Praxis für Psychosomatische Medizin u. Psychotherapie, Coaching, Mediation u. Prävention
Dr. Dr. med. Herbert Mück (51061 Köln)

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Internetbased Psychotherapy
 - Experiences with 22 patients
(Übersetzt von J. B.)

 (in deutscher Sprache komplett veröffentlicht am 18.07.2005
auf Beitrag 3/2005)
(pdf-Dokument der Studie)


The possibilities of the internet are increasingly discovered and explored also for the area of psychotherapeutic care. With this in mind a qualitative survey was carried out among 22 patients in ambulatory care (50% women) in order to find out how they experienced the offer of an “internet-based psychotherapy”. The participants mainly suffered from depression and fears, had mostly found the therapist via the Internet, and the majority had a high level of education.

The “internet-based psychotherapy”, as an addition to the classic offers (Freudian psychotherapy and behaviour therapy), opened up the possibility to send feedback or short concerns to the therapist in between the regular treatments – usually double session on a bi-weekly basis. Additionally, the extensive therapist’s webpage was integrated into the treatment as a means of ‘psycho-education’. All of the patients gave positive feedback and stressed the following advantages of an internet-based psychotherapy:

an easy and anonymous way of making contact, creating a ‘relationship’ and building up trust even before the first meeting, the feeling of not being left alone even in between sessions, the possibility to quickly  communicate and to get feedback in case of a difficult situation, better motivation between the sessions, many advantages connected to the process of writing itself (more precise wording, the possibility to read again and check, communication in a relaxed and more anonymous state, more emphasis laid on and better recollection of written messages, a convenient way of communicating for verbally reserved people, documentation of one’s own development), efficiency (less travelling, intensive long-distance care, lower risk of relapse, optimizing of sessions by way of preparation and follow up, less duration of the therapy) as well as flexibility concerning time and place. The experiences of the therapist showed that internet-based psychotherapy leads to faster and more stable results. While patients and insurances profit from this practice economically, the therapist has so far been offering this service free of charge which ultimately obstructs this innovative approach or demands highly creative solutions when it comes to billing.