Telephone and Online Therapy for OCD and Anxiety
Unfortunately, there are very few therapists who fully understand and know how to appropriately treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety based conditions using Cognitive Behavoral Therapy (CBT). As a result of this, we receive many calls and emails each week from individuals across the US and in many other countries who are unable to find qualified care near their homes.
Because of this dearth of OCD and anxiety specialists, the OCD Center of Los Angeles offers distance therapy options to individuals throughout California, as well as residents of most other countries. In addition to our standard office-based individual and group therapy programs, we offer both telephone and online therapy for the treatment of the following conditions:
All therapy suites at the OCD Center of Los Angeles are equipped with state-of-the-art computers and web cameras which allow our online therapy clients to visually interact with our staff therapists in real time, while modern encryption technology ensures their confidentiality and privacy. For those who need distance therapy, but are not comfortable with online therapy, we are able to utilize telephone therapy in order to to ensure your comfort.
Telephone and online counseling are ideally suited to people in the following situations:
- Clients who have a physical condition which limits their mobility.
- Clients with psychological conditions which restrict travel.
- Clients who live in areas distant from our offices who are unable to find specialized care near their home.
- Existing clients who are are traveling and are unable to attend regularly scheduled sessions in our offices.
- Existing clients who experience a sudden, unexpected scheduling conflict that precludes them from being able to attend a previously scheduled appointment.
- Those with extremely busy work schedules who would not otherwise be able to regularly come to our offices for treatment.
- Pregnant women or new moms who would otherwise find it very difficult to regularly attend therapy
Our telephone and online therapy programs for OCD and related anxiety based conditions use the same treatment protocol as our traditional office-based counseling program. All of our treatment programs focus on using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has consistently been found by numerous research studies to be the most effective treatment for OCD and related anxiety based conditions. Among the CBT techniques we use are Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Imaginal Exposure, Cognitive Restructuring, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT), and Habit Reversal Training (HRT).
Clients participating in our telephone or online therapy programs receive a full clinical assessment, and meet for weekly scheduled telephone and/or online therapy sessions with one of our ten professional staff therapists. All telephone and online therapy clients receive a treatment manual during their assessment session, and a second advanced manual approximately one month into their course of therapy. Our telephone and online therapy clients always have the option of coming to our office for treatment if they decide that they would prefer face-to-face therapy, or if they are visiting Los Angeles.
Effectiveness of Telephone and Online Therapy
When initially considering telephone or online therapy for OCD and anxiety, many clients may at first question the efficacy of psychotherapy conducted via these non-traditional methods. While this is certainly a reasonable concern, a brief internet search will uncover literally hundreds of research studies supporting the use of telephone and internet-based treatment for such varied conditions as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Phobias, and others. For example:
- A 2006 study at the University of Michigan found webcam-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be consistently successful for the treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Additionally, all study participants reported having a strong therapeutic alliance with their treatment provider, and a uniformly high level of satisfaction with the treatment.
- A 2014 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found online therapy using CBT to as effective as traditional face-to-face treatment for Health Anxiety. Researchers also found online therapy to sometimes be more effective, as more clients were willing and able to participate in online treatment as compared to traditional office-based treatment, especially those who otherwise had no access to treatment providers with expertise in CBT.
- A 2011 University of Michigan study examined Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD delivered by a combination of online therapy and telephone therapy. All study participants had a reduction of at least 50% of their symptoms. 66% of the participants “were highly improved, and no longer met the diagnostic criteria for OCD”.
- A 2000 study at the University of Quebec in Canada found significant improvement in study participants who received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy via webcam for Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia. Furthermore, researchers found that most participants reported that they established a strong therapeutic alliance with their therapist within one session.
- A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Curtin University in Australia compared Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for mood and anxiety disorders administered using online therapy (via webcam) versus traditional in-person therapy. Researchers found that CBT was effective in significantly reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety using both in-person and online therapy, with “no significant differences being observed between the two”.
- A 2014 study conducted by researchers at Brown University, Drexel University, the University of Tampa, and Massachusetts General Hospital examined online Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD. 80% of participants were “much improved” or “very much improved” at 3-month follow-up, with 30% of participants no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for OCD.
- A 2010 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that clients receiving online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Panic Disorder improved as much as those receiving traditional office-based CBT. Study participants reported that their improvement was strong following treatment, and that it remained strong six months later.
- A 2014 study conducted by researchers at Florida International University, Brown University, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania found online CBT for children with OCD to be effective.
- And a 2008 meta-analysis of 92 studies of online therapy found that these studies “provide strong support for the adoption of online psychological interventions”.
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Legality of Telephone and Online Therapy
Some people also worry about the legality of telephone and online therapy. It is important to emphasize that the State of California initially authorized telemedicine in 1997, and formally extended that law in 2000 to specifically include telephone and online therapy provided by psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers. Current California law explicitly allows for both telephone and online therapy.
The issue of providing telephone and online counseling to clients in other US states and in other countries is more complicated. All staff therapists at the OCD Center of Los Angeles are licensed or registered to practice in the State of California. In terms of providing counseling to residents of other US states, the key issue is the law of the state in which the client lives.
While there are currently no applicable federal or California state laws regulating teletherapy across state lines, every state in the US has its own specific laws regulating the practice of psychotherapy. In every US state, those laws limit the practice of psychotherapy to clinicians licensed and/or registered in that specific state. Additionally, some states allow for limited practice by therapists licensed in other states. Therapists at the OCD Center of Los Angeles are currently able to legally provide telephone and online therapy in the following states:
- New York
If you live in any of the states noted above, and would like to to further discuss telephone or online therapy with any of our staff therapists, please call one of our client coordinators at (310) 824-5200 (ext. 4), or click here to email us.
Telephone and Online Therapy for International Clients
Treatment of clients living in countries other than the US is less restricted legally. The great majority of countries do not regulate the practice of counseling and/or psychotherapy. As such, our staff therapists may legally treat clients in most countries, including the following:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa
This is just a partial list of countries in which we can provide online therapy. Most other countries that are not listed above have no regulations that restrict us from providing online counseling and psychotherapy. If you live outside the US, and would like to to further discuss telephone or online therapy with any of our staff therapists, please call one of our client coordinators at (310) 824-5200 (ext. 4), or click here to email us.
About the OCD Center of Los Angeles
The OCD Center of Los Angeles is a private outpatient treatment center specializing in the treatment of OCD and related anxiety based conditions. We have ten therapists on staff, all of whom specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety based conditions. We treat adults, adolescents, and children, and offer services six days a week, including evenings and Saturdays. We have offices at four locations in Southern California:
- Woodland Hills
- Orange County
- Santa Barbara
You can learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), related anxiety based conditions we treat, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), our center, and our approach to treatment on our website at https://ocdla.com/.
If you would like more information regarding telephone or online therapy, or would like to discuss individual therapy, group therapy, or intensive treatment at the OCD Center of Los Angeles, please call one of our client coordinators at (310) 824-5200 (ext. 4), or click here to email us.