It may seem counter-productive to provide recovery therapy online, since this is where many sex & porn addicts act out their addiction. Yet, the online setting can be used powerfully for good. What was once used to enslave us can be now used to set us free. In recovery we will need to create boundaries around our use of the internet and technology, learning how to use them appropriately. That being said, here are some significant benefits to online therapy:
- Accessibility – Finding a therapist who specializes in sexual addiction treatment is essential for effective treatment, yet not all areas in California have access to this kind of help. When services are online, anyone in the state can access them.
- Privacy – Your choice to pursue therapy will remain private. You won’t even need to leave your house and walk into an office. Also, all technology utilized in the Life After Lust online program is HIPAA compliant and safe for transmitting and storing confidential information.
- Confidentiality – Confidentiality is a requirement of all Life After Lust online groups.
- Convenience – You can access the group from anywhere in the state, from the comfort of your own home. When traveling in California, you can access groups when you’re out of town, improving consistency of care and connection.
- Cost – With online therapy, there is a reduction of lost work time and travel costs. Also, group therapy is significantly less expensive than individual therapy (a savings of over 50%).
- Effectiveness – Online therapy can work just as well as in person therapy if you have a skilled and experienced therapist who knows how to use the technology in an ethical and legal way (click here, here, and here for additional information).
Potential Risks of Online Therapy
When using information technology in therapy services, potential risks include, but are not limited to the therapist’s inability to make visual and olfactory observations of clinically or therapeutically potentially relevant issues such as: your physical condition including deformities, apparent height and weight, body type, gait and motor coordination, posture, work speed, any noteworthy mannerism or gestures, physical or medical conditions including bruises or injuries, basic grooming and hygiene including appropriateness of dress, eye contact (including any changes in the previously listed issues), sex, chronological and apparent age, ethnicity, facial and body language, and congruence of language and facial or bodily expression. Potential consequences thus include the therapist not being aware of what he or she would consider important information, that you may not recognize as significant to present verbally to the therapist.
As you can see, there are benefits and risks to online therapy. It is not for everyone and the proper fit will be assessed when you meet with Forest for your intake.
Guidelines for Online Group Participation
For those considering participating in the Life After Lust online groups, please note the following guidelines:
No driving during a teletherapy session
No drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking marijuana or taking drugs during a teletherapy session
No recording sessions without the therapist’s permission
You will need to verify your address or location at the start of each teletherapy session (in case of a suicide threat or crisis)
You will need to verify that you are in a confidential location at the start of each teletherapy session
You will need to verify that there are no other children or adults in the room with you during their teletherapy session (make sure nobody can overhear the session, using headphones if needed)
You must be located in California during the teletherapy session because the therapist may not provide therapy out of the state they are licensed in
You will need a strong internet connection (strong enough to stream Netflix, for example)
If attending a group, each person must commit to maintaining the confidentiality of others in your group
Be present in the online session. Do not multitask on your phone, computer, or other devices.
It is my hope that this information is helpful as you consider whether online therapy is right for you. Whatever you choose, I wish you success as you pursue personal and relational recovery and healing.