Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Experiences of guided Internet-based cognitive-behavioural treatment for depression: A qualitative study

Nina Bendelin1, Hugo Hesser1, Johan Dahl1, Per Carlbring2, Karin Zetterqvist Nelson1 and Gerhard Andersson13*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

2 Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

3 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry Section, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2011, 11:107  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-11-107

Published: 30 June 2011



Internet-based self-help treatment with minimal therapist contact has been shown to have an effect in treating various conditions. The objective of this study was to explore participants' views of Internet administrated guided self-help treatment for depression.


In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 strategically selected participants and qualitative methods with components of both thematic analysis and grounded theory were used in the analyses.


Three distinct change processes relating to how participants worked with the treatment material emerged which were categorized as (a) Readers, (b) Strivers, and (c) Doers. These processes dealt with attitudes towards treatment, views on motivational aspects of the treatment, and perceptions of consequences of the treatment.


We conclude that the findings correspond with existing theoretical models of face-to-face psychotherapy within qualitative process research. Persons who take responsibility for the treatment and also attribute success to themselves appear to benefit more. Motivation is a crucial aspect of guided self-help in the treatment of depression.

Internet treatment; depression; cognitive behaviour therapy; self-help