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Banish the blues with phone therapy

Phone therapy can banish your blues — almost as face-to-face consultations do, says a new study. The trial run included people newly-diagnosed with major depression. Instead of eight scheduled visits to the clinic, the participants covered the same material during a series of phone calls with the therapist. Calls varied in length, ranging from 21 to 52 minutes. The patients did not receive antidepressant medication. At a six month follow-up, 42 per cent of participants had recovered from depression. For comparison, similar therapy conducted in person has a 50 per cent recovery rate.

“Offering a phone or webcam option for psychotherapy does appear warranted from an efficacy point of view,” said Diane Spangler, a Brigham Young University (BYU) psychology professor and study co-author. “It's more user-friendly and has no side effects,” Spangler said.

Over-the-phone therapy may not be for everyone. One-third of eligible participants declined the option, preferring the psychotherapist's couch. But for those comfortable with phone calls, therapy could soon be cheaper, more convenient and minus awkward waiting rooms. The study appears in Behaviour Therapy.

— Indo-Asian News Service