Counseling by Computer
There is a major shift and movement occurring changing the ways mental health services are being delivered. The trend and shift is Telehealth or Telemedicine. Psychiatry, psychology, employee assistance, forensic evaluations and even medical consults are now occurring over the Internet. With a computer, broadband connection, webcam with microphone and speakers, you can get counseling and coaching services online. Since I am an early adopter, I have been at the forefront of this movement. For several years now, I have been doing coaching and psychotherapy over several different platforms that provide security, confidentiality and meet HIPAA standards for ethical practices. There are of course advantages and disadvantages in the Telehealth movement. For example, face to face is a preferred treatment method, but what about someone what may be living in a remote area where counseling services are not available, or when someone is homebound or has a physical problem, transportation difficulties or other problems preventing the opportunity to get treatment. There are now a variety of forms of online therapy including chat rooms that are private, substance abuse recovery meetings, 12 Step Meetings, email therapy sessions, and even Avatar Therapy or a virtual reality called Second Life. You can actually engage in Avatar Therapy with a virtual therapist in real time. Pretty amazing stuff.