How is cognitive behavioral therapy online?

As the use of new technologies grows, so does their versatility. Fortunately, this means that today psychotherapy can meet needs that barely 15 years ago were unmet, among other things.

Online cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the clearest examples of this phenomenon.: One of the most effective and adaptable forms of psychological intervention can be used in the management of patients by videoconference, with very good results and comparable to those of face-to-face therapy.

In this article, we will see what exactly this form of psychotherapeutic intervention via the Internet consists of and how it works.

    What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is a model of intervention in patients based on the theoretical and practical foundations of behavioral therapy and cognitive psychology that emerged in the late 1960s. The ideas on which it is based are as follows.

    1. The psychological is divided into behavior and mental processes

    First, the cognitive-behavioral perspective distinguishes between psychological phenomena in mental processes, on the one hand, and behavioral phenomena, on the other. The former have to do with cognition (the way of thinking) and emotions, and the latter involves actions that involve movement, and which can be observed by other people. This division is not radical; the two dimensions are connected, but they have their own logic.

    2. Mental processes are at the origin of a large part of behavior and vice versa.

    What happens in our mind leads to objectivable events that occur in our body: gestures, postures, deliberate actions, etc. Likewise, the way we behave externally (and the consequences this generates around us) affects the way we think and feel.

    3. Many problems are due to cognitive patterns

    Those of us who work from a cognitive-behavioral perspective understand that some of the issues that affect patients’ quality of life are due to latent psychological aspects in the way of thinking and interpreting reality that the person has internalized, that is, has learned and made themselves their own (usually unconsciously).

    In other words, in this perspective, the discomfort does not come only from sources external to the person, but also from private mental phenomena, based on something as well as on the “internal speech” of the individual.

      4. Improving well-being involves changing cognition and behavior

      As the name suggests, cognitive behavioral therapy it has two areas of intervention: The behavioral dimension, made up of the actions of the individual when he interacts with the environment and his entourage, and the cognitive part, made up of beliefs, thought patterns, frameworks for interpreting reality, etc.

      Fortunately, both things can be solved with online cognitive behavioral therapy, in the sessions, patients receive both theoretical information and practical training in various psychological techniques.

      5. Change is gradual and requires the creation of habits

      Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is no different from other psychological interventions that have been scientifically proven to be effective in that it does not promise miraculous cures in minutes or hours: changes happen on a scale. days and days.

      6. Therapy has a clear start and end.

      Psychological intervention does not last forever. Once the goals are set during the first sessions, therapy ends.

      How does cognitive behavioral psychotherapy work online?

      Online cognitive behavioral therapy it does not present any significant differences with its face-to-face version during the consultation of the psychologist; the only change is the channel in which communication is established: a video call in which the professional and the patient are seen and heard in real time. Clarified that, let’s see how it develops.

      During the first stage of the intervention, the patient talks about his problem and gives information about what he feels, what he needs and how he lives, so that the therapist gets an idea of ​​its characteristics and contexts to which it is usually exposed. nobody.

      After that, the psychologist makes a hypothesis about what is or are the problems to be solved, Create an action plan and propose specific objectives. All this is presented to the patient, who gives his approval before moving on to the next phase: the implementation of the program of modification of behaviors and psychological patterns in general.

      From this point on, the professional helps the patient in two ways. First, this allows him to adopt other frameworks of thought and interpretation of reality, Being able to find new solutions to their problems and new sources of motivation, leaving behind beliefs that acted as a burden.

      Second, he trains the patient in the techniques that will allow him develop ways of relating to the environment that are more appropriate and that promote emotional balance; these techniques are varied and which ones to use will depend on the patient’s problems and needs.

      Over the weeks, the psychologist continues the training, and at the same time provides support and resolves doubts, while motivating the patient to monitor his progress. In the event of a problem, you can modify the plan that structures the intervention, so that the patient is not left behind. Finally, when achieving goals, it is usually offered the opportunity to conduct more spaced sessions to ensure that a new and stable lifestyle has been achieved, without experiencing relapses or involutions.

      Are you interested in receiving online counseling?

      If you think you can benefit from professional online assistance from a psychologist, contact me. I am a psychologist specializing in the cognitive-behavioral model and I assist both in person in Madrid and by video call. You can see my contact details on this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Canvi, D. (2008). The effectiveness of tele-mental health applications. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 53: pages 769-778.
      • González-Penya, P., Torres, R., De el Barri, V., and Olmedo, M. (2017). Use of technology in psychological practice in Spain. Infocop.
      • Gratzer, D. and Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered over the Internet in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. CMAJ, 188 (4) pages 263 to 272.

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