July 21, 2011
Online therapy is a form of healthcare practice leaning towards mental fitness involving an online association between a client and a therapist as an alternative to physical counseling arrangements. Various channels are employed for the therapy delivery including interactive e-mailing, video conferencing, online conversations and online telephone dialogues. From the aforementioned channels, it is evident that the sessions can be achieved through delayed durations or real-time situations. Although online therapy marks a notable highlight within the healthcare systems, it is termed as inefficient because it is associated with a considerable inadequacy limitation towards service provision when contrasted against facial therapy (Rochlen, Jason, & Cedric, 2004).
Causative agents identified towards the inadequacy problem are that first, online therapy inhibits the behavioral prompts exhibited by an individual during a normal therapy session. An appraisal of online therapy systems have noted that a bulk of the sessions, whether synchronous or non-synchronous in nature exclude the visual element. Subsequently, this inhibits the therapist’s capability towards analyzing important prompts like facial signals, verbal indicators and body language as pre-requisites for comprehensive judgments. This thereby acts as a significant drawback for the given approach as opposed to physical therapy that allows associations between the client and the therapist; and subsequently the ability to determine the bodily signals (Cook, & Carol, 202). Consequences attributed to this are that insufficient information relating tends to lead to erroneous opinions and thereby insufficient therapies. This leads to delayed recovery periods or no form of improvement at all to the clients.
Secondly, inadequacy is noted within online therapy sessions towards individual bearing complex problems as it becomes hard and expensive for the client to handle. Of inference here is that the approach infuses restrictions to the nature of situations that can be handled online and the monetary capability of the client (Griffiths, M., & Cooper, 2003). This leads to a rather unequal therapy system within the healthcare institute in contrast to the physical approach. The main effect attached to this exclusion approach is that it imposes an adverse financial burden on the client attributed to the fact that the consumer has to bear a double monetary outlay for the online consultation and physical fees. This follows that trend that, upon a therapist’s appraisal of the complexity element it mandates the client for a physical visit to a counseling centre and thus the double cost. The uncertainty attached to the approach therefore is quire high as noted by the cost factor.
Thirdly, online therapy overcomes the spatial element and enhances the ability of a client to interact with a therapist from diverse locations, for instance, a client from China is able to source services from a Britain-based counselor. The problem associated with this element is that it bears an adverse impact on the legal structure because the affected regions bear varying legal procedure and requirements making it complex in ascertaining a compromise within the dissimilar systems (Manhal-Baugus, 2001). Additionally, it infuses intricacy within the best licensing technique/category for the therapists, as it tends to create a discriminative form of competition within the healthcare industry. This can be ascribed to the observation that the variations arising from the diverse legal systems inhibit the existence of a standardized approach and therefore the unequal competition. In case of litigation requirement, it also becomes difficult to impart fairness within both parties.
Fourthly, due to the online factor, upon the incidence of an emergency the therapist is unable to intervene because of the separation factor. This challenges the need for the therapist especially if the crisis leads to severe cases like demise or aggressive reactions that cause bodily injury (Griffiths, 2005). For instance, in severe mental occurrences, upon the commencement of the therapy session an event may occur that enhances the client’s anxiety leading to bodily harm inflicted by the individual. Unless the therapist is able to intervene through the dialogue system then approach would be useless unlike within the physical approach where the restraint can be achieved. The consequence attached to this is that it amplifies the harm element to the client.
Cook, J. E., & Carol, D. (2002). Working Alliance in Online Therapy as Compared to Face-to-Face Therapy: Preliminary Results. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5(2), 95-105.
Griffiths, M. (2005). Online Therapy for Addictive Behaviors. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 8(6), 555-561.
Griffiths, M., & Cooper, G. (2003). Online Therapy: Implications for Problem Gamblers and Clinicians. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 31(1), 113-135(23).
Manhal-Baugus, M. (2001). E-Therapy: Practical, Ethical, and Legal Issues. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 4(5), 551-563.
Rochlen, A. B., Jason, S. Z., & Cedric, S. (2004). Online Therapy: Review of Relevant Definitions, Debates, and Current Empirical Support. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60(3), 269-283.