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Unread August 28th, 2004, 06:42 PM
jo ames jo ames is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: West Midlands, England
Posts: 3
Default Re: In-Roads to Online Therapy

I have been interested to read your discussion re: online therapy and I have to say I am both amused and bemused by some of the comments made!
I have practised as both a f2f and an online counsellor. In my experience, both have equal value to clients - dependant on their need and ability/willingness to access services. Online counselling/therapy is an alternative approach and it is not possible to measure online and f2f side by side. Different/enhanced training and skills are needed for both approaches and the relationship is 'conducted' differently, as are confidentiality protocols.
As a counsellor I would not normally give clients' 'advice' either f2f or online.
I confess when I first began online counselling training I too, was very sceptical of the concept of building and maintaining a therapeutic alliance online, however, as a counsellor I was prepared to be open to the experience and, having undertaken the process, I became aware that online therapy does have a place in todays society. Also, it is about client choice.
I do not consider providing (professional and accountable) therapy online as putting the counselling profession into disrepute, rather the opposite is true, clients now have access to more counselling services wherever they are in the world, irrespective of their pyhiscal ability to attend sessions, they can express themselves at a time that suits them by using email (asynchronous)and arrange to meet online if they want a 'real time' session (synchronous). Also, they will have a copy of everything they have said and their counsellors response - which can be useful in between sessions. In addition, there are also creative ways to work online, which does not necessarily rely on the written word.
So, in summary, I would say that yes, there are limitations and different considerations to working online (e.g. it is not appropriate for all presenting problems and online security can be an issue), however, there are also many benefits, which I think you may be dismissing before you consider them.

Also, I am amused at the thought that you find communicating online to be negative in so many ways and yet you appear to have quite clearly expressed your feelings on the issue, using this method!!
I look forward to your response
Regards,
Jo
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