Zoom CBT Treatment
Advantages of Zoom (online) or phone therapy
During my personal and professional career there have been a number of occasions where negative events have eventually resulted in a positive outcome. Effectively delivering CBT through the global pandemic has been one of those. When I first started working from home in March 2020, I knew academic research indicated the outcomes from remote therapy were just as effective as office based treatment, but I was unsure how I would manage the challenges involved in offering online therapy. However, I now have nearly a year’s worth of data to indicate that my outcomes are actually better than when I saw people face-to-face. This backs up some recent research by Luo et. al (2020) who found that electronically-delivered CBT (eCBT) was more effective than face-to-face CBT at reducing the severity of depression symptoms.
Online therapy has many additional benefits compared with face to face practice, as it is far more flexible and inclusive. I would argue it more time and cost effective, for example online therapy can result in savings on car parking and transport costs, and there is no need to turn up to appointments early or to be sat in traffic jams. Zoom sessions also enable me to cater for people who have childcare issues, health and social issues issues, caring responsibilities, transport difficulties, or live in remote areas.
Therapy over the phone can also be advantageous if people have poor broadband speeds, or do not have access to a screen. I can also offer CBT sessions by phone supported by email content. This may be of benefit for clients unable to find any privacy in either the home or work environment.
Safety and Security
The United Kingdom unfortunately does not have the same guidance regarding safety and security for online clinical working as does the USA. Their health authorities have specific criteria to adhere to under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Consequently, services that provide sufficient encryption and privacy for remote therapeutic work can apply for HIPAA compliance. However, Facetime, Skype, Facebook or Google are not HIPAA compliant as they collect personal information or have the potential to listen in to the conversations. However, I pay for an additional layer of security with Zoom to make sure it has the equivalence of HIPAA compliance. Even though Zoom-bombing made the news last year, the version I use has Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256-bit GCM) encryption, which in effect means Zoom is as safe as a bank website. Details on Zoom encryption can be found here.
Luo, C., Sanger, N., Singhal, N., Pattrick, K., Shams, I., Shahid, H., … & Puckering, M. (2020). A comparison of electronically-delivered and face to face cognitive behavioural therapies in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 100442