Effectiveness of Remote Delivery of Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis
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Objective: The effectiveness of in-person treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) for managing and ameliorating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms have been well confirmed, however the need for a safe alternate means of therapeutic relief, such as remote-therapy (telehealth) is necessary during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Remote delivery of therapies holds great promise by addressing the issue of being able to acquire mental health treatments when patients are unable to physically seek treatments in-person. The author conducted a meta-analysis of both randomized controlled trials and an uncontrolled study comparing remote-therapies and in-person treatments. The outcome of interest was PTSD symptom severity after treatments. Method: The meta-analysis included published studies in which remote therapy treatments and in-person treatments were used simultaneously on different groups of participants. The results of each of these studies measured PTSD symptoms in participants before and after treatments to determine if remote therapies are as effective as in-person treatments. Analyses for this study were performed using RevMan Systematic Review software. Results: Six studies (5 controlled, 1 uncontrolled) with a total sample size of 499 participants met the final inclusion criteria. The primary analysis for the studies indicated that remote-therapies are similarly effective at treating PTSD symptoms as in-person treatments. Conclusions: Remote therapies appear to be as effective as in-person treatments for treating PTSD symptoms, however additional randomized controlled trials are needed to boost the confidence in these findings.