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Unread August 30th, 2004, 07:28 AM
loftus75 loftus75 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 19
Default Re: In-Roads to Online Therapy

I suspect that much will depend on what discipline you are working in as to whether one might give credence to on-line therapy. I have trained and work in the CBT field, if I believed that counselling was simply a matter of expression I guess I might share your view. This is not to say I am discounting every other form of therapy, only that experience tells me on line communication is not a substitute for a f2f meeting, I would suggest this applies to all forms of relationships not just counselling.

I'm not sure what Jo's discipline is, but the notion that giving advice is somehow to be avoided seems a little too general. For instance, with the variety of therapeutic processes available, would it contravene some rule to suggest an appropriate from of counselling/therapy to a client or potential client? Or suggest the client be referred on?

I would also argue that all psychological approaches have limitations, we need to recognise that we cannot be all things to all men. I have no problem with the idea that an existing client that is already in f2f sessions can access their therapist online, I do have a problem with the idea that our profession may become little more than the equivalent of a fast food restaurant, I would suggest this reduces our professional standing, whether it brings it into disrepute is another matter.

Finally, when I served in the US Navy many years ago, I used to write to my wife several times a week. These were the days of snail mail and long letters were often used to express ourselves, it strikes me that Jo may be under the impression that expressing all feelings should be counted as a therapy, while this may have a therapeutic effect it would not qualify in my world as a worthy reason for intervention.

In the UK, where I now work, there is no shortage of people in need of help, there is however a shortage of funding. Many of my colleagues and myself, offer our services pro bono when we can, I suppose to some extent this colours my view of the therapeutic process. When dealing with drug addiction, severe behavioural disorders, dysfunctional families, etc., this exposure tends to leave one a little cynical of anything less than that which offers the maximum level of data.

I would suggest that as an online resource we also run the danger of becoming an outlet for the disenfranchised or confused who might be better served if they were 'advised' to seek out close family members or friends for help. We see these types of events when we look at magazines that have an agony aunt page. I say this having had to deal with clients that were drawn into the world of therapy unnecessarily and have been damaged as a result, empowering these people afterwards takes some effort.

Being in therapy has it's dangers, all to often clients are not advised of this, where they may have been happy to resolve a family or relationship issue with some simple advice, instead were placed under a psychological microscope resulting in low self esteem and sometimes much worse.

To this extent I suspect Jo and I will have to agree to disagree on the online issue.
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