New research conducted in the east of England has found that cognitive behavioural therapy is just as effective over the phone as it is face-to-face. This means that if you’re unable to meet a therapist in person or the cost of face-to-face psychotherapy is preventing you from accessing treatment, the more convenient and cheaper alternative is a viable option. The study also showed that those with common mental disorders access telephone-based therapy more than traditional sessions. Thanks to the new findings, people in need of counselling will know they aren’t affecting the quality of their treatment if they use remote, telephone-based services.
The researchers used data from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies database, looking at the records of 39,000 patients. They compared the data to determine whether cognitive behavioural therapy is as effective over the phone as when conducted in person, and found that it is for the vast majority of patients. Those for whom it isn’t as effective have severe conditions, and as a result they can be readily and easily identified. Overall, they make up a very small proportion of people attending psychotherapy. The research also showed that people who talk to a counsellor over the phone pay an average of 36 percent less than the ones who attend treatment face-to-face.
Around one in four people in Britain are affected by a mental illness. More NHS funds are devoted to it than asthma, cancer, strokes and heart disease combined, and GPs also spend a third of their time on mental health issues. The prevalence of mental health issues in the UK and the amount of funding it receives shows why improving access to treatment is extremely important. The new study illustrates that there is ordinarily no difference in terms of quality between talking to a therapist over the phone or in person, so increasing the availability of telephone counselling means that more affected individuals will access suitable treatment.
The researchers argued that many patients might not be able to attend face-to-face sessions with a therapist for a variety of reasons, including existing commitments to work, disabilities or issues with transportation. Peter Jones, who headed the study, commented “Providing therapy over the phone will not only help individuals gain much-needed access to mental health treatment, it will provide a more cost-effective way of providing these services at a time when everyone is concerned about cutting costs.”
The benefits of telephone-based therapy for accessibility are obvious. Accessing treatment over the phone entirely removes travel costs, and makes it easier to find time for counselling. Any people prohibited by the costs will benefit from cheaper treatment, and they also don’t have to spend any money on travelling to sessions. The catchment areas of services can also afford to be much larger if counselling is conducted over the phone, which will give individuals more options for treatment. Expanding psychotherapy to the telephone opens vital services up to a multitude of new clients.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a mental health issue, we’re here to help you. Telephone counselling means that you can receive treatment from anywhere in the UK and makes the entire process more affordable. We’ll assess your requirements and go through the different treatment options with you to ensure that you receive the right care. We offer a completely free initial chat, where we’ll explain your options for counselling. You can come to our Luton offices in person or contact us over the telephone, whichever you prefer. Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you!