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Anonymity Helps In Overcoming Inhibitions During Online Counseling

beginning there was a very intense form of contact," says Beer. This is due to the anonymity the Internet provides.

"Clients can envisage their therapist according to their own ideal," says Beer and the distance between client and practitioner makes it easier to discuss past experiences.

Psychologists behind the website Theratalk at the University of Goettingen have had a similar experience.

Theratalk went online in 1996, providing online counselling for couples, where the therapist and clients communicate in a secure chat room with a time lag.

"Patients often say they can speak freely because they cannot see the therapist," says Beer who heads Theratalk. This was particularly advantageous in dealing with sexual problems.

Another advantage of the chat room was that all questions and responses could be reread.

However, online counselling has its limits. A patient's mental health must be in stable condition and personality disorders cannot be treated online.

In addition, clients who are experiencing a mental crisis should speak to a counsellor face to face.

--Edited IANS
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