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Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBecoming MyselfBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the 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CBTE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExistential PsychotherapyExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning ACTLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOutsider Art and Art TherapyOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyProcess-Based CBTPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy East and WestPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive 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MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
This book, by Gary Stofle, Secretary/Treasurer of the International Society of Mental Health Online (ISMHO), is the first I've seen on this subject, offline. I was both surprised and not, when I saw it had an ebook ISBN number also. The more I read of the book, the more I wondered why it was published offline. I'm currently in face-to-face therapy but tried online therapy a couple of years ago. I expected the book to be about its title, to address how to weigh one online therapist or group against another and "choose" a good therapist for one's self, but it turns out to have little to do with that subject.
The first two chapters, "The What and Why of Online Therapy" and "Can You Benefit From Online Therapy?" were very detailed and often confusing for me, a veteran therapy-goer and therapy book reader. I was almost amused at the extent of the discussion about the professional concerns whether online therapy is a good idea and how online therapy differs from face-to-face therapy. However, I also had a hard time figuring out for whom this book was written and why; I couldn't quite imagine the scenario of a facile Internetter not knowing what "therapy" was and how it works and wanting to learn online by reading an offline book or, of an Internet Newbie wanting to know what online therapy was about and not knowing how to go about it, instead of investigating face-to-face therapy first.
Almost everything in this book parallels books written about face-to-face therapy. A good therapist is a good therapist no matter where they practice and there are a lot of not-so-good therapists and charlatans, both in the face-to-face world and online; be careful to choose a caring, compassionate, empathetic, licensed, knowledgeable and trustworthy one. There, I just covered Chapter 3, "Characteristics of a Good Online Therapist". Almost everything in this book has been written in numerous places, online, better. I have a link on several of my personal Web sites to the Metanoia materials of Mary Ainsworth (who was one of the first people I emailed on the Web, back in the early- to mid-90's) and I often go to her site to read when my therapist is out of town, just for enjoyment and comfort. The book was not particularly enjoyable or educational to read.
I've been a therapy client contributing to online mental health communities for 6-8 years and yet I haven't heard of any stories where online clients/patients got in serious trouble because of online therapists. I do know of many, many "therapy" sites (including the ISMHO-related site, Mentalhealthline.com) that worry about surfers who might be suicidal. I was surprised and offended by the Mentalhealthline pop-up box making me agree to their "rules," concerned I might be suicidal, before I could even look at their site. I looked at many therapists' sites before choosing an online therapist a couple of years ago and again, can't imagine the scenario where a therapist, or charlatan could do me harm. If one doesn't like people one meets online (my therapist was in California and I'm in Maryland) one ceases contact with them. If you don't pay your therapy bill online, the therapist doesn't show up for sessions, whether or not you're suicidal.
I think most of the issues with online therapy are therapist issues and it makes me nervous and impatient watching therapy sites and therapists dither it out, learning rather slowly and cautiously how to use the Internet for their advantage. All sorts of folks are jumping in, embracing the Internet, taking what they perceive as risks to themselves, emailing and chatting away, but the face-to-face psychotherapy world with our "mentors" and role models in it, do not seem to be. I vote for more sites and therapists like Richard Sansbury!
The thrust of this book seemed to be how to access online therapy if you live in a small town with few therapists or don't want your neighbors to see your car parked in the therapist's parking lot week after week and you don't know anything about therapy, computers or the Internet. I didn't see anything in the book that asked users of therapy, either online or face-to-face, what they thought or any discussion of how many online therapy-goers there had been these recent years and their circumstances. Again, the book's existance doesn't make sense to me! I suspect it was written to make someone, not a therapy client/patient or potential client, feel better about online therapy or their work in that field. I can't imagine who, after leafing through this book, would buy it to read.
© 2002 Margo McPhillips
Margo McPhillips is a 1972 graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is currently interested in the use of books on the Web, bibliotherapy, genealogy as an online family/generational activity, and and is enrolled in the UserActive program to earn a Certificate of Professional Development in Web Programming from the University of Illinois to help her with her seven Web sites. Visit her new UserActive site under development at http://mcphillips.ecorp.net/.
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