What is internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) and how can it help you?

January 2, 2024

GreenShield Cares about women's mental health

By: Sanskriti Ravi

With the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reporting approximately 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness each year, mental health is a critical issue for many, especially women who often juggle multiple responsibilities. However, when seeking counselling, hurdles like long wait times and complex access processes can limit access to timely and effective care. That’s where iCBT steps in, offering a transformative and empowering approach to mental wellness that fits into your lifestyle.

Stephanie Sellars, Lead iCBT Coach at Tranquility by GreenShield Health, shared her expert insights to help us better understand the benefits of online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, its potential to help manage symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression, and how to begin your well-being journey with iCBT.

Sign up for free iCBT today

What is internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Internet-based CBT is an affordable, effective and easy-to-use anxiety and depression management tool. This self-paced digital program works by teaching people how their thoughts and behaviours impact their mood, as well as providing strategies to reduce symptoms and cope positively through psychoeducation, goal setting, cognitive skill building, behavioural skill building, and problem-solving.

“iCBT focuses on the connection between our thoughts, emotions, and actions,” explained Sellars. “Through a structured series of interactive online modules and guided exercises, iCBT teaches people how to challenge negative thought patterns, foster more balanced thinking, reshape their behaviours, and ultimately achieve a healthier state of mental well-being — all within the convenience and accessibility of an online platform.”

iCBT triangle

What are the benefits of iCBT?

The unique demands for women can make it challenging to ask for help. By overcoming traditional barriers to care, iCBT provides more convenient, accessible, and comprehensive support for anxiety and depressive symptoms. Below is a list of the benefits of iCBT.

Convenient and flexible digital access

Unlike digital-first mental health services, traditional in-person counselling is often plagued by long wait times. This delay can lead to prolonged periods of untreated emotional and psychological stress, which, if left unaddressed, may worsen mental health issues. Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy breaks down logistical barriers, such as remote or rural locations, to allow people to access therapy in any comfortable setting.

Participate in therapy at your own pace

It’s no secret that finding the time to schedule regular counselling sessions can be a significant challenge. The demands of work, school, family, or personal commitments can leave little room for frequent therapy appointments. Instead, the self-paced learning approach is designed to work with your timetable.

Affordable and cost-effective mental health treatment

Finances shouldn’t limit your access to quality mental health care. ICBT programs are often more cost-effective than seeking out in-person care. These programs not only make therapy more affordable but also provide a valuable toolkit for proactively enhancing their well-being and coping effectively when confronted with life’s challenges.

Evidence-based path to well-being support

Numerous clinical studies and evaluations vouch for iCBT’s effectiveness in improving mental health. Whether managing anxiety, depression, stress, or other emotional concerns, its scientifically proven techniques reduce these symptoms, fostering a greater sense of emotional well-being and psychological balance.

Is iCBT the right fit for you?

iCBT is generally recommended for people with mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression. If you have more severe or complex mental health issues, traditional in-person therapy may be a more appropriate choice. Sellars explains that “iCBT is often used as a tool for self-awareness and growth and is ideal for individuals looking to better manage everyday stressors with more resilience.”

How to get started with iCBT

GreenShield Cares about Women’s Mental Health initiative offers a complimentary one-year subscription to Tranquility by GreenShield Health. This program consists of two nine-module programs for anxiety and depression, which can be combined into one 12-session program for those wishing to address both.

Extra mental health support when you need it

Individuals can also access six months of optional iCBT coaching. Sellars emphasizes that, much like acquiring any other skill, iCBT programs require a certain level of motivation and accountability. Opting for the coach-led program offers personalized support to help maintain commitment to the program. Coaches provide additional guidance and serve as touchpoints for discussing questions or addressing possible concerns, fostering a more effective and encouraging learning experience.

Begin your iCBT journey today

Sign up for free iCBT today

Embarking on your iCBT journey can be a transformative step towards enhancing your mental well-being. With the convenience, evidence-based approach, and the option for personalized coaching, iCBT empowers individuals to take control of their symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, challenge automatic negative thinking, and develop more balanced thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Get started on your iCBT journey today and take the first step to a brighter and healthier future.