Online Therapy

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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Analyzing Within Cyberspace The growing necessity for psychotherapy in the world today has given birth to a new form of therapeutic treatment that has become a controversial subject within the psychological world. Computer-mediated therapy "" i.e. "cybertherapy"� is an alternative to the traditional face-to-face therapy environment, which has created a cause for concern in many psychologists. While there are some benefits to using online counseling, I believe there are far more disadvantages to it's use than traditional treatment.

Computer-mediated therapy is a rather new field of study in psychology. Many researchers and clinicians define it as "clinical work via e-mail or chat"�, and are done exclusively through the internet. The internet is a marvel of information and guidance for many studies, but for psychotherapy treatment, it is not. It is my belief that online therapy may inhibit patients from recovering efficiently and therefore should not, alone, be an option for psychotherapy treatment.

Psychotherapy treatment is extremely sensitive and intimate. Typing your feelings into a computer is not remotely as intimate than if it were face-to-face. The asynchronous encounters that a patient has with a psychologist online may result in a number of causes for concern. First, the professional boundaries, such as an "appointment"� are lost. When there is not a set time for counseling, a patient may lose the sense of "presence"� in the session and may cause the patient the feel a noncommittal relationship with the psychologist; it is extremely important for psychotherapy patients to feel important and "heard"�. Secondly, the time it takes to "reflect"� in an online session is also vacant. Usually the psychologist may be in a session with two or more patients at once, and may not have the time to wait for replies.

When a person seeking therapy searches for a clinician, they typically...

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