Web Therapies tap autonomy in solving problems
June 3rd, 2009

OMG, here is something healthy and helpful about the internet! In an era when the press is often accused of bias, it is easy to slip into concluding reporters are bias against the digital world and things involving the internet. Here, from a TIME story on Yahoo! News is an exception from the bright side:

Now a new study in the journal Sleep suggests a surprising treatment for the sleepless: the Internet. Web-based treatments have emerged for all kinds of bad habits and disorders, such as overeating, smoking, depression – and insomnia.

Compared with face-to-face counseling or medical treatments, online therapies are typically simpler and less expensive. Major health insurers like Blue Cross and Aetna even offer Web-based anti-insomnia programs for free (you can check out the retail versions at cbtforinsomnia.com or myselfhelp.com for as little as $20). And there’s growing evidence that online therapy really works: in the new Sleep study, 81% of participants who completed a five-week, online program for insomnia reported improvement in sleep.

“There may be some unique things that you get from an Internet program, like the feeling that you are really in the driver’s seat,” says the study’s author, clinical psychologist Norah Vincent, who adds that many of the 40 participants who completed her multimedia program reported both better sleep quality and less daytime fatigue than did a control group. “People like to have autonomy in solving problems. I think it motivates them more,” she says.

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