Breaking Free Online Success

Breaking Free Online Success

By: IMPACT Pathways
Added: 11 October 2013

Breaking Free Online commissioned the Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, London to evaluate the success of their Computer Assisted Therapy.


To explore the use of the online recovery tool with homeless drug users accessing hostel accommodation, in order to assess the success and accessibility of this form of treatment by this population.


30 individuals (25 men, 5 women) began the program of 12 weeks mentor assisted and structered sessions. Mentors used were hostel workers who had been given additional recovery assistance training in order to provide support.


All participants identified that their focus was not only to reduce their drug use, they were concerned with wider wellbeing improvements.

Most participants expressed positive feelings about the program after the first and last sessions and highlighted the following as positive factors:

  • accessibility
  • flexibility
  • interactivity
  • user friendliness
  • provides a means of keeping them occupied and focused

Participants also felt that their general computer ability would increase from using the program which they hoped would help with job search, applications and accommodation.

10 of the original 30 participants completed the program in full with 4 reporting a reduction in their drug and alcohol use, as well as an ability to recognise and avoid triggers and cravings. 

A wide range of additional benefits were also described including:

  • an awareness of the hazourdous amount of susbstances they were using
  • be more open and honest about their use 
  • provided strategies for dealing with stress and anger
  • made them more comfortable expressing emotions to others
  • developing a different approach to learning
  • developing an interest and ability to use other computer based devices

All reported feeling able to make use of the sessions more fully due to it being on line and therefore the computer not having the ability to judge them.

Although the number of particpants completing the full program was small it was acknowledge that there were a number of issues which prevented the program from being accessed completly including lack of internet within the hostels, staff shifts reducing the ability to use the program unrestricted.

If you are interested in reading the full reserach paper please contact Breaking Free Online directly.