When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Freud 2.0.
Freud 2.0.
Kritsanarat Khunkham

BERLIN — The understanding voice, the way the therapist slides the box of tissues over when you get emotional, the warm pat on the shoulder and the handshake as you leave. Can you imagine psychotherapy without these comforting human niceties? If so, consider replacing these face-to-face sessions with online therapy.

Results of a University of Zurich study found virtual analysis surprisingly effective. Researchers divided moderately depressed patients into two therapy groups: One underwent classic in-person sessions with the therapist and the other an online version of cognitive behavioral therapy with the therapist. After eight sessions, the researchers conducted an evaluation — and the Internet group won.

Both groups benefited, because all the patients were less depressed at the study’s end than they had been at the start of the experiment. But immediately after a session, 53% of the patients who had undergone Internet therapy showed no signs of depression. For the patients who had undergone face-to-face consultation, that figure was 50%. Not a spectacular difference, but three months after the experiment another 15% of patients who had the online sessions reported feeling less depressed.

This result could be interpreted as yet another indication that people are increasingly relating more poorly one on one, perhaps because they prefer not to. And yet 96% of the online group characterized their contact with the therapist as “personal.”

How to explain this success? The onliners, who could participate orally or in writing, had something the others didn’t: records of the sessions. Some of them said that they read the records or listened to the sessions later and that having them on hand to review was particularly helpful. Conventional patients had only memories of their sessions.

Internet consultations are of course not the solution to all problems. In fact, they generate new ones. Communication in writing can often lead to misunderstandings — and misunderstandings can have dire, sometimes even fatal, consequences in a psychotherapeutic context. There is also the question of whether it's a good idea to have such explicit written records that could get into the hands of third parties.

But while Internet therapy sessions may pose a few disadvantages, they could also prove to be a godsend for patients who don’t feel up to making their way to a therapist’s office. All that’s missing is that warm handshake.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Women, Life, Freedom: Iranian Protesters Find Their Voice

In the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police mid-September for not wearing her hijab properly, many Iranians have taken the streets in nationwide protests. Independent Egyptian media Mada Masr spoke to one of the protesters.

Students of Amirkabir University in Tehran protest against the Islamic Republic in September 2022.

Lina Attalah

On September 16, protests erupted across Iran when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody after being arrested and beaten by morality police for her supposedly unsuitable attire. The protests, witnesses recount, have touched on all aspects of rights in Iran, civil, political, personal, social and economic.

Mada Masr spoke to a protester who was in the prime of her youth during the 2009 Green Movement protests. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to possible security retaliation, she walked us through what she has seen over the past week in the heart of Tehran, and how she sees the legacy of resistance street politics in Iran across history.

MADA MASR: Describe to us what you are seeing these days on the streets of Tehran.

ANONYMOUS PROTESTER: People like me, we are emotional because we remember 2009. The location of the protests is the same: Keshavarz Boulevard in the middle of Tehran. The last time Tehranis took to these streets was in 2009, one of the last protests of the Green Movement. Since then, the center of Tehran hasn’t seen any mass protests, and most of these streets have changed, with new urban planning meant to make them more controllable.

Remembering 2009 triggers many things, such as street strategies, tactics and the way we could find each other in the middle of the chaos. But this is us now, almost at the back. Up front, there are many younger people, especially girls. They are extremely brave, fearless and smart.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ