Photo by Chris Kurmis,Burnaby,BC,Canada


Book Review:

Online Counseling - A Handbook For Mental Health Professionals

Edited By: Ron Kraus, Jason Jack and George Stricker

Book Review By: Patricia Roles, MSW, RSW, BCATR

This is an excellent resource for any mental health professionals who are considering starting an online counseling practice. It was well written with comprehensive coverage of topics including chapters written in 4 parts:

  • The History and Research of Online Counseling in Cyberspace with Text Relationships and Communication
  • The Practical and Technological Aspects of Starting an Online Counseling Practice, Developing a Business and Ethical Issues
  • Clinical Issues in Online Counseling with a Focus on Skill Building, and
  • Looking into the Future of Online Counseling

    The book covers asynchonous e-mail counseling and counseling through synchonous chats. The examples of emails and chat logs in the skill building sections were excellent. They demonstrated the ways text communication can be used most effectively.

    This book was professionally written and included contributors who have experience in the field of online counseling. I was particulary appreciative of this as I have seen courses on online therapy being conducted by professionals with little or no experience in online therapy. This book really rang true with my experience in online therapy, family therapy via video conferencing and narrative therapeutic letter writing.

    The authors clearly explained the concerns of skeptics to the power of the written word in therapy. They described how the internet can be a powerful avenue of support and change for those clients who are comfortable with the medium of the internet and written communication. It elucidated some of the potential issues that can arise for clinicans to be aware of both around ethics and professional liability.

    The content offered ways to allow therapists to maxiumize the medium of helping relationships on the internet. It looked at some of the differences in developing the therapeutic relationship or contracting and how to transfer the process of face to face counseling to fit with cyber counseling relationships.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering developing an online counseling practice as it covers everything to consider before getting started. It also goes into all the issues in a broad way followed by specifics to help mental health professionls be more effective, improve practice and be more responsive to client needs.

    It was great to read this progressive book which adds credibility to mental health professionals who practice online. It has helped online counseling move into the mainstream rather than being seen as less effective than face to face and experimental rather than a way of addressing client needs from a progressive, flexible and accessible perspective. Overall it is a great contribution to the mental health field.

    Book Publisher:

    Elsevier Academic Press

    525 B Street, Suite 1900

    San Diego, CA, USA, 92101-4495

    Published 2004

    Contact Publisher: Contact Elseview Academic Press

    If you are going through a tough time with separation, divorce, adoption, blended families, relationships or communication, e-mail counseling may be one resource for you. Online counseling is available on this site via e-mail with Patricia Roles who is a registered social worker with over 20 years counseling experience. This is an alternate way to get professional help and support over the internet without leaving your own home. It is less expensive than face-to-face counseling.

    Face-to-face counseling is also available for individuals and families living in the lower mainland of Vancouver through offices in Burnaby and Vancouver. The cost is $90 (Canadian funds) per hour. Phone: 604-375-9215.


    Internet and Face-to-face Counseling -
    4879 Hickory Court
    Burnaby, British Columbia
    V5G 4B1