The effectiveness of self-administered treatments: a practice-friendly review of the research

J Clin Psychol. 2003 Feb;59(2):237-46. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10145.


Self-administered treatments are a cost-effective way to treat a broad spectrum of people. This article focuses on the existing research of self-administered treatments and their effectiveness when integrated with ongoing practice or when implemented alone. Evidence for their effectiveness is mixed; self-help has been proven successful in the treatment of depression, mild alcohol abuse, and anxiety disorders. It has proven less successful for smoking cessation and moderate to severe alcohol abuse. When determining whether self-administered treatment is appropriate, individual characteristics and attitude as well as the nature and severity of the problem should be taken into consideration. In addition, because many self-help treatments have not been evaluated, caution should be exercised when implementing self-administered treatment, and progress should be carefully monitored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Attitude to Health
  • Bibliotherapy / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Smoking / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome