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?