Online therapies are partly automated therapies, in which psychotherapeutic contents have been complemented with computer-aided presentational and educational contents, with a therapist giving support to the progress of the patient. As methods, these therapeutic programs incorporate therapeutic methods that have proven effective, such as remodeling of thoughts, activation of behavior and exposure, empathy, strengthening of cooperative relationship and motivation, and general support for self-reflection. For instance, online therapies already constitute part of the Finnish treatment guidelines on depression. Online therapies are available throughout Finland for the essential psychiatric illnesses.
Different short-term therapies, mainly with short follow-ups, seem equally effective treatments of mood disorders. The Helsinki Psychotherapy Study is the only published randomized trial on the effectiveness of short-term and long-term therapies during a longer follow-up. During a 5-year follow-up, patients' recovery from symptoms and improvement in work ability were greater in long-term therapy than in two, equally effective, short-term therapies. The short-term therapies were, however, more cost-effective, but many patients in them did not recover. More randomized clinical trials and cohort studies with long follow-ups on the efficacy, sufficiency and suitability of short- and long-term therapy are thus needed.