Therapy via the Web?

March 5, 2008

Here’s an article from TimesOnline that discusses the phenomenon of therapy and counseling is increasingly performed online with good results. "Net gains for mental health. The news that antidepressants may not be very effective could open the door for online therapy."

Although they link it in the title with recent news that questions the effectiveness of antidepressants, the bulk of the article is about the way people are getting their therapy and counseling online in Great Britain. I have a little trouble understanding how this could work for most people, since I have been practicing face-to-face therapy for over 30 years. Cognitive-based, short term, problem-solving models would seem to be the best bet for methods used on line. But, in my experience, this does not work for everyone and, even for those for whom it does work, it often does not go far enough.

On the other hand, as mentioned in the article, some people might be more likely to partake of therapy if they can do so with the anonymity of a web interaction. Perhaps this could be most effective for them and may even lead them to trust enough to go further.

I am pretty involved with the web and the increased ability connect it affords- this blog is an example of that. I have seen the benefit the web can be for people with limited mobility and for information gathering about psychological and medical issues. I am excited about the potential of this for us all. But I have trouble imagining this medium as one for the practice of therapy or counseling with any depth.

What do you think?

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