Many people, too anxious and inhibited to talk with a therapist face-to-face about intimate and embarrassing feelings, facing work pressures and scheduling conflicts, fearing stigma and judgment about having a “mental health problem,” turn to the Internet for online counseling in the privacy of their own homes.
"Without the visual contact, I could really open up. I gained so many insights, " Martha Ainsworth, an Internet consultant, told The Washington Post. The impersonal nature of e-therapy is both its strength and weakness. Clients could carefully articulate what was bothering them and get right to the point without wasting time on social niceties. They didn’t feel on the spot. With the time delay of email, they could reflect on their counselor’s advice. On the other hand, mental health professionals didn’t have an opportunity to closely evaluate their clients’ “affect” -- visual and oral expressions weren’t conveyed, serious depression or mental illness could go undetected.
- The Therapist is On: Cyber-Counseling is Gaining Ground, But Critics Fear Abuse, Misdiagnosis (Washington Post)
- The ABC’s of Internet Therapy, an independent consumer’s guide:http://www.metanoia.org/imhs/
- Online Counseling (Google Search)