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Unread October 14th, 2004, 03:26 PM
JustBen JustBen is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 58
Smile Re: ISHMO's Myths & Realities of Online Clinical Work

Thanks for the response, Jo. You may be surprised to learn that I have very little therapuetic training thus far, and no field experience to speak of. I do have a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems, however, and think of myself as an enthusiastic proponent of technology in almost all human endeavors. (In fact, it would be fair to characterize me as one of the "young people" you suggest I speak to in regard to netiquette.)

I think that online counseling/therapy has terrific potential, but I don't think we do the "movement" any favors when we dismiss legitimate criticism and push forward with irrational optimism. To propose that netiquette, for example, conveys anything even close to the range of expression evident in a face-to-face meeting is just plain bizzare. As for highly-trained professionals and pioneers in the field reading hidden messages in text in the same way that the rest of us read facial expressions, I'll just have to take your word for it for the sake of this discussion -- I would very much like to see any research that may back this claim up, however.

As for security, I must admit that I don't understand your response to my concern. There are reams and reams chock-full of evidence that support my claim that PC's are constantly probed for security flaws and attacked by hackers. They're called firewall logs. I'd be happy to compare these to the reports generated by the security alarms that protect the physical offices of face-to-face therapists. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind how that comparison would look. To say that breaking into a computer is approximately the same level of difficulty as breaking into an office or file cabinet is debatable, but the likelihood of having your computer broken into is far greater than having your office broken into. That makes the threat more serious.

Using video connections is very promising, but we do have some serious infrastructure challenges to deal with. The fact that many online therapists are so enthusiastic about video-conferencing - which, after all, is more like face-to-face therapy - only underscores my apprehension about text-only therapy. Think about that for a minute. On one hand, we're saying that text-only therapy is just as good as face-to-face; on the other, we're embracing video-conferencing as in improvement. It's that kind of inconsistency that gives people the impression that we're just plain enthusiastic about the medium, and we'll worry about the justification later.
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