Beating the Blues

Beating the Blues is a web-based treatment program for mood and anxiety disorders that utilizes the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Created for the National Health Services in England, it is a widely used system for individuals suffering from one or more of these disorders. Beating the Blues consists of eight treatment “sessions” intended to help users learn skills for coping with anxiety and depression, as well as change the problematic thinking that may be contributing to their mental illness. It is available in two versions: one for use with a doctor or other mental health professional, which helps you an d doctor keep track of your progress together, and one for use by individuals on their own. Designed to help users overcome their illness, Beating the Blues may be particularly useful for individuals who do not have accessible or affordable mental health services in their community.

Available for: Computers (PCs and Macs)
Company: Ultrasis UK Ltd
Classification: Cognitive Behavioral Principles
Targeted conditions: Mood Disorders, Stress & Anxiety
Target demographic: Adults
Special provider necessary: No, but suggested
Non-English Language version available: No
Where to get it:

Expert ratings and reviews

PsyberGuide rating: The research and support basis of the product

Total score: 10/14

Basis of research: 3/3
Source of funding for the research: 0/2
Specificity of proposed intervention: 3/3
Number of consumer ratings: 1/3
Product advisory support:  1/1
Software support:  2/2

date of rating: June 2016

Explanation of the rating factors

MARS rating

Quality scores range from 1 to 5, where 5 is the maximum score

  Not yet available

Expert review

Read the expert review by Adam C. Powell, Ph.D.

Research on the product

 The company has a full list of research papers at

 The following articles are a sample of the available published literature:

  1. Gilbody, S., Littlewood, E., Hewitt, C., Brierley, G., Tharmanathan, P., Araya, R.,…White, D. (2015). Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) as treatment for depression in primary care (REEACT trial): Large scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 351. doi:
    • “We investigated the effectiveness and acceptability of supported cCBT as an adjunct to usual GP care for depression and the relative effectiveness of free to use and commercially developed packages.”
    • “Supported cCBT does not substantially improve depression outcomes compared with usual GP care alone. In this study, neither a commercially available nor free to use computerised CBT intervention was superior to usual GP care.”
  2. Proudfoot, J., Goldberg, D., Mann, A., Everitt, B., Marks, I. & Gray, J. (2003a). Computerized, interactive, multimedia cognitive behavioural therapy reduces anxiety and depression in general practice: a randomised controlled trial, Psychological Medicine, 33, 217-227.
    • “Our results demonstrate significant and rapid improvement, relative to treatment as usual, when a computerized program of cognitive behavioural techniques, Beating the Blues, was administered to patients in primary care suffering from anxiety, depression or mixed anxiety and depression.”
    • “Overall, our findings indicate that this mode of therapy may have wide applicability in general practice, offered either as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy or to patients who refuse drugs, and irrespective of duration or severity of illness.”
  3. Learmonth, D., & Rai, S. (2008). Taking computerized CBT beyond primary care. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47(Part 1), 111-118.

    • “The results suggest that this form of treatment delivery in a CBT specialist centre can yield significant therapeutic gains for patients suffering from depression and anxiety.”
    • “…nearly half of completers achieved reliable and clinically significant change and were therefore considered clinically ‘recovered’.”
  4. Cavanagh, K., Shapiro, D., Van Den Berg, S., Swain, S., Barkham, M., & Proudfoot, J. (2006). The effectiveness of computerized cognitive behavioural therapy in routine care. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45(Part 4), 499-514.

    • “These results demonstrate that CCBT, administered under minimal supervision, can be associated with significant and rapid changes in outcomes for patients being treated for anxiety and/or depression in routine care.”
    • “These comparisons suggest that a CCBT program, Beating the Blues, is associated with clinically significant patient benefits in the range of slightly above one half to nearly two-thirds of that seen in face-to-face primary care counselling/therapy services.”
  5. McMurchie, W., Macleod, F., Power, K., Laidlaw, K., & Prentice, N. (2013). Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy for depression and anxiety with older people: A pilot study to examine patient acceptability and treatment outcome. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(11), 1147-1156.

    • “The findings of the current study, with an uptake rate of 56.9%…provide[s] some evidence to challenge the blanket assumption that CCBT will not be acceptable for older people. Based on the results of the current study, a more balanced argument could be that CCBT will be acceptable for at least half of the older people that are offered it.”
    • “The results of this initial pilot study provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of BTB with older people, with those receiving it showing significantly greater statistical and clinical improvements in psychopathology, when compared with those who declined it. As mentioned previously, interpretation of these results should, however, be treated with a degree of caution.”

Related products

You may also want to consider these products:

Anti-Depression App
Good Days Ahead
This Way Up