Many life coaches know that telephone communication can be a powerful tool for supporting clients. Now, a research review has shown that phone therapy for depressed patients delivers results and has less attrition than face-to-face psychotherapy. The review, conducted by researchers in the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, was published in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice (2008; 15 ; 243–53).
“The problem with face-to-face treatment has always been [that] very few people who can benefit from it actually receive it, because of emotional and structural barriers,” lead study author David C. Mohr, PhD, told the New York Times. “The telephone is a tool that allows the therapists to reach out to patients, rather than requiring that patients reach out to therapists.” The average attrition rate for phone therapy is 7.6%, compared with almost 50% for face-to-face therapy.
Coaches and other wellness professionals should always stay within their scope of practice when encountering serious emotional issues in clients. When appropriate, clients should be referred to a licensed psychologist or other health professional for specific care.