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Mental health services conducted on the Internet have been described as e-therapy, online counseling, e -mail therapy, Internet-based therapy, and similar terminology. Online therapy services may be provided as an adjunct to more traditional forms of mental health treatment, or may be initiated without any offline contact between the therapist and client. Currently, there are a variety of websites providing links and information regarding online therapy. As I was reading about benefits and risks in using internet as a source for mental health services, I realized that there are a lot of factors that make it a controversial issue.
There are many pro and con to its benefits. Some Pros are the convenience of a client, Flexibility in scheduling, Anonymous and private, Access to those with physical disabilities; emotionally safe environment on of my biggest issues is making use of the time-delay (email) to work on issues. Appeal to those who are shy, uncomfortable with face-to-face treatment and make them feel more those who are shy more comfortable. Some disadvantages are Privacy, security and privilege cannot be guaranteed, Lack of patient skills to use the Absence of face-to-face therapy relationship, Lack of behavioral cues may lead to problems in treatment and most importantly is Urgent, crises, or suicidal issues may not receive immediate and appropriate attention.
I work in a Community clinic where we offer many treatments one of them is therapy also. As I came across this assignment I ask one of our doctors what they believed. One of the doctors sends in miner cases it could be useful as long as is a well program with credentials and the issues are not really serious. At this time we are transitioning from paper charts to computers so most of the time there sitting in front of the computer typing away while the patient is speaking.
It made me realized that in a way internet and mental services are becoming more and more essential for each other. When I was reading the website for American Psychological Association it provided me the ethics they have to fallow when they provide service public advice or comment via print, Internet or other electronic transmission, they take precautions to ensure that statements (1) are based on their professional knowledge, training or experience in accord with appropriate psychological literature and practice; (2) are otherwise consistent with this Ethics Code; and (3) do not indicate that a professional relationship has been established with the recipient.
I believe in conclusion we could benefit from these services as long as we are really aware that they are legit and trustworthy. In my case I believe sometimes I could benefit from therapy but simply have no time. One of the reasons I choose online schooling. Definitely I would use these services and give it a try. There are programs offer here in California that can help you as a guide to search for help. The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) would like to make the following recommendations to California consumers who choose to seek therapy or counseling over the Internet.
Individuals, who provide psychotherapy or counseling, either in person, by telephone, or over the Internet, are required by law to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state. Individuals who provide psychotherapy or counseling to persons in California are required to be licensed in California. Such licensure permits the consumer to pursue recourse against the licensee should the consumer believe that the licensee engaged in unprofessional conduct.
1. National Association of Social Workers “Code of Ethics “Retrieved From: https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp
2. American Psychological Association “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct “Retrieved From: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx#
3. The Branch Journal of Psychiatry Dr. John Powell “Internet information-seeking in mental health” Sept 2006 retrieved from: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/189/3/273.short
4. Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Behavioral Sciences “Consumer
Information Regarding Online Psychotherapy” Retrieved From: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/consumer/consumer_psych_online.shtml