Shepherd, L., Goldstein, D., Whitford, H., Thewes, B., Brummell, V., & Hicks, M. (2006). The utility of videoconferencing to provide innovative delivery of psychological treatment for rural cancer patients: Results of a pilot study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 32, 453–461.doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2006.05.018
The intervention was cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offered as telepsychology. A clinical psychologist provided one-hour brief CBT to rural patients with cancer in Australia via videoconferencing. These brief CBT sessions were held weekly or biweekly for one to six sessions, depending on the patient’s Distress Thermometer rating and clinical judgment of oncology staff caring for the patient. After formal assessment, a treatment plan was individualized to include cognitive behavioral techniques, such as problem solving, activity scheduling, and controlled breathing. Each patient came to the rural clinic for the intervention. A staff member was in attendance with the patient throughout the videoconference session. Questionnaires were offered at pretreatment, post-treatment, and one month follow-up. The pretreatment questionnaire included demographic information, previous treatment by a psychologist, current use of psychotropic medications, time of initial diagnosis, and current cancer treatment prescribed.
A longitudinal pilot study design was used.
The traditional “standard“ dose” of CBT is six to eight weeks (9–12 hrs) of therapy in a group setting. Even with this study’s “inadequate” dose of therapy, the individual, brief CBT made a significant decrease in patients’ anxiety levels.