Mind & Brain See Inside Distance Therapy Comes of Age Recent studies show that psychotherapy delivered through electronic devices can benefit patients By Robert Epstein Getty Images Gabriela (not her real name), a 42-year-old investment counselor, has been receiving therapy by computer chat for more than a year now. She fell into a deep depression after her last breakup and needed an ear she could count on to be consistently supportive and objective. She had face-to-face therapy years ago after she lost a child, and she thinks it is overrated. With chat therapy, she can look back at the e-trail and relive therapeutic moments. She can also see her progress in black and white. Linda (also not her real name), 57 and divorced, has been receiving chat therapy for more than two years. She participates in one session a week and pays less than half what she would pay for an in-person encounter. “And there’s no wasting time on chitchat about the weather,” she says. “We get right down to business.” Her therapist has helped lift her out of a debilitating depression that began when she was trying to console a grieving friend. But she has never seen her therapist; she has never even heard his voice. This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.