Guest Post from Heidi Blackstun at eTherapy Nexus
The Pros and Cons of eTherapy
E-therapy has slowly crept into the vocabulary of many therapy and counseling providers. While many industry professionals are familiar with the term, a vast majority do not have a firm grasp on what exactly e-therapy is and how it works. This article will explain what e-therapy is, how it works, and explore the pros and cons of online therapy.
In its simplest form, e-therapy is therapy conducted online between a therapist and a client. The most common methods to conduct e-therapy include: e-mail communication, live chat, and videoconferencing. Typically both parties, the e-therapist and client, are online at the same time and communicate through a secure website.
E-therapy is conducted in several different methods. One of the most common forms of e-therapy is for licensed therapists to present themselves with third-party websites that offer a connection between those seeking and those providing online therapy. The third party website provides a venue for scheduling, payment process, and provides the form of communication between the therapist and client.
There are obvious pros and cons to e-therapy. A few of the most common pros and cons deal with the issues of accessibility and establishing trust.
The accessibility of e-therapy is one of the major factors that attract clients seeking online therapy services. As long as a client has a reliable Internet connection, they can have a counseling session with an online therapist from anywhere. This is especially useful for clients who live in a rural community or small town hours away from the closest therapy office. Also, e-therapy is a great service for practicing therapists to offer their current clients. Many times a client in need of a therapy session will not schedule that session because of proximity or time issues. E-therapy mitigates both of these by eliminating the need for an office visit, which saves time and factors out location.
The most questioned aspect of e-therapy is the trust factor. When dealing with anything online from selling products to offering e-therapy, establishing trust is crucial. One frequently asked question by a new client, “How do I know that the person I am talking with is experienced enough to help me?”
In some cases this is a cause for concern and a definite con, but there are online therapy websites that only offer online therapy from licensed therapists that are trained to provide therapy and help you with your problems. When considering e-therapy it is always wise to check the online therapy website’s certification process and make sure that your e-therapist provides their name, certifications/licensure, experience, and maybe even a picture to help establish a relationship. If these criteria are covered and a client is open to trying e-therapy, then trust can easily be established.
E-therapy can be a very effective form of therapy if the provider is properly qualified to offer e-therapy. In a study published by The Journal Psychiatric Services, clients receiving mental health treatment through video conferencing reported “high levels of satisfaction” (Freud, C., et. al., 2000.) (Source: http://psychology.about.com/od/psychotherapy/a/onlinepsych.htm)
Guest post provided by Heidi Blackstun. Heidi has more than 25 years of expertise in the therapy industry and is the founder of eTherapy Nexus, an online therapy website that provides online counseling and therapy services to clients through live, secure chat.
I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Heidi Blackstun for providing me the opportunity to share with you this vital information and encourage all to visit her at etherapynexus.com