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Since March of 2000, (www.eTherapistsOnline.com) we have been

Online Therapy

providing to the public a pool of well qualified clinicians; mental health professionals who have at least 10 years post graduate experience, provided 6 personal and professional references that attest to their qualifications, “exhibited strong professional skills including a personal interview with a top clinician and management of our company, and in general have made it though the most rigorous screening process of any online therapy site we know of.

It has been extraordinarily rewarding to watch our “experiment” in online therapy grow at a rate we’d never dreamed would happen to where we are now one of the oldest, most established and most publicized online therapy sites available today.

We have conducted a few surveys with our clients over the years, but our most recent one  I find most interesting, at least right now. We asked our clients what were the top five reasons they chose online therapy over seeing someone in office and feel the results are so revealing we wanted to share them with you.

Our research was informal and consisted only of a follow up email to 200 past clients who had purchased an initial session within the last 6 months. We asked them to share with us the top 5 reasons for selecting online therapy.

The results are as follows:

# 5:  Availability — People cited that the therapist they wanted to see was available within the next 2 – 5 days as a reason for seeing someone online. Their comments indicated that this window of time, 2 – 5 days was extremely important and they felt that contact with a professional was more important than where the contact took place.

#4:  Ease of Use — respondents cited the ease of use of the site as the 4th top reason to select online therapy vs. in office therapy.  A frequent remark was that there was little effort to “sell” them on this form of therapy which they liked “Lack of pressure to buy” something was a typical response from respondents.

#3:  Price– The cost of sessions was reason number three given. They thought the range of prices from ($39.95 for 1 email to $85 for 1 60 minute chat or phone) was affordable enough to see if this would be a helpful way of “seeing “ someone and over 72% said they purchased an additional session even though we did not ask for this information.

#2:  Intake Process – While many people complained that the intake process was long, they also felt reassurance that this was “a legitimate” site; “real professionals” and “ethical licensed professionals” if they were asking this much detailed information beforehand.  Credibility, while not using that term, seemed to be the reason they were identifying.

#1:  Skill level of the professional – We post an extensive biography of each therapist on the site and the fact that qualifications was cited was not surprising to us, al thought it was surprising that it was the number one reason.  Because most of our professionals have at least 15 – 20 years post graduate experience and they write well (as demonstrated in their bio) seems to be an important indicator for those seeking therapy. This lends support to my belief that clients who seek therapy online tend to be more professional, highly educated group of people who are looking for convenience and quality in making a decision about what type of service to purchase online and where to make that purchase.

It was a fascinating experience to review the clients’ comments. While we do not have any plans now for future surveys, we will be conducting some as we go on. We do not present this in any way as an attempt at a “scientific study “so we will not respond (mostly for time’s sake) comments critical of the methodology we used.  Our goal here is simply to share information we found interesting. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Visit us online for online therapy here. If you are a therapist looking to join an online therapy network, see if you can meet our qualifications.

For a therapist to see in office, find a therapist here.

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Online counseling or eTherapy is a new way for a client to ’see’ a therapist. Many therapists are finding online therapy is a way of increasing their client “pool” and frees them from the constraints of managed care, freeing them to “do” therapy in the way they prefer.

Online Therapy

Online Therapy

With the Gen X (29-42 year olds) and now Gen Y (18-28 year olds) population of potential clients,  online activities consume more of their daily time, and they are extremely comfortable using technology for all online activities. They are the true online natives and have integrated technology into their everyday lives. They spend more time online than Gen X, watch more online video and text message more often. Technology forms a major part of their entertainment and socializing. “Seeing” a therapist online is a natural and comfortable concept for them.

We personally interview each therapist and require that they provide a sample email session for our review. Additionally, all of our clinicians must have at least 10 years post graduate counseling experience. Ours are the highest standards of any online therapy site on the Web.

Busy schedules, difficulty with traveling to the therapist’s office, fear of going out in public, privacy concerns, and 24 hour availability are only a few of the reasons given for using our e-therapy service.

We offer email, private chat and phone sessions. Online therapy is often a comfortable, convenient way for a client to begin opening up to another person and trying out the idea of therapy, or they may already be familiar with therapy and choose this option for the added convenience and privacy it offers. Many people prefer etherapy to prevent having a mental health record with insurance companies.

Online therapy is not the same as traditional face-to-face psychotherapy. There are some people it will not work as well for. However, there is mounting evidence that it is very effective for some. An Australian researcher, Gavin Andrews, recently published a study that indicates that Internet-based therapies are as successful as face-to-face treatments at combating depression. Here is a link to another recent study with similar findings regarding online therapy and its effectiveness.

Many more people need therapy than those who are already receiving it. In 2005, NPR reported that barely a third of Americans with mental illness get proper treatment. For many the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment still gets in the way, or trust issues make it difficult to sit with someone in person while revealing personal information. Online therapy can also feel safer or like a good first step for those who feel overwhelmed at the prospect of seeking help and the trust risks involved.

For example, many sexual abuse survivors report that they feel too frightened to see a therapist in person, at least in the initial stages of their healing. It may be much less frightening for them to receive therapy online from the safety and familiarity of their own home.

All of our therapists have passed our thorough screening process, are licensed or certified in their states, and are carefully selected to be part of our network based on their demonstrated professional excellence. Our goal is to provide the consumer of mental health services with another therapy option and to offer only the most expert therapeutic services available online. We offer the following services:

Email Sessions

After purchasing an email session, the client compete a Pre-Session form (intake) which tells you therapist about the clients reasons for seeking therapy. After reviewing the  Pre-Session form the therapist responds by email with a well thought out answer within 2 business days. Our therapists spend approximately 30 minutes on their response. This process is one email session.

With e-mail, much of the benefit for the client is from the writing itself. Therapists often encourage clients to keep journals or write to help clarify and express their thoughts.

A client may have a simple one-time question, or you may choose to use this as a way to establish a longer term relationship with a therapist.

Private Online Chat and Phone Sessions

Telephone and online chat offer additional options from which to choose. For those who have never tried chat, it’s a very simple process. After purchasing a session and completing a Pre-Session form, you meet your client online here, in your “virtual office.” You type a message to your client and he/she responds by typing back immediately, in real time. We provide the secure chat software as part of your Virtual Office. All sessions are scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.  Phone sessions take place by phone and are scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.

We believe the demand for online therapy will increase and since our launch in 2000, we have seen this on our site. In the first quarter of 2009, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of clients, some of which is attributable to the recession, but most because of the convenience it offers.

To learn more or apply to be part of our network, click here: http://www.etherapistsonline.com/therapy/join2.htm

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