Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Could Expand Reach of Mental Health Services in Indian Country

“Elle is a mess. She’s actually talented, attractive and good at her job, but she feels like a fraud — convinced that today’s the day she’ll flunk a test, lose a job, mess up a relationship. Her colleague Moody also sabotages himself. He’s a hardworking, nice person, but loses friends because he’s grumpy, oversensitive and gets angry for no reason.” As this New York Times article goes on to state, Elle and Moody aren’t actually people, they’re characters in a new, free online program focused on cognitive behavioral therapy called MoodGYM.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment common for depression and anxiety that focuses on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, but up until now has usually required a therapist. As the article states, “Scores of studies have found that online C.B.T. works as well as conventional face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy – as long as there is occasional human support or coaching”. As such, therapies like this could see expansive reach and success in Indian Country where often there is a lack of permanent mental health providers in Indian communities. If this therapy was combined with mental health professionals who occasionally traveled to communities, the results in Indian Country could be exponential!




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