Many individuals pursue psychological services provided by mental health care providers for a variety of reasons, which may include issues related to adjustment, trauma, job and familial stress, and bereavement. Due to personal preference, access to providers, or financial problems many citizens choose to obtain psychotherapy offered on the internet. The transmission of personal data in the virtual environment is often necessary for individuals to achieve their therapeutic goals and navigate the road to recovery. Web based interventions could involve static information providing websites, email-exchanges, text chatroom conversations, web cams, and voice only exchanges (using a computer program like Skype), and virtual programs like Second Life (Barak & Grohol, 2011). Online counseling and psychotherapy is defined as a mental health intervention between a patient (or a group of patients) and a therapist, using a form of technology as the primary medium for correspondence (Barak and Grohol, 2011). Although some therapists use voice or video conferencing, some only use text-based chat (Cicarelli & White, 2015). Given the challenges that come along with pursuing cybertherapy online, which include disclosing private information and paying for services, cybersecurity principles are essential to ensuring protection and proper treatment of individuals who could benefit from the services.
Dr. Dumas discussing E-Therapy
An example of a practice offers E-Therapy: http://therapyave.com/aboutetherapy.html
An example of a site offering a platform for psychic readings and a “pay as you go” option: https://www.kasamba.com/lp/aff/find-your-psychic-promo-5?AID=10545273&PID=2094444&accountRef=liveperson&CampaignID=64
https://metanoia.org/imhs/ethics.htm (very useful site which has several links about e-therapists, ethics, confidentiality, etc.)
Dr. Simon Bignell discussing cyberpsychology and the importance of creating virtual environments to study identity development
Over the past nine years, the United States has seen a historic health IT transformation, moving from a primarily paper-based health system to one where virtually everyone has a digital footprint of their care because of the dramatic uptake of electronic health records (EHRs). The field of psychological treatment grew tremendously during the twentieth century.
Cybertherapy or e-therapy is one of the fields that are growing quickly because of technological advancements. It is the use of advanced technologies to perform psychological therapy. It uses the Internet and visual reality as traditional forms of therapy. This new type of technological treatment is quickly gaining recognition and acceptance because of its benefits to patients who need psychological treatments. Cybertherapy uses technology to create visual as well as auditory stimulus to aid in behavioral treatments. It augments a person’s virtual reality to address his or her fears, phobias, traumas and behavioral issues. This type of therapy may involve a face-to-face encounter with a psychologist through a video conference or an enhanced audio and visual environment.
How well can you know the therapist via Cybertherapy? Would you trust him if you met him face to face? Unless the online therapy is encrypted there is a danger that private information can quickly become public. Health care providers and other key persons and organizations that handle your health information must protect it with passwords, encryption, and other technical safeguards. Federal laws are in place and designed to make sure that only the right people have access to your information. While Federal law can protect your health information, you should also use common sense to make sure that private information doesn’t become public. If you access your health records online, make sure you use a strong password and keep it secret. Keep in mind that if you post information online in a public forum, you cannot assume it’s private or secure.
Example of Occurrence
Largest Health Breaches of 2018
Medical Records More Valuable than Credit Card Numbers