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Anxiety and depression are widespread among Canadians. And while they can be disabling, they are also treatable. Yet, for many reasons,
such as limited access to care, long wait times, or personal constrictions, people go under-treated or untreated. However, a University of
Regina researcher has found a way forward.
Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos (at right) and her Online Therapy Unit deliver web-based therapy sessions that are making a difference in the
lives of Saskatchewan residents. “Internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ICBT) is convenient, and, importantly, effective in reducing
the unnecessary suffering caused by anxiety and depression,” says Hadjistavropoulos.
Clients work through online materials and assignments, they’re provided with strategies for dealing with depression and anxiety, and they
have weekly contact with a therapist by phone or email. While ICBT is not meant to replace face-to-face therapy, says Hadjistavropoulos, it’s
a good tool and it is working.
Recent funding from the Government of Saskatchewan has ensured that more people in the province can be screened and treated. With use of
the service steadily growing, the team is currently screening over 800 residents annually and treating more than 600.
For many clients, ICBT is the first time they’ve felt comfortable receiving care, says Hadjistavropoulos. Clients report that because of ICBT,
their symptoms are reduced or even disappear.
“The completion rate for our eight week program is very high,” she says. “Many of our clients who get better, stay better.”
For more information about the Online Therapy Unit visit: www.onlinetherapyuser.ca