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Phone Therapy Successful for Depression Patients

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Dec 18, 2008

Mind-Body-Spirit News

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 [3]; 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.

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at