The online clinic
"Hello," I heard a trembling voice on the phone, "my name is Jenny. I can't come tomorrow, and I thought that maybe you could come to me?"
It took me some time to understand who I was talking with. Jenny was referred to me by her family doctor due to a breakdown after her son was killed in an accident for which he was responsible.
"I'm sorry," I said, "but I only meet my clients in my clinic. Psychotherapy is not the same as medical treatment and it does not include home visits. We haven't started your therapy yet, so we can postpone it to next week."
"Why not?" I heard the disappointment in her voice. "We have a nice house. You could come and have a cup of coffee with me. I would reimburse you for the trip."
(An excerpt from Dror Green, Psychotherapy: A consummer's guide)
Psychotherapy cannot take place at home (with other family members around) or in a coffee-shop (where there is no privacy and confidentiality), or even at the therapist's house (where you can see his family members and his private space). The location of the therapeutic session is essential for creating trust and a sense of a safe place for both therapist and client and such unique conditions are possible only in a special clinic that is designed according to your specific needs.
In my research I defined the conditions necessary for creating a clinic that would provide a sense of trust and safety, enabling an efficient therapeutic process. I found that such conditions cannot be provided by either e-mail therapy or chat room therapy. I decided to develop a special online clinic that would meet all the needs of online therapy, including confidentiality, safety, privacy and more. The online clinic meets all the requirements of face-to-face psychotherapy, while also having advantages that exist only via the Internet.
The online clinic is based on a private forum that is secured with a password and is meant only for you (or a couple or a group). No one else, except for you and I, knows about the online clinic, and this means that confidentiality is even more absolute than in the traditional clinic, where other people can observe you arriving for therapy or leaving the premises.
Interaction in the online clinic takes different forms. It can involve video-chat or actual face-to-face therapy. There are options such as chat room or online written dialogue. Writing has many advantages over face-to-face interaction, since it documents the whole process, creates a high level of awareness and can shorten the duration of our work together. Written sessions are, naturally, suitable for those who find it easy to type and use a computer. The online clinic allows us to integrate and combine written dialogue with video-chat.
In traditional psychotherapy the clinic belongs to the therapist, and you meet him there once or twice a week. Obviously, the therapist uses the same clinic to meet all his other clients. The online clinic belongs to you only and no one except you and I can enter it. I will meet you there for 50 minutes a session, but you can use the clinic to practice our work at any time. This has many advantages. First, you will feel more 'at home' in your own online clinic, which can be adapted to your special needs. The documentation feature will allow you to look back on the whole process, from start to finish, even much later on. Documentation avoids manipulation and enables you to be aware of what is happening at all times.
The online clinic is not a regular forum, as it is tailored to fit your needs and is appropriate to the emotional process taking place in it. There are folders in which you can keep important documents, letters, poems and any other material you wish to share with me. You can also download videos and create links with other sites that are relevant to our work. There is also an internal screen, upon which we can surf other web sites. We can correspond through the forum while looking at other sites, watching videos together or reading the same texts.
The online clinic is a kind of laboratory in which the emotional process is taking place. It is your own private laboratory, which offers you sophisticated introspective tools of a kind that do not exist in face-to-face psychotherapy.
If you choose to start a series of online therapy sessions, please write to me: