Groundbreaking research on this unexplored territory is the focus of a new dissertation out of Stockholm University.
We know now that therapy is an effective treatment for different forms of mental illness. What we don’t know so much about is whether certain patients can actually get worse or have other types of side effects from their treatment,’ says Alexander Rozental, licensed psychologist and PhD in psychology.
He has, among other topics, researched the effectiveness of online cognitive behavioral therapy.
‘This dissertation is the first to examine the side effects of internet-based therapy. There’s no international research, either. That’s why this research is so important. If we’re going to use this method widely, we have to be aware of the risks,’ says Alexander.
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The part of the dissertation that focused on internet-based therapy showed that around 6% of the 3000 patients studied got worse during treatment. In another study, people who had received psychotherapy, for example, in an outpatient psychiatric setting, in the past few years were asked if they had experienced other types of negative effects.
‘We saw that a third of people had a difficult memory resurface, had more anxiety, or felt stressed. It was also not uncommon to have a poor relationship with the therapist or low-quality treatment.’