Online therapy is a fast emerging field. Performing a google search using the term ‘online therapy’ will reveal over 8 million results. A book by Derrig-Palumbo and Zeine helps to make sense of this very heterogenous but influential area. The book is divided into two parts – the first part being on the theory and the second part on the practical aspects.
The opening chapter explores different psychotherapeutic approaches online. The highlight for me was reading a conversation with Albert Ellis (pioneer of rational emotive behavioural therapy) about how he conducts online therapy. There were also interviews with practitioners of other approaches included family brief therapy, solutions based therapy, imago relationship therapy, transpersonal therapy – all in the context of online therapy. A chapter on common questions tackles some of the tricky issues such as the difference between online therapy and face to face therapy, geographical separation and crises. A chapter on ‘Clinical Guidelines and Approaches’ is useful for face-to-face therapy as well as online therapy, organising the therapeutic process into phases. The examination of transference and countertransference issues online gives insight into these processes themselves. For instance, if a therapist takes more time to respond, it may seem that they are paying less attention (if there is no visual contact).The ‘Effectiveness of Different Modes of Online Therapy’ chapter looks at some of the evidence of different approaches both in terms of delivery systems e.g. text, video and also in terms of populations. For instance there is evidence to support the use of online therapy in insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the second part of the book a number of practical issues are discussed including an overview of setting up an internet practice, ethics and legal issues as well as marketing. The book is also supported by detailed appendices including a section on published guidelines for online therapy. This second part of the book is geared towards an american market and highlights both the complexities of practice and the geographical distinctiveness of practice (e.g. in terms of legal issues).
Kathleene Derrig-Palumbo, Foojan Zeine. Online Therapy: A Therapist’s Guide To Expanding Your Practice. Norton. 2005.
The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor.