia

Many people with insomnia turn to sleeping pills, which often have unwanted side effects. Few of them know about an equally effective therapy that targets the root cause of insomnia without medications. Called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-i, this short-term talk therapy teaches people to change the unproductive thinking patterns and habits that get in the way of a good night’s sleep. While this therapy can’t “cure” insomnia, it does provide tools to better manage it. In a review article in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that people treated with CBT-i fell asleep almost 20 minutes faster and spent 30 fewer minutes awake during the night compared with people who didn’t undergo CBT-i. These improvements are as good as, or better than, those seen in people who take prescription sleep medications such as zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). And unlike medications, the effects of CBT-i last even after the therapy ends.