Computerised treatment of mental health is one of the latest fads in psychology. It isn’t hard to see why it is promoted by practitioners and policy-makers. That it exists at all demonstrates a triumph of technique over transference in psychotherapy of cost-effectiveness over clinical care; of the primacy of giving a narcissistic boost over a discursive exchange; and of the privatisation and individualisation of suffering rather than its socialisation. Computerised treatment is promoted uncritically by leading mental health groups in Australia, such as the Black Dog Institute, and Beyond Blue.
When it comes to the evidence, however, a comprehensive meta-analysis – the type of evidence prized by advocates of CBT and e-therapy – showed that such web-based approaches had a ‘significantly high drop-out rate’, no long-term benefits, and a significant publication bias. Which is entirely what one would expect.
My hypothesis: this evidence has not and will not deter policy-makers and advocates in the least when it comes to peddling these cheap, manipulative ‘therapies’.
“Thus it is,” says evidence.
“It cannot be” says ideology, and remains adamant.
At last – evidence yields.