Online Therapy might become standard practice……

Online therapy is, in my experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? I have a range of plans that can help you get the help you need.  Online Therapy details : Here …… Take advantage of the the “online therapy” tester. Try the first three sessions for free. Contact me for more details. 

I interestingly read the other day that doctors in the UK were being urged to use Skype as a means of initially diagnosing patients. While this suggestion was generally treated with derision, it does prove that technology is being firmly placed at the center of medical provision.

The practice of psychology has reinvented itself many times over since Freud and his inner circle started it all off many years ago. Various movements have come and gone and eminent psychologists have had their time in the spotlight. All have had an effect on the way that mental health issues are treated today and sterling work is done by many psychologists practicing various forms and methods of psychotherapy.

In my view, psychology is now entering another of those phases with the increase of therapy services offered over the internet. Known as online therapy, a client interacts with a qualified therapist via webcam, mail or telephone or in more extreme cases via instant messaging. While many are still rather skeptical and suspicious of anything offered over the internet, one cannot help that notice that more and more therapists are adding this medium to their range of services. There are indeed serious issues to be resolved, some legal, some privacy and some licensing. These all need to be addressed to protect the consumer and regulation will surely come in time. Despite all this, these are indeed exciting times and it does allow therapists to be truly global players as only time zones and language limit their reach. The effectiveness of online therapy has been tested by study a number of times. Once such study published in the Lancet and reported on by CNN cited:

“A new study in The Lancet suggests that real-time chat therapy with a psychotherapist is successful in helping people with depression.

Participants were randomly assigned to either receive online cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to usual physician care — which may include antidepressant medication — or to continue their usual care and be placed on a waiting list. The intervention consisted of up to 10 55-minute sessions, five of which were expected to be completed by the four-month follow-up.

Of the 113 people who did online therapy, 38 percent recovered from depression after four months, compared with 24 percent of people in the control group. The benefits were maintained at eight months, with 42 percent of the online therapy group and 26 percent of the control group having recovered.”

So the facts on effectiveness appear to be there. However, amongst the vast range of methods offered by therapists, some will be generally more suited to online therapy than others. This is where I believe CBT has a distinct advantage and I am not the only one. The BBC reported that :

The National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence has also recommended cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as an alternative to medication. But getting funding for, and training, thousands of therapists will take time and waiting lists for ‘talking therapies’ are currently months or even years long in some places. Online CBT – which allows real-time therapy sessions from the comfort of the patient’s home – may offer an alternative and is now being trialed in NHS patients.

So where does this advantage come from? CBT, in my view, when practiced correctly with the relevant CBT tools applied offers a “toolbox” of methods that equip the client to look at the way they think and see the world. It is an interaction, a therapeutic alliance between therapist and client that lends itself to be practiced online. It fits nicely with the fact that CBT therapists set regular homework assignments and this, when agreed, can be checked and analyzed via email before the session takes place.  One can hardly imagine a psychoanalyst staring with a cold demeanor into a computer screen.

I firmly believe that the future of CBT and online therapy are linked in such a way that maybe in the far future, this will be the way that therapy is generally delivered. A bold statement maybe but I have some evidence of its popularity in my own practice. I started offering this about a year ago and now work with about twenty clients per week additional to face-to-face clients. They range from as far afield as the US, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East. It is frightening to think that only fifteen years ago, this could never have happened but in another fifteen it might be standard practice.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business providing help to clients on a global basis.

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