Systematic review of research investigating psychotherapy and information and communication technologies

Revisão sistemática sobre psicoterapia e tecnologias da informação e comunicação

Sílvia Cristina Marceliano Hallberg Carolina Saraiva de Macedo Lisboa Déborah Brandão de Souza Ariela Mester Andréia Zambon Braga Artur Marques Strey Camila Sartori da Silva About the authors


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are devices, services and knowledge that reproduce, process and distribute information. Psychotherapy has been influenced by these technologies, and there is a tendency for their role to expand.


To describe the current panorama of the scientific literature on psychotherapy and ICTs.


This is a systematic and descriptive review. Searches were run on the electronic databases Biblioteca Virtual em Saude (BVS), PsycINFO, Scopus, PePSIC, ScienceDirect and Index Psi, using the Boolean operator AND and the descriptors psychotherapy, computers, Internet, cell phones and social networks.


A considerable volume of empirical research was found, published recently in many different parts of the world, especially in the United States. There is very little Brazilian research on the subject. The majority of the studies identified assess the efficacy or describe the development of techniques and psychotherapies, via ICTs, for prevention, diagnosis or treatment of mental and behavioral disorders. The psychopathology most investigated in this area is depression and it was not possible to draw conclusions on a possible trend for research into the subject to increase. The technology most investigated was the Internet and cognitive-behavioral therapy was the most common theoretical approach in these studies.


Systematic reviews of published studies can detect gaps in the research agenda within a specific field of knowledge.

Systematic review; psychotherapy; computers; Internet; cell phones; social networks

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