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Web-Based Therapy Pros and Cons

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Essay title: Web-Based Therapy Pros and Cons


Web-based Therapy Pros and Cons

December 9, 2005

Web-based Therapy Pros and Cons

In this age of the Internet, it is hardly surprising that thousands of therapists are setting up online services, inviting persons with problems to e-mail their questions and concerns. This gives them the opportunity to have more clients, which in turn means more money for them. Such services can cost as much as two dollars per minute. They have raised concerns about confidentiality and the quality of care. Many of these therapists do not even have advanced clinical training. As a patient seeking help who is already most likely in a vulnerable state, it is difficult to determine who is treating them and if it is from a certified professional in the field of psychology.

Similarly, there are now thousands of chat groups and virtual support groups available around the clock on the Internet for everything from depression to substance abuse, anxiety, and eating disorders. These groups provide opportunities for people with similar problems to communicate with each other, freely trading advice and empathy. This is a definite benefit to on-line therapies because people feel less inhibited about expressing sensitive and personal issues. Of course, people who choose chat group therapy do not know who is on the other end of the computer connection or whether the advice they receive is at all appropriate. There may even be people that log on to these sites for the sole purpose of playing with people’s emotions for their own enjoyment. Unfortunately, there are people out there.

Another new computer-age development is software programs that claim to offer help for emotional distress. Advocates suggest that people may find it easier to reveal sensitive personal information to a computer than to a therapist. (Christensen & Griffith) The computer offers them the freedom to express their thoughts and emotions without fear of being judged. Moreover, the computer therapist is always available, it can reach a large number of people, and it fees are modest and sometimes non-existent. These are all attractive attributes in a therapist.

Computers may never substitute

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