Is Web-Based CBT as Effective as Face-to-Face?

Controlled studies conducted in Sweden have found Internet-administered CBT-based solutions as effective as face-to-face CBT for social anxiety.

Internet-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy vs. Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Non-inferiority Trial.

Erik Hedman, Gerhard Andersson, Brjann Ljotsson, Erik Andersson, Christian Ruck, Ewa Mortberg, Nils Lindefors. (2011)
PLoS ONE 6(3): e18001.

After the effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) had already been demonstrated in several studies, these researchers sought to determine how it compared to the effectiveness of gold-standard, face-to-face Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Specifically, this investigation compared the effectiveness of ICBT and of face-to-face Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) in the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder.

126 individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder were assigned to either ICBT or CBGT treatments. Their scores on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) and a number of secondary measures were compared before and after treatment was completed, and again after 6 months had passed.

At post-treatment, both groups experienced a significant improvement in their symptom ratings. There was no significant difference between the LSAS scores of the ICBT and CGBT groups. Both groups maintained their gains 6 months after treatment was completed. Both the ICBT and the CBGT were found to have clinically significant and enduring effects. The researchers indicated that they “conclude that [online] ICBT may be at least as effective as [face-to-face] CBGT.”

For more information: