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It seems obvious that these online counseling websites are the refuges of hucksters and snake-oil salesmen, right? You can go online, start chatting with a “counselor,” and pay by the minute. (Are these folks licensed? Sometimes.) When you’re done, you rate the counselor the same way you rate a bookseller on Amazon.

The problem is that we are reaching, maybe, 10% of the population. I think we ought to be providing therapy to just about everybody.

So this kind of web-based drive-through therapy may be a big part of the therapy of the future. According to the testimonials, people find it helpful. I saw one startling study that found that depressed folks who were “seeing” a therapist via phone were much more likely to stay in therapy vs. clients who came into the office (I’ll look for the reference).

Something like these websites will provide more and more of the therapy that people use, so we may as well figure out how to be our best at helping (and protecting) people who come to therapists that way.

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