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Why we focus on the implementation of iCBT in ImpleMentAll

Thu. 17. Oct 2019 11:30

In IMA, we have chosen to focus on the implementation of internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) - but what is iCBT really, what is it used for, and why is it relevant to our project? We have tried to answer these questions in this blog post by drawing on the expertise in the consortium.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment, which takes a practical approach to problem-solving. The goal of CBT is to change the pattern of thinking or behaviour that are at the root of the patient’s difficulties, and in that way change how they feel. There are several effective psychotherapeutic treatments for e.g. depression, and CBT is one them. However, not everyone needing treatment receives the treatment they need and some patients are not being treated at all; iCBT can solve some of the issues that form the roots of these problems, such as long waiting times and unequal geographical distribution of professionals. Also, some patients just prefer iCBT interventions over face-to-face or psychopharmacological treatment. With iCBT, they can receive CBT treatment without having to show up anywhere, which can seem less intimidating to some patients suffering from a psychological condition. This is not just an intuition, we have; recent research suggests that iCBT is effective in the prevention and treatment of a number of mental health conditions and in the maintenance of such treatment.

iCBT is not just effective for the treatment of depression. In fact, research suggests that this approach has proven effective for the treatment of a number of mental health conditions when compared to non-treated controls for a wide range of mental health disorders. “CBT is the most widely studied form of psychotherapy and has been used for the treatment of a wide range of psychological problems. The evidence-base of the treatment is strong, especially for treating anxiety disorders and depression,” says Anne Etzelmueller, leader of WP5 – Implementation management and knowledge transfer.

The maturity of the evidence-base for iCBT is one of our main reasons for choosing this approach as our intervention in IMA. Anne Etzelmueller explains, “Delivering evidence-based treatments online may be an effective way of overcoming barriers to treatment provision and substantially increase the coverage of usual care services. For IMA, we chose to evaluate ongoing implementation of iCBT interventions because there is already a strong evidence base for the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy delivered via the internet.

Furthermore, we were intrigued by the chance to address a clear and present public health challenge in the fact that common mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, account for an alarming proportion of the global burden of disease. More specifically, we can address this challenge by building on evidence-based implementation methods to promote the uptake of iCBT.

Thus, iCBT was chosen as IMA’s primary intervention. We believe focussing on iCBT strengthens the project and its outcomes by means of the substantial evidence base and the foundational aspects of iCBT. Do you have any questions about iCBT or the reasoning behind choosing it as our primary intervention? Please, write them below, we promise to answer to the best of our knowledge!

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733025.
This content reflects only the author's view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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