Congratulations Kristofer Vernmark (he is defending his PhD thesis today)

Today at 1 PM PhD-candidate Kristofer Vernmark will publicly defend his doctorial thesis entitled “Therapeutic alliance and different treatment formats when delivering internet-based CBT for depression“. Professor Gerhard Andersson and I have been supervisors. The opponent is Edward Watkins, who is Professor of Experimental and Applied Clinical Psychology at University of Exeter.

The thesis is about depression, which is a debilitating disorder that affects a large part of the adult population every year. Yet there is still a lack of access to effective care for people in need. Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based method for treating depression that together with the increased availability of Internet services provides an opportunity to increase access to effective treatment. Internet-based interventions can be effective in the treatment of depression, but there is a lack of knowledge concerning which formats of delivery that can be used and if therapeutic alliance is of equal importance when providing treatment over the Internet. The overall aim of this thesis was to examine the effects of different treatment formats (email therapy, guided self-help, and blended treatment) in internet-based CBT for depression and to further examine the role of alliance in these treatment modalities.

Findings from this thesis show that email therapy and internetbased treatment programs were effective methods for treating depression. Alliance ratings were high, showing that a positive therapeutic alliance can be achieved in internet-based treatments. Patient-rated alliance could not predict outcome in any of the different treatment formats. However, therapist-rated alliance predicted change in depression during blended treatment. This thesis includes the first randomized controlled study on CBTbased email therapy, and the first internet-based behavioral activation program with ACT-components, for adult depression.

Professor Gerhard Andersson (supervisor), Professor Christer Sandahl (examination committee), Professor Edward Watkins (opponent), Doctor Kristofer Vernmark (just received his PhD), Professor Mary Rudner (examination committee), Professor Bengt-Åke Armelius (examination committee) och Professor Per Carlbring (supervisor). Photo by David Brohede

Read the full Ph.D. thesis:

Vernmark, K. (2017). Therapeutic alliance and different treatment formats when delivering internet-based CBT for depression (PhD dissertation). Linköping.