Empirically grounded clinical interventions clients' and referrers' perceptions of computer-guided CBT (FearFighter)

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2009 Jan;37(1):1-9. doi: 10.1017/S135246580800492X.


Background: Computer-guided CBT has been shown to be a potentially useful way of closing the gap between the demand and supply for CBT. Moreover, this approach has additional benefits in terms of less travel times for treatment, accessibility in remote and unusual locations, increased confidentiality, easier disclosure of sensitive information, and more egalitarian therapist-client interactions. Research on computerized CBT has concentrated on clinical outcomes, but the views of clients on this treatment approach have been relatively neglected.

Aims: The aims were to assess client satisfaction, professionals' views, and ease of programme use after completion of treatment via an internet-based CBT programme for panic and phobic anxiety (FearFighter).

Method: A feasibility and effectiveness study of FearFighter was conducted in remote and rural areas of Scotland. Treatment data are available for 35 clients at post-treatment, of whom 29 completed an 18-item set of rating scales designed to assess satisfaction, including ease of use, accessibility, how far needs were met, whether changes to the programme were required, the benefits and drawbacks of not having a therapist, and quality of support. Open-ended questions were included. Referring agencies were also asked to rate their views on FearFighter.

Results: Clients reported moderate to high levels of improvement and of overall satisfaction; very few difficulties in logging on to and using the programme were encountered. Similar levels of satisfaction with the programme were reported by referrers.

Conclusions: It is concluded that computer-guided CBT is acceptable to clients and to professionals, and that it could play a valuable part in a "stepped care" system of delivering CBT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Empirical Research*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Panic Disorder / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted*
  • Young Adult