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IT helps people with facial disfigurement

07 December 2009 British Psychological Society (BPS)

Using Face IT - a new computer-based teaching aid that includes interactive videos - can reduce anxiety, depression and appearance concerns among people with facial disfigurement.

These findings were reported today, Thursday 10th December, by Dr Alyson Bessell from Bristol University to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology, held at the Congress Centre, Great Russell Street, London WC1.

In a study by Dr Bessell and her colleagues at the University of the West of England 83 participants with visible facial difference were recruited from the Royal Free Hospital, London, and from support groups and charities. The participants were assessed before using Face IT for eight weekly sessions concentrating on reducing anxiety, depression and appearance concerns immediately afterwards and then three and six months later. They were compared with a control group who received no treatment and another group who received conventional face-to-face treatment.

The results showed that after using Face IT people were less anxious, less depressed, had fewer concerns and were less concerned about their appearance than the control group.

Dr Bessell says: "A computer-based intervention that can be used from a remote location can offer help and support to people who are isolated or socially anxious because of their facial difference. Face IT has been shown to be effective at reducing anxiety, depression and appearance concerns among such people while increasing positive adjustment."

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