Posted by Dr. Brent Conrad, author of The Computer, Internet, and Video Game Addiction Workbook
Will e-therapy become a real alternative to traditional one-on-one therapy from a mental health professional?
For most people dealing with psychological or emotional problems, in-person contact with a qualified psychologist or counselor has been the obvious source for professional help. However, for a growing number of people, e-therapy (online therapy conducted via chat, email, or webcam) is becoming a popular alternative.
This article provides a good overview of the pros of e-therapy such as:
Convenience - Can be accessed by anyone, anywhere
Affordable – E-therapy is usually significantly less expense than an in-person session
Promotes Honesty – The argument is that people are generally more honest about their true feelings when online
In contrast, the cons of e-therapy include:
No Contact – May decrease therapist-client trust
No Research – Is e-therapy effective? Hard to say as there has been little research to date.
No Accountability for the Patient – There may be less commitment to e-therapy and less motivation to continue
After doing a quick search for e-therapists, I would also add a lack of accountability for the service provider - there appears to be some pretty sketchy characters offering e-therapy (wild claims, questionable credentials, etc) and I would really do my homework before considering an e-therapist over an in-person appointment with a registered (and qualified) psychologist.
If you needed to talk to a mental health professional, would you consider paying for an e-therapist?
Sydney University psychiatry professor Vladan Starcevic has urged Austrilia to consider a gaming rebhab centre similar to the one recently opened in London.
According to his own research with a sample of 2000 individuals, one in ten gamers showed signs of addiction.
“We have people in this country who do have a problem with that just like with gambling and other addictive behaviours,”
All well and good, but I’m not crazy about the untested methodology used by many of the recently opened inpatient facilities. Also, I am very much against the tens of thousands of dollars charged by the centres for treatment – it just seems blatantly exploitative.