Central Alberta Canada’s daily newspaper, the Red Deer Advocate featured an article on Online Counselling (called Online Advice…). The article features the organization, Shepell.fgi E-Counselling and quotes the founder of Shepell.fgi’s e-counselling division, Cedric Speyer:
“Our experience as online clinicians demonstrates that some individuals are more honest, more uninhibited and more expressive in writing than face-to-face,” said Speyer, who has been involved in researching, teaching and publishing in this new form of counselling for over eight years.
The full article is available here: Online Advice
Speyer is a long-time colleague and presented online counselling in a positive light. He has helped bring etherapy into the Employee Assistance Program counselling model in Canada, the United States and across the globe.
As with most news articles of this sort, they do a fine job presenting the concept, and stressing the importance of security and encryption, as one example. But the article does point to a valid concern. In this article, the concern is ensuring that who you reach online for services truly IS who you intend to receive services from.
We recommend potential consumers of online therapy check out the person they are considering working with if that person is working independently and not part of a company or group that would verify credentials. Online therapists should have enough verifiable information on their website to bolster consumer confidence. For instance, education with school name and year of graduation, license and certifications with numbers and a link to licensing boards or accrediting bodies as applicable, as well as contact information for the therapist beyond an email address are examples of extending credibility to the practitioner.
Cedric- thanks for your contributions to the field!