Scientific foundations and previous findings
The last decade has seen a proliferation of various web-based therapy options in the Western world. Research and development on “Interapy”, one of the first web-based therapy manuals, was carried out in The Netherlands under the direction of Prof. Alfred Lange and Prof. Paul Emmelkamp. Their work is based on a cognitive-behavioural therapeutic approach, its central component being a course of written therapy for dealing with traumatic experiences. The “Interapy” manuals were translated, culturally evaluated and adapted for use in the Arabic-speaking world by Prof. Christine Knaevelsrud and Prof. Birgit Wagner. A web-based course of therapy for depression was also added.
Several therapeutic studies were carried out using both German and Arabic-speaking participants, who came from all over the world. At time of writing several hundred people have taken part in a course of therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
The treatment continues to produce consistently positive results:
- large reductions in post-traumatic stress symptoms: less unwanted memories, fearful thoughts and avoidance behaviour
- large reductions in depressive disorders and physical ailments
- more than 80% of patients treated are free of any continuing affliction
- dthe course is also suitable for heavily traumatised or depressed patients
- the course would be recommended for others by around 80% of patients treated
- Psychometric Properties of the Online Arabic Versions of BDI-II, HSCL-25, and PDS (2016)
- Web-Based Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in War-Traumatized Arab Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial (2015)
- Online Working Alliance Predicts Treatment Outcome for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Arab War-Traumatized Patients (2012)
- Efficacy of an Internet-based Intervention for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Iraq: A Pilot Study (2011)
A series of different studies have hitherto been carried out by the Behandlungszentrum für Folteropfer Berlin (Berlin Center for Torture Victims), under the direction of Prof. Christine Knaevelsrud (Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. Birgit Wagner (Medical School Berlin):
- Study into the online treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (written therapy approach)
- Study into the online treatment of depression (written therapy approach)
- Study into the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder using a smartphone app (smartphone-based self-help program)
The goal of these studies is to investigate the acceptability and effectiveness of such web and smartphone-based interventions in the Arabic-speaking world.
The patients fill out questionnaires both before and after (directly after and again two weeks later) the course of therapy. The results are anonymously evaluated then compared and statistically analysed, in order to assess the effectiveness of the therapeutic approaches in question. Additionally, the patients are asked how they felt about having their treatment carried out over the internet or using their smartphones respectively.