Home » Online Therapy » CFT (Compassion-Focused Therapy) » iCBT internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy

Sometimes people need to go to therapy for different reasons, and internet-based therapy can be very useful. Here we explain what internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iBCT) is and how it can help.

What is ICBT?

ICBT stands for Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of psychotherapy delivered online via the internet and is based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based approach that is effective in treating a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress and various phobias.

CBT involves working on modules over a number of weeks with the support of a psychologist or therapist. It has been shown in research to be as effective as face-to-face sessions and is an efficient way to engage in therapy.

A study published by Trinity Access to Research Archive (TARA) posits that “Research in internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy provided with a supporter continually yields superior outcomes to unsupported delivery formats. A recent review of depression focused iCBT interventions in primary care demonstrated effectiveness for supported interventions, thus, leading the authors [of the original study] to recommend the use of supported iCBT in primary care”.

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What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that aims to change negative thought patterns, emotions and behaviours that contribute to mental health problems. CBT combines cognitive and behavioral techniques to learn new ways of dealing with challenges.

CBT is effective for a wide range of mental health conditions, such as depression, various anxiety disorders, OCD, stress, eating disorders and sleep problems. Treatment is structured and time-limited, with a focus on achieving specific goals through practical exercises and tasks between sessions.

The benefits of CBT include that it is a short-term treatment that has research support, it provides practical tools and techniques, and the ability to develop skills to deal with future problems.

How does ICBT work?

Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (iCBT) is a form of psychotherapy delivered online, combining CBT principles with digital accessibility. Users work in self-guided sessions via interactive materials such as texts, videos and exercises, designed to teach techniques for managing negative thought patterns and behaviors. The programs are often divided into modules, with usually one module per week.


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Therapeutic support is an important part of ICBT and can include feedback, guidance and encouragement through messages or video calls. Users are encouraged to complete practical exercises and homework between sessions to apply the learning to real-life situations.

iCBT platforms prioritise security and confidentiality to protect users’ information. Research shows that iCBT can be as effective as traditional CBT in treating various mental health conditions and offers a cost-effective and flexible alternative to psychotherapy.

What can iCBT help with?

iCBT has been shown to be effective in helping people with a variety of mental health conditions and challenges. It includes anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety and specific phobias, as well as treating mild to moderate depression by addressing negative thought patterns and promoting positive behavioral changes. iCBT is also useful for stress management and sleep problems such as insomnia.

The programs can also address eating disorders such as bulimia and binge eating, and provide support for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by helping to manage obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. Even individuals with milder symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those living with chronic pain can find relief through ICBT. In addition, people with health anxiety can benefit from ICBT by learning to change the way they think about and react to bodily sensations.

There is a lot of research into iCBT and new treatments are constantly being added. iCBT programs are designed to be accessible and cost-effective, offering a flexible treatment solution that can be used alone or as a complement to traditional therapy, depending on the specific needs of the individual and the severity of the condition.

How does iCBT treatment work?iCBTHow does iCBT treatment work?

Treatment with iCBT starts with the user registering on an iCBT platform, often after an initial assessment to ensure suitability for treatment. Treatment goals and symptoms are then established.


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The user works through self-guided modules containing texts, videos and exercises, with tasks to be applied in everyday life. Therapeutic support is usually offered via messages or video to provide feedback and motivation. The user continuously evaluates his or her own well-being through questionnaires, allowing for adjustments to the treatment if necessary.

At the end of treatment, a summary assessment is made to evaluate progress and plan for further work with strategies from the therapy. Follow-up is often also offered to help maintain the positive changes. iCBT is flexible and allows the user to move through treatment at their own pace, making it an effective tool for managing multiple mental health conditions.


12 common questions and answers about ICBT

What is ICBT?

It is a form of psychotherapy provided online via the internet and is based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that aims to change negative thought patterns, emotions and behaviours that contribute to mental health problems.

Is there a difference in the outcome of the therapy of meeting in person or receiving treatment with CBT?

Research has shown that there is no difference in outcomes between face-to-face and ICBT.

How does iCBT work?

Users receive self-guided sessions via interactive materials such as texts, videos and exercises, designed to teach techniques for managing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Programs are often divided into modules. During treatment, therapeutic support is provided, which may include feedback, guidance and encouragement through messages, emails or videos, depending on the format.

Are tasks given between sessions?

As part of CBT, the client may complete practical exercises and homework between sessions to apply the learning to real-life situations.

What can CBT help with?

CBT can be helpful for several different conditions such as various anxiety disorders, depression, ptsd, obsessive-compulsive disorder and others.

What are the benefits of iCBT?

Designed to be easily accessible and cost-effective, ICBT offers a flexible treatment solution that can be used alone or as a complement to traditional therapy, depending on the specific needs of the individual and the severity of the condition.

Are there any disadvantages to ICBT?

For people with more severe and complex problems, it may be better to meet in person. You also need to plan the treatment and for people with ADHD, for example, this can be more difficult. Some people may also need more support from the therapist during treatment to get good results.

What contact do I have with the psychologist or therapist?

Therapeutic support with a psychologist or therapist is usually via messages or video to provide feedback and motivation.

Can you also have video calls in ICBT?

It is possible to combine ICBT with video calls or face-to-face meetings if you wish, but it is often possible to just write messages.

What should be considered in terms of safety with online therapy?

Security and confidentiality are crucial in online therapy, which means that secure and encrypted communication platforms that meet data protection laws and patient privacy standards should be used.

Where can I seek help?

If you want to seek therapy, we recommend that you contact a licensed psychologist or therapist. You can book a first appointment with one of our therapists here at Lavendla. We make the hard things easier.

Treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy

This is what a treatment can look like with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a method that can be used online for many different problem areas and conditions:

Understanding and assessment

The first step is to understand the problem and that it is okay to seek help for it. A licensed psychologist or therapist can help you assess your situation based on your life situation. You may also be asked to complete assessment forms.

Psychoeducation and objectives

You will learn about the problem and how it affects you both physically and mentally. It is important to understand what is happening in your body, thoughts and feelings. Goals are also set for the treatment.

Tools to change behaviors and patterns

This works on identifying and changing patterns of thinking that are linked to the problem. This will help you develop a more nuanced picture and increase your ability to manage emotions, thoughts and change behaviors. Together with your therapist, you will explore situations and learn how to deal with them. You will also be given homework to practice between sessions.

Monitoring and evaluating progress

You will have support from your psychologist throughout the process. At the end of the treatment, you will also receive a plan to continue practicing and maintain your progress over time. Feel free to book a first session with one of our licensed psychologists or therapists to see how we can help you.

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Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.