Possible advantages of consultation by email or phone are:
- You can engage in consultation even if you are home bound or live in a remote area.
- You can send emails at anytime of the day or night.
- You will have an automatic written record of the email consultation.
- You can read the therapist’s email responses as often as is helpful to you.
- You can take as much time as needed to compose your emails.
- You do not have to travel to a therapist’s office or mental health clinic.
- It’s possible to engage in consultation from home, work, or even while traveling.
- Online consultation can be less intimidating with no stigma attached.
Possible disadvantages of consultation by email or phone are:
- The lack of body language and verbal (spoken) cues.
- Problems associated with technology failures (i.e., power outages, crashes).
- Risks to confidentiality due to technology.
- Potential difficulties in verifying the identity of either party.
- The requirement of being comfortable with computers and keyboards.
- The fact that insurance companies generally will not pay for phone or email based consultation.
You should not consider online consultation if:
- You have serious thoughts of hurting yourself or others – if so contact your doctor, local police, hospital or crisis center immediately.
You have a chronic mental illness requiring intense treatment.
- You prefer face-to-face therapy and it is available to you.
- You are uncomfortable with computers and keyboards.
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