Diet phone counseling is another interesting development where combining counseling with communication technology shows promise for relief.
I have found research in recent weeks about the efficacy of phone counseling with weight loss, smoking, depression, and anxiety.
As insurance companies and clients realize the value of services like diet phone counseling, I am sure the face of counseling will change.
Probably much less of the face to face meeting at the counselor's office type of thing, and more of the e-mail, chat, or video session, and perhaps there will be no insurance reimbursement at all.
Sessions involving interactive and/or online technology are usually less expensive.
Here is the article;
"As the use of Internet and telecommunications services continues to grow, researchers have questioned the practice of telephone counseling for general mental health. But according to a study reported in the April Journal of Counseling Psychology (Vol. 49, No. 2), telephone counseling appears to be an effective psychological practice.
Phone Helps Dieters Keep Pounds at Bay Telephone Counseling, In-Person Support Both Effective in Helping Women Avoid Regaining Weight By Kelley Colihan WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Nov. 24, 2008 -- A little support goes a long way. A new study shows that telephone counseling is as effective as in-person sessions in helping obese women keep pounds off and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The research team wanted to look at rural women, who often have fewer options and support and are usually farther away from medical and weight loss treatment centers than urban residents.
In background information presented with the findings, the researchers write that rural areas have higher obesity rates, more of a sedentary lifestyle, and higher rates of the chronic diseases that go hand-in-hand with obesity.
Researchers, led by Michael Perri, PhD, with the University of Florida in Gainesville got together 234 women from rural counties in northern Florida.
The women were 50 to 75 years old and obese, with an average weight of 212.5 pounds; they did not have uncontrollable hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases.
The group participated in a standard six-month lifestyle modification program that required eating less, exercising more, and a focus on goal setting and daily food monitoring. The women lost about 22 pounds on average.
For one year of follow-up, the women were divided into three groups.
One group received 15- to 20-minute telephone sessions biweekly from a counselor.
Another group got an hour in-person session every two weeks.
The third group received biweekly newsletters in the mail that provided diet and weight loss tips.
Researchers found that the two groups that got telephone counseling and face-to-face sessions regained less weight (2.6 pounds) than did the group that only got the newsletters (8.15 pounds).
And, telephone counseling was less expensive than the in-person sessions.
The researchers write that past studies in urban settings show that participants in weight loss and behavioral modification programs often wind up regaining a third to half of the weight lost in the year after the intervention.
Regaining weight can erode any gained health benefits.
The findings appear in the Nov. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine."
I am wondering what kind of interaction the telephone counselors used with the folks in the study.
If you look at the work of Dr. Judith Beck, in the Beck Diet Solution, she makes a concerted effort for six weeks prior to the start of an actual diet plan to change the thinking of her clients.
From the Beck web site
I want you to know that it isn’t your fault if you’ve had trouble losing weight or keeping it off. You just haven’t known how. After all, has anyone ever taught you how to:
* motivate yourself every day? * build your confidence by giving yourself credit? * create time and energy for dieting? * get yourself to follow your plan even when you don’t feel like it? * make a craving go away? * refrain from emotional eating? * get right back on track when you make a mistake? * handle special occasions and people who push you to eat.