BSHS/352 - Technology in Human Services
January 21, 2013
Sharon Cross, LISW
The majority of Americans consider talking to someone who cares about him or her to be helpful in dealing with common daily stress; such as when a daughter who is away from home in college, she Skype Internet calls her mom complaining that a particular professor requires too much work from his students. The majority of Americans may consider that therapeutic but that falls short of online therapy. Therapist Bea Arthur informed VentureBeat, “There’s still a stigma attached to therapy, and I think people see it as intimidating or expensive But the fact remains that most people would love the chance to be listened to genuinely and objectively” (Odell, 2011, para. 4). That sigma is a part of why online therapy is becoming so popular, although an official description and name of Internet-supported therapeutic interventions is suffering from a lack of precision and uniformity (Barak, Klein, & Britt, 2009). The objective of writing this paper is to introduce online therapy to the reader with examples of three online therapy websites. The names of the companies with online therapy websites are ProvenTherapy, My Therapy Net, and Serenity Online Therapy. Introduction to online therapy
Online therapy began on the Internet in the 1990s, and online therapy is a type of intervention program that allows a client seeking mental health assistance to employ and build a beneficial professional relationship with a therapist or counselor through an Internet website (Terry, 2010). “Internet-based therapy (etherapy) is a relatively new but burgeoning means of delivering mental health services. Etherapy typically involves the interaction between a consumer and a therapist (e-therapist) via the Internet” (Abbott, Klein, & Ciechomski, 2008, p. 361).The use of an Internet website for therapeutic objectives is much like any other online interpersonal interaction and tailoring to meet the client’s requirements is possible (Barak, Klein, & Britt). Those are some of the major advantages of using online therapy, however; there are disadvantages that go along with using online therapy, such as individuals with limited computer familiarity may not be appropriate clients for using online therapy (Abbott, Klein, & Ciechomski, 2008). Another disadvantage of online therapy is that it does not appeal to numerous clients. “The practice of counseling and psychotherapy online may not appeal to all practitioners, nor may it appeal to all potential clients” (Jung, 2011, p. 107). If the thought of online therapy is not alluring to a client, the therapists should not push it upon the client. A third disadvantage for online therapy is that there is not much literature concerning it (Terry, 2010, p. 152). The best way to learn about online therapy is to read what an online therapy clinic states on its website. ProvenTherapy Website
ProvenTherapy’s website shows they offer therapy for mental health, relationship issues, and many other difficulties through an online counseling and psychotherapy service. “Problems brought to ProvenTherapy for online psychotherapy varies from non-psychiatric, behavioral issues to complex psychiatric and psychotic conditions, from adjustmental issues to family separation and divorce issues, from career stress to financial problems” (ProvenTherapy, 2013, para. 2). ProvenTherapy’s website states the method to obtaining counseling is an effortless four steps. The first step is clicking on a webpage where there is a listing of therapists. The second step is choosing the therapist by clicking on the therapist’s picture or name to learn more about the therapist to ensure the client can choose the most appropriate therapist for him or her. The third step involves the client taking a five-minute free consultation either through live chat or by telephone. The final step allows the visitor to take...