Saturday, June 21, 2008

On-Line Counseling?

Recently I saw that one of the google adsense ads on my blog was for a website called I went to the site and found that it was a counselor's website from which she offers email and chat counseling with individuals. I really liked this site for several reasons. First, it looks good. Second, it's informative. Third, it has a really cool idea - offering counseling and wisdom to people who may not otherwise have access to it.

I have been interested in experimenting on line counseling (or eCounseling) for awhile so I contacted the counselor and gave me lots of information. Hopefully in the fall I will begin to offer it on a limited basis and see how it goes.

So two questions: One, would you ever consider getting therapy from a professional on-line and why or why not? Two, if you are a counselor, would you consider doing email or chat based therapy? I'm just curious.

May Light increase!


Michele said...

I don't know if it was your blog or not, but recently someone posted the idea that writing has limitations because you can't see the person's body language, you can't hear vocal tone, etc. I would think that these things are important for counselling as they help you to correctly interpret what your client is saying. With eCounseling, I would think correct interpretation of thoughts and ideas might be hindered because all you have is written word. You can't hear or see frustration, anxiety, happiness...what if your client isn't the greatest at conveying emotion through writing? How do you really know what he's trying to say? My personal opinion is that counseling is best done face to face.

Stacey said...

I think the counselor at has it right by telling people from the start that if you have "severe issues" ecounseling is not for you. It would depend what you needed counseling about. I think I would be fairly comfortable with it, especially being a busy professional (the time and driving issue). Some people would actually be more 'open' communicating via the Internet and perhaps get to the 'point' of their issues sooner then it takes to draw it out of them with several traditional face-to-face sessions.
It would have a limited clientele, but it would probably be a good thing. The start up cost would be your time and a good web site so not a big loss if it wouldn't take off. The web site would have to show the couselor's credentials, testimonials and have a very professional look to it for most to feel like they were signing up for a quality counseling experience.
It would probably be better for one on one vs. couples though.

Anonymous said...

eCounseling? yeah i would try, especially if i were someone who didn't have time or money to go to a counsellor's office. something like that would work for people whose jobs take them on the road almost every single day, such as musicians and athletes.

Lindsay said...

That's kind of cool. I definitely agree that face-to-face counselling is a *better* option - but online is a heck of a lot better than nothing.

I think you'd find a strong market with youth and young adults, who are maybe a little wary of going to a counsellor's office - and spend a lot of time online anyway. Chat-based therapy is more interactive, so it makes more sense, but I think that touching base via email between in-person or online sessions or as a follow-up could be a great tool.

As a side note, I have a client who does chat-based 'counselling' for youth now - I use quotation marks because they are volunteers, not therapists, and basically listen and teach problem solving skills. They're finding it to be incredibly effective among younger demographics. For what it's worth :)