Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) Effective Even For Children

Written by Jim Folk
Written by Jim Folk
Written by Jim Folk
Last updated June 23, 2021
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Research has repeatedly shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, depression, stress disorder, and even sleep disorders (insomnia, sleep dread).[1]

Research has also repeatedly shown that CBT delivered at a distance via telephone (teletherapy) or over the Internet (ICBT) is just as effective, if not more effective than delivered in person for adolescents and adults.[2][3][4][5]

The latest research has found that ICBT is also efficacious even for children (ages 8 to 12 years old).[6] The research findings are published as:

Between March 11, 2015, and Oct 21, 2016, 131 participants were recruited and allocated to either ICBT (n=66) or internet-delivered child-directed play (n=65). The clinician-assessed severity rating of the principal anxiety disorder improved significantly after the 12-weeks treatment period for participants in both ICBT (within-group effect size 1·22, 95% CI 0·78–1·65) and the active control (0·72, 0·44–1·00) groups. However, greater improvement was seen with ICBT than with the active control (estimated mean difference 0·79, 95% CI 0·42–1·16, p=0·002; between-group effect size 0·77, 95% CI 0·40–1·15). 29 (48%) participants in the ICBT group no longer had their principal diagnosis, compared to nine (15%) in the active control group (odds ratio 5·41, 95% CI 2·26 to 12·90, p 0·0001); the number needed to treat for ICBT to gain one additional participant in remission was three (95% CI 2·85 to 3·15). ICBT resulted in an average societal-cost saving of €493·05 (95% CI 477·17 to 508·92) per participant. No severe adverse events were reported.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded:

“ICBT is an efficacious and cost-effective treatment for paediatric anxiety disorders that should be considered for implementation in routine clinical care.” has been delivering CBT at a distance (via telephone and over the Internet) since 2004. Our experiences agree with the above research.

You can read the press release for this research here.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) Effective Even For Children.


1. Otte, Christian. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of the Evidence.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2011,
2. “The Effectiveness of Internet Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ICBT) for Social Anxiety Disorder across Two Routine Practice Pathways.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 8 Nov. 2014,
3. Williams, Alishia D, and Gavin Andrews. “The Effectiveness of Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) for Depression in Primary Care: A Quality Assurance Study.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science,
4. Kumar, Vikram, et al. “The Effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 29 Aug. 2017,
5. Sijbrandij, M, et al. “EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNET-DELIVERED COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND meta-ANALYSIS.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2016,
6. Jolstedt, Maral, et al. “Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Therapist-Guided Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Paediatric Anxiety Disorders: a Single-Centre, Single-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 18 Sept. 2018,