Many efforts have been put in place to analyze the impact of online therapy on the patients who use it. One of such the efforts includes the addressing of issue of insurance companies and policies not covering the type of therapy. Most insurance companies fail to allow the coverage or offering policies and plans that are in line with the type of therapy. This is proven in that many clients cannot use their insurance packages to pay for the services of their online psychiatrists. This leads to the lack of many people accessing the service. Others prefer the face-to-face therapy since it can be covered by most medical insurance covers and packages.
Another effort is one that is centered in addressing the issue of privacy, confidentiality and unreliable technology. The privacy and confidentiality in the methods of online or e-therapy is quite minimal. This is because the security of the internet goes lower everyday and since a client is giving crucial and highly confidential personal information, the system that is being used needs to be secure enough to protect such information from leaks. The confidentiality level in the internet today is very little with the increase in hackers, spammers and spoofing. There have been increasing reports of the leaking of confidential information in the internet with most clients placing blame on the psychiatrists. However, the psychiatrists themselves, in most occasions are not aware of what is happening and are not responsible for the leaking of the information (Anthony and Nagel, 2009).
The issue of online therapists being unable to respond to any crisis situations that might occur is also an issue addressed by such efforts. Due to the issue of distance, the online therapists are virtually unable to access the patient if they would go on any crisis like a psychotic break or a fit of anger that might result in erratic behavior. Several cases have been reported where an online therapist was unable to control their patients and the patient ended up harming himself or herself. This causes lower rates of accepting the service by other clients and people who would recommend others for the service become more reluctant. The rate of the patients who go untreated or without their problems solved increases.
The focus of this capstone project shall therefore be to critically analyze and describe the impact of online therapy to patients and providing a solution to the problems that the patients go through or would potentially go through. There are several critical considerations; however, that are critical in the analysis and discussion of this problem. The ethical factors involved are related to whether it is right for the insurance companies to fail to offer the policies or plans for the payment of online therapy. They are also related to whether the privacy, confidentiality and the technological reliability are fit enough to allow the posting of confidential and personal information through the internet. The ethical factors are also related to the ability of the psychiatrists to handle crisis and emergency situations concerning their patients (Derrig-Palumbo, and Zeine, 2005).
Factors concerning diversity shall focus on the fact that most people, due to the lack of insurance plans, lack of privacy, confidentiality and reliable technological capabilities and lack of emergency measures, are unable to get the help they need, deserve and have paid for. Globalism factors include the assessment of the implications the problems discussed above shall have on the psychological practice globally. Factors concerning the social change include the assessment of how a better system of online therapy can be implemented and organized to solve the problems identified (Kraus, Zack and Stricker, 2004).
Anthony, K. and Nagel, D. M. (2009). Therapy Online: A Practical Guide. New York, NY: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Derrig-Palumbo, K. and Zeine, F. (2005). Online therapy: a therapist’s guide to expanding your practice. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.
Kraus, R., Zack, J. S. and Stricker, G. (2004). Online counseling: a handbook for mental health professionals. Berkeley, CA: Academic Press.