What is online CBT?
Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), much like any other form of online therapy, is administered through the internet. This can be via video call, online chat, email or text messages. When conducted via video conference, online CBT does not differ from in person CBT, as the sole difference is the setting it takes place is as the client and therapist are not physically in the same room.
Online CBT can also be used to describe computerized therapy that utilizes audio, video or text resources to educate the client on the main premises of CBT without the presence of a therapist. More like a form of online self help. Both methods of online CBT can be useful and effective in aiding individuals who are not able to access in person therapy or resources and that value the flexibility and accessibility of online treatment.
How does online CBT therapy work?
Online CBT, whether therapist or self help led, does not differ from traditional CBT, as the core theory behind CBT does not change. CBT suggests that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms are all linked and can shape our perception of ourselves and the world around us. CBT aims to help the individual to identify what is contributing to the presenting problem and subsequently think of ways in which to change this, whether this involves changing detrimental thinking or adverse behaviors.
CBT is solution and present focused and requires active engagement from the client whether it is therapist led or self help led, as in treatment the client will be required to complete homework tasks that have either been agreed upon with the therapist or may be suggested in the self help materials.
How to get CBT online therapy in the UK?
In the UK you can access online CBT therapy via different avenues, whether it is via the NHS or privately. CBT is widely used in the NHS and some services have remained online since the beginning of the pandemic. You may talk to your GP about referring you for online CBT, whether it with a therapist or self help or refer yourself to your local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service that may also offer online sessions. All treatments offered via the NHS should be free. Alternatively you can find a CBT therapist that practises online by checking the CBT Register which would be privately funded. At Mindler, we offer online CBT treatment through our app, utilizing a blended treatment approach. Blended treatment entails sessions with an HCPC registered Clinical or Counselling Psychologist and access to our self help resources also known as iCBT. At Mindler you can choose whether you want to speak to a psychologist or simply access the iCBT materials or both.
What can I expect from CBT online?
A typical online CBT session will first involve setting an agenda for the session and agreeing with your therapist what you will focus on. This may involve revisiting what you did in the last session and the past week’s homework, exploring your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, coming up with activities that you will do in your own time, as homework and reflecting on the progress you have made.
What’s the effect and benefits of CBT online?
Studies on CBT provided via video conferencing suggest that they are just as effective as traditional in person CBT. Additionally, there has been research to suggest that combining self help materials or iCBT with therapy sessions can be more effective than just therapy sessions. Benefits of online CBT include accessibility, flexibility and convenience, as the client can access help from anywhere if they have a device with Internet access and can allocate time for tasks or sessions at a time that is convenient for them.
What online CBT courses are there?
As previously mentioned you may be able to access online CBT courses via the NHS or IAPT online courses. Your GP may be able to provide you with more information regarding this. At Mindler, we have a large library of self-help programmes, also known as iCBT that you can access via our app.
The iCBT available at Mindler is research and evidence based and encompasses a variety of topics such as depression, stress and anxiety. The programmes include information on what the topic may feel or look like, along with exercises to aid clients in improving their understanding of the difficulties that they may be facing and techniques to better cope with them. Individuals can go work through the iCBT on their own or alongside their sessions with a psychologist. Currently the programmes available (2023) are:
Trauma and PTSD
Improve your sleep
Understand and manage emotions
Living with pain
Fear of needles
Fear of childbirth
Managing social anxiety
Dealing with OCD
Managing panic disorder
Managing health anxiety
Fear of childbirth
Fill your life with meaning
PMS and PMDD
War in Ukraine
COVID-19 and your mental health
You can book an appointment with one of our HCPC-registered Psychologists for £90 and have unlimited access to the iCBT after you attend your first appointment.
How much does online CBT therapy cost in the UK?
The cost of online CBT therapy varies based on the service that is providing it and the qualifications and experience of the practitioner. CBT is widely used within the NHS where treatment is free. Mental health charities, such as your local Mind may also offer online CBT therapy for free or at a low cost. In regards to accessing online CBT privately, the price will vary based on the qualifications and experience of the practitioner. Mindler aims to provide accessible online therapy by offering 50-minute sessions with HCPC registered Counseling or Clinical Psychologists that cost £90, plus unlimited access to iCBT programmes.
What kind of CBT therapies are available online?
Online CBT for Anxiety
Anxiety is described as fear without a known object or source. Feelings of unease, fear or worry, inability to relax, a sense of dread and catastrophizing can all be part of anxiety. Online CBT for anxiety involves learning more about an individual’s triggers, how to better cope with anxiety in the short term and ways in which to decrease anxiety in the long term.
Online CBT for Social anxiety
Social anxiety is a subtype of anxiety that involves social interactions. Online CBT for social anxiety would therefore be similar to online CBT for anxiety which as aforementioned includes learning more about individual triggers and unhelpful thoughts, as well as new coping methods.
Online CBT for OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that can typically involve continuing intrusive thoughts, accompanied by repetitive behaviors. Online CBT for OCD typically involves Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) which encourages individuals to face their fears and allow the obsessive thoughts to occur without trying to neutralize them with compulsions.
Online CBT for depression
Online CBT for depression involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns and adverse behaviours.
Online CBT for binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder (BED) is described by frequent and recurrent episodes of binge eating that have an adverse impact on the individual’s mental and social wellbeing. Online CBT for binge eating disorder can involve individual or group treatment. It includes psychoeducation on binges and why they occur, aids in identifying individual triggers and focuses on normalizing eating and reducing the shame that may be associated with bingeing.