Online Counseling - FAQ
Online Therapy, online counseling, Teletherapy, text and email counseling all describe
counseling services that are provided online. Online counseling involves an ongoing
dialogue where the therapist and client establish a therapeutic relationship through email or video conferencing.
Some people choose to consult with an online counselor on only one occasion or issue.
Others prefer to establish a continuing relationship, and utilize the online counseling service
on a regular basis. Taken from http://www.etherapyweb.com/etherapy.html
“e-Therapy” is a term coined by Dr. John Grohol in 1997 to identify mental health
counseling services provided over the internet. The practice of e-Therapy is now more than
10 years old. It has gained increased visibility and wider acceptance as the internet has
become a more familiar tool to search for needed services and products. Services can vary
between a few brief consultations emails about a specific issue, to more extensive work to
change patterns of behavior or thinking. Taken from http://www.etherapyweb.com/etherapy.html
online counseling might be a good fit for you if:
- You are at least 18 years of age
- You are not currently in a crisis, feeling suicidal or homicidal
- You understand the potential limitations of online counseling
- You are hesitant or reluctant to otherwise seek face-to-face therapy
- You agree (along with your online therapist) that the issues you are experiencing can be appropriately dealt with through online counseling
Limitations of online counseling:
Please keep in mind that there are some potential limitations to online counseling. Because the
online counseling does not occur in a face-to-face setting, clients and therapists are not able to
decipher tone, expression, or body language. In addition, there may be instances when technical
difficulties prevent clients from utilizing the service, or online therapists from being able to respond as quickly as they would otherwise. If you are easily frustrated by technology or do not have convenient access to the internet, email and online counseling might not be the right fit.
What e-Therapy and Online counseling are NOT.
E-therapy and on-line counseling is not psychotherapy, nor is it psychological counseling. Since it does not presume to diagnose or treat mental or medical disorders, and because it does not limit who may be appropriate to provide e-therapy services, it would be inappropriate to compare it to traditional face-to-face psychotherapy, assessment, or counseling services. Like other types of therapy, e-therapy helps a person address issues of concern under the guidance of a professional. E-therapy does not diagnose disorders, nor does it treat diagnosed mental or medical disorders. E-therapy is similar to the idea of “coaching,” helping a person address specific concerns with specific skills.
But e-therapy is flexible enough to also address more philosophical issues as well, if an individual so desires. Taken from http://psychcentral.com/best/best3.htm
The purpose of most evaluations is to determine the nature of a problem which involves developing a diagnosis and a set of recommendations, if necessary. Face-to-face time with your evaluator is an important component of this process. MCS provides a secure email account that is compliant with HIPAA HiTech regulations, therefore, some of the information needed for completing an evaluation can be facilitated in email communication.
What is Online Counseling?
Online counseling is the provision of professional mental health counseling services concerns via the Internet. Services are typically offered via email, real-time chat, and video conferencing. Some client’s use online counseling in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, and a growing number of clients are using online counseling as a complete replacement to traditional office visits. While some form of tele-psychology has been going for over 35 years, the advent of internet video chat systems and the increasing penetration of broadband have resulted in a growing movement towards online therapy. Clients are using videoconferencing, synchronous chat and asynchronous email with professional counselors in place of or in addition to face-to-face meetings.*
The growing body of research into online counseling has established the efficacy of online therapy with treatment outcomes at least equal to traditional in-office settings. Online therapy has additional benefits unrealized by office-based treatments as it allows the patient to attend sessions at a higher rate than traditional sessions. The number of missed appointments is much less than with in-person therapy. There is some research to suggest that online counseling is more effective because a client is at greater ease and feels less intimidated than they would in traditional settings. This makes clients more likely to be honest and thus allow the counselor to provide better treatment.
Online counseling is also filling the unmet need for clients located in areas traditionally under-served by traditional counselors. Rural residents and expats along with under-served minorities often have an easier time finding a suitable therapist online than in their local communities. These access issues are solved with online counseling resources and result in clients receiving culturally or linguistically relevant treatment that they would not have otherwise been able to receive. African Americans tend to have an elevated rate of stress-related diseases and have lower access to traditional face-to-face treatments.
Online counseling has also been shown to be effective for clients who may have difficulty reaching appointments during normal business hours.  Additionally, research is demonstrating that online counseling may be useful for disabled and rural people that traditionally under-utilize clinical services.  *From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_counseling
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