Online CBT Training for Anxiety and Depression

This is a review of MoodGYM, a free, interactive website for help in the treatment of depression and anxiety. I have used MoodGYM with clients on and off for a few years now. I find it pitched at a younger audience, but many of my clients have enjoyed some benefits from the program. It most cases it wouldn't be suitable as a standalone treatment without professional input, but it would work well as an integrated treatment option.

This review was posted recently on the blog of Optimism, a Mac and iPhone based software developed to assist in the recovery from depression and other illnesses, for maintaining good health, and as a self-help tool. I will review Optimism in an upcoming post. 

What is it? MoodGYM was one of the first interactive websites to help with treating depression. It is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy, which can be used successfully in preventing and treating depression and anxiety. It is for helping a person identify whether they are having mental health problems, giving them the knowledge and strategies for overcoming these problems, and develop good coping skills for the future. 

How Does It Work? MoodGYM consists of interactive modules which are delivered in a specific order. The modules are: feelings, thoughts, unwarping, de-stressing, and relationships. At the end of each module you can apply the material to your own circumstances through a series of activities.
As you move through the program, you are presented with all kinds of information, animated demonstrations, quizzes and "homework" exercises. Your answers to the exercises are recorded in your own personal MoodGym Workbook, which keeps track of your progress. At the end there is the opportunity for you to view this progress and your results. 

Who Is It For? Anyone can use it, although it is likely to appeal most to a young audience. It is especially good for those who are unwilling or unable to seek help (some 60% to 70% of people with depression). It is geared to those with mild to moderate depression. According to the site it is best for people who want to manage problems that are troubling but not incapacitating. It is also helpful as a preventative tool. It is not meant as an alternative to traditional medical treatment or medicines.

What Does It Cost? Nothing. Free as in free. Not even ad supported.

My Opinion? MoodGYM is an easy entry point for someone wanting a quick picture of their mental health, or to take a first, difficult step towards treatment. It would also serve well for someone who wants to be proactive and overcome mental health problems before they really take root.