Monday, 31 August 2009

Online Therapy for phobias and anxiety

I found it extremely interesting to discover that the first International E-Health Summit 2009 is due to be held in Amsterdam on 16-18 October 2009. When I look at the sponsors and those who are attending from the academic world, this gives great credibility to the possibilities of on-line therapy for mental disorder.
I also found it interesting to note that there will be a symposium on social phobias and anxiety: "Online treatment for anxiety and social phobia,  presenter T. Berger, PhD" on the first day of the conference. There is a great deal of research going on presently on the topic of on-line therapy and it will be extremely interesting to follow the results of this conference. The web address for the  International E- Mental Health Summit is here. Although there have been reservations expressed abou the the potential risks of on-line therapy, the topic is still very much debated.
Craig Childress has written an excellent article on the topic of  "Potential Risks and Benefits of Online Psychotherapeutic Interventions". In his view the main potential drawbacks ca be summed up as follows:
1. A loss of visual and auditory cues,
2. Confidentiality,
3. Competence,
4. Crisis management,
5. Legal and juridicial issues.
On the other hand  Craig Childress sees the following potential:
1. Screening,
2. Treatment of non-clinical problems,
3. Unique advantages of on-line communication,
4. Support groups,
5. Adjunctive Internet use.

Next month I shall be updating you on some of the conclusions of this world summit.

1 comment:

  1. This has great potential. Many people are already using blogs and other online venues to keep in touch, record their feelings, make friends, and do other things made difficult by mental illness. Online treatment could be very helpful for people who live far away from a qualified professional and/or who communicate better through written than spoken words.