While the debate rages on about whether or not internet addiction really exists or is an actual diagnosis, some people use the internet to the point that real world relationships become difficult to establish or maintain, tasks of daily living are effected and work is compromised.
More and more people are seeking psychotherapy and support for mental health issues online. Comfort with technology is closing the divide as access to quality services and navigation on the web becomes easier.
It might not be so unusual for someone who is struggling with an internet addiction to reach out for help on the internet. Determining whether or not this is a suitable approach should be on a case by case basis but let’s consider the following as a point for further thought:
A person who has a history of building unstable and untrustworthy virtual relationships may have the opportunity for a positive experience through therapeutic dialogue with a therapist via the internet.
This intervention may be as adjunct to an existing face-to-face relationship and the experience may be modulated as part of an overall plan. Or a person who may not consider face-to-face therapy may reach out on the internet when his or her life has become unmanageable. Interventions may be text-based via chat and/or email, videoconferencing/webcams or by using avatars in a virtual world such as Second Life.
What do you think?