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Sort of a nice distance: a qualitative study of the experiences of therapists working with internet-based treatment of problematic substance use.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5982-6411
Karolinska institutet, Stockholms läns landsting.
2019 (English)In: Addiction science & clinical practice, ISSN 1940-0632, E-ISSN 1940-0640, Vol. 14, no 44, article id 10.1186/s13722-019-0173-1Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Internet interventions have been developed and tested for several psychiatric and somatic conditions. Few people with substance use disorders receive treatment and many drug users say that they would prefer getting help from online tools. Internet interventions are effective for reducing alcohol and cannabis use. The aim of the current study is to understand differences between internet-based and face-to-face treatment of problematic substance use. The concept of alliance will be used as a theoretical frame for understanding differences between internet-based treatment and face-to-face treatment, as perceived by therapists.

The study has a qualitative design and is based on 3 focus group interviews with 12 therapists working with internet-based treatment for alcohol or cannabis use problems within five different programs.

The analysis revealed five themes in the differences between internet-based and face-to-face treatment: communication, anonymity, time, presence and focus. Treatment online in written and asynchronous form creates something qualitatively different from regular face-to-face meetings between patients and therapists. The written form changes the concept of time in treatment, that is, how time can be used and how it affects the therapist’s presence. The asynchronous (i.e. time delayed) form of communication and the lack of facial expressions and body language require special skills.

There are important differences between internet-based treatment and face-to-face treatment. Different aspects of the alliance seem to be important in internet-based treatment compared to face-to-face.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, no 44, article id 10.1186/s13722-019-0173-1
Keywords [en]
alcohol use disorder, web-based intervention, theraputic alliance, eHealth, substance use disorders, focus groups
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7857DOI: 10.1186/s13722-019-0173-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-7857DiVA, id: diva2:1374227
Funder
Public Health Agency of Sweden , 05664-2014Available from: 2019-11-29 Created: 2019-11-29 Last updated: 2019-12-02Bibliographically approved

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