Allying with the Internet

Allying with the Internet

The Best Clinical Resources on the Web

By Elizabeth Doherty Thomas

September/October 2010

While it may not occur to many therapists, their best clinical ally can be the Internet—particularly for a client who needs more educational and interactive help than you can provide in one weekly, 50-minute session. For instance, how can you help an isolated client who has no personal support system besides the therapeutic relationship, and feels weird about even being in therapy, bridge the void between weekly sessions? Finding friendly, dependable, interactive sites—message boards, blogs, Twitter, and live chat rooms—where he or she can meet people struggling with similar issues can be enormously comforting, informative, and even healing, especially when you help the client monitor and assess the Internet experience.

Psychoeducation is always some part of the therapeutic experience, but even if you've explained the nature of depression or anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder to your client, many more questions, doubts, and uncertainties about what it all means will still remain. With your guidance, the Internet can serve as a trustworthy source of information about therapy or the client's particular difficulties.

Of course, more and more clients are already submerging themselves in websites—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and not only diagnosing themselves, but prescribing their own treatment. In those cases, you must be ready to make sure they're using dependable sources and fully comprehend the implications of the information they've…

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