online psychological therapy
is online therapy?
Online therapy, supervision or therapeutic consultation
allows people either individually or in groups to access help, information or
support using equipment that connects them to the internet such as a computer,
PDA, mobile phone or digital television.
does it work?
works by exchanging text, visual or audio messages. For example, you write to
your therapist and he or she writes back. These internet contacts can be synchronous/live
(you are both connected to the internet at the same time) or asynchronous (you
are not both connected to the internet at the same time). Internet communication
can use text, image, voice or video messages . Live sessions use text, images
(on a whiteboard), audio (microphone) or video (webcam) on their own or in combination
(e.g. Flash Meeting). Live sessions also use Messenger (eg MSN, Windows, Yahoo,
Google, etc.) or website private chatrooms, VoIPs (computer telephone calls like
Skype, Gizmo, etc.) and those with Whiteboards (Bitwise, Talkandwrite etc) . All
these methods of contact are available to individuals or groups and are only limited
by the speed of internet connection and the amount of traffic at any one time
on the web server.
Increasing access to services
The internet has brought great changes to our lifestyles and has empowered us with tremendous choices about how, when, where and with whom we can access help. Online therapy or supervision is very suitable for people who have difficulty keeping traditional face to face appointments (e.g. those with hearing, mobility, location or scheduling problems). It also suits individuals who have a preference for greater anonymity, or who are constantly on the move and want access to the same therapist or supervisor wherever they are. Many people are as comfortable and familiar with internet communication as they are with face to face services, so using this medium fits in with their lifestyle. Being online also allows worldwide access to clinical and supervisory expertise and speciality that may not be available locally. Is it not time that you considered the online therapy services?
Suitability for online counselling
It is imperative to assess and monitor an individual’s suitability for online counselling as it is not generally recommended as the best medium for addressing certain problems in the first instance (e.g. a person who is actively contemplating suicide). Setting and maintaining professional boundaries when contracting with clients can help address any problems, should certain issues arise during the counselling. These and other online professional issues should be addressed as part of your recognised online counselling training. Options for other professional support include: Samaritans or Befrienders Worldwide , emergency servicesor GP practice.