What is E-Therapy?
Distant mental health treatment has existed for a very long time. The ever-expanding world of telecommunications has opened many opportunities for providing help to suffering individuals with medical as well as psychological problems. E-therapy is a relatively new method of helping individuals to resolve various concerns like everyday life and relationship issues. Presently, it is being used to provide services successfully to a wide range of people including military personnel and individuals who live in isolated areas where access to live services is extremely difficult.
The Internet allows continuous communication between an individual and a licensed mental health professional. Services are currently available using email (regular or encrypted), real-time chat, secure web-based instant messaging, video conferencing, and Internet phone. Many e-therapists offer more than one of these platforms, giving the e-client a choice based on his/her preference and availability.
The focus of e-therapy varies from one e-client to the next. Some choose to use e-therapy to work through problems pertaining to their relationships with others or develop new ways of coping with day-to-day stress. Others use e-therapy as a supplement to other types of face to face services, or to help clarify other issues they are currently working on.
What are the Benefits of E-therapy?
The growing research into e-therapy has shown the efficacy of treatment outcomes is equivalent to traditional in-office sessions. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, however, e-therapy’s strength is in the ability for the client to explore their concerns with the e-therapist without the discomfort, embarrassment or awkwardness of going to an office.
E-therapy is also a way of filling the need for individuals located in areas where therapists are not readily available. For example, research has shown residents of rural areas, disabled individuals, and other underserved populations often have an easier time finding a suitable therapist online than in their local communities. E-therapy has also been shown to be effective for clients who may have difficulty reaching appointments during normal business hours.