Why spend a fairly amount of money on a shrink year after year when the Net is giving it away for free? At Subtle Sabotage you just fill out some webform and then you get yourself a psychotherapy. Or not.
But this is not only a joke - there have been an amount of tests in using the computer as a therapist.
In a survey one find that somewhat 91% of the respondents could think of using a self-helping site online: 326 questionnaires were sent out and 113 (35%) responded, an average for postal surveys. It was found that:
27% did not want to go via their GP, 63% of these because they found this process 'bothersome'
34% wanted to access therapy via the internet
56% through a telephone interactive voice recognition (IVR) system
43% via CD-ROM on their home computer
23% via a computer at their GP's surgery
22% via a computer at their local community mental health resource centre
16% via a computer in a leisure centre, cafe or pharmacy
62% via a book.
Other methods of service delivery requested were: telephone support from a human therapist (2%); audiotape or CD (3%); video (2%); group therapy (1%); face-to-face therapy (3%); and interactive television (1%).
In an essay about Psychotherapy in Cyberspace they try to build a theory in the psychotherapeutic ways of dealing with the pros and cons of using the Net in this way: psychotherapy in cyberspace does not replace traditional models or theories. It can be considered an independent framework, a supplementary perspective. Clinicians may use it as a tool when extending their f2f work into cyberspace. What online channel might work best for psychoanalytic therapy, exposure therapy, or the Gestalt "empty chair" technique? Whether one conceptualizes a schizoid client as deficient in adequate social learning experiences, lacking sufficient object relations, or derailed from self-actualization, what online environment might be helpful to that client? The model also may be used as a framework for integrating ideas from other theories. If a psychodynamic clinician and a cognitive clinician discuss their teen male clients who love online fantasy games, they may discover some significant overlap in their concepts of psychopathology and psychotherapy.
Another study on self-help is concluding that: "A self-help system comprised of a computer-aided telephone system and a series of booklets was used successfully by people with mild-to-moderate depression. These preliminary results are encouraging for people who cannot otherwise access ongoing, in-person therapy."
Elsewhere there is several applications in the range of self-help: MAIW have worked out an interactive application in cognitive treatment.
And a lot of websites are offering help in any thinkable way: Mastering Stress who says it can Reduce Your Stress, Fear, Depression, Anxiety and Relationship Problems and on the site (with a lovely domain) Shrink-Me.com is offering psychoterapeutic help via e-mail.