Richard G. Petty, MD

Online Therapy

There is a very interesting article in Newsweek that talks about the growing trend to offer psychotherapy online. The article highlights the main reasons for this new development: convenience, anonymity and low prices. Without the overhead of running an office, internet therapy is roughly half the price of a regular office visit.

I was initially rather skeptical about the potential effectiveness of internet therapy: any experienced therapist will tell you of the amount of non-verbal material which is used during a session. Body language is a potent indicator of internal psychological states, and there is often a meta-text in communication, that can be difficult to pick up if you are not in the room with someone. And good therapy requires a lot of intuition. But on the other hand, there are times when people will open up when they do not see another person. It is one of the reasons that psychoanalysts used to use a couch, with the therapist out of sight of the patient.

So I have reviewed the research literature on the use of the internet for psychotherapy for an array of conditions, including addictions, and found over 190 studies, at least a third of which were reports of well conducted studies. Although it is still early days, and most of the research studies are small, the results are almost all positive. Clearly we cannot use the internet for trying to treat people with severe or life threatening problems, but for many of the problems which create such difficulties in many peoples’ lives, I think that this is a very positive development. So much so, that I am currently considering setting up an online service myself. I would be interested to hear of other people’s experiences of online services, and whether they would like me to offer one myself.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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