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Monday, March 8, 2010

Not like finding a plumber: e-therapists through Liquic

John Khoury's story:
Vera was a middle-aged mother in Holland, with an alcohol problem. Things got to a point where she needed to see someone. Here in Holland, you first see a General Practitioner, and then they send you to a specialist. She'd seen a couple of psychiatrists, but didn't have good experiences with them, and never really got to the question of why she was drinking. Instead, they'd said she just had to stop, in order to have therapy.

That wasn't going to work. It wasn't the right match; it wasn't a good therapist for her.

She found a website of a community forum of people with alcohol problems. In that kind of forum, things can open up a bit. She reached out to an Internet therapist who was specializing in the treatment of alcohol abuse. That clicked very quickly with her; it was a very different experience.

She appreciated the online contact with him. He gave her tips, and homework. He didn’t insist on abstinence right away. She appreciated that. He would teach her to postpone her drinking. For example, he'd say, Take the dog out for a walk, and then see how you feel 20 minutes later.

She hasn't completely stopped drinking, but it's not a problem for her anymore.

Vera preferred that to face-to-face therapy because of lack of time constraints. In face to face therapy, you get off on a tangent and then time runs out, and you never get to what you really had in your head to talk about, that you sort of lost track of in the moment.

With e-therapy and emails, if a thought is in her head, she writes it down and sends it off to a therapist.

She said "it saved my life," that it has been the thing that made a real difference in her life. Things are smoother with her family, and she has started painting. A positive effect in your life affects the people around you: her husband has stopped drinking so much. There's no going back. It's like in mental health in general: once you feel good, with your head straight on your shoulders, you know how that feels. Then you can repeat that same feeling of mental health.

Since then, Vera wrote a book under a pseudonym in community with these other people. People get friends for life, like in Vietnam Veterans groups. They meet occasionally face to face with each other, and with the therapist. That's a big step.

John’s Advice:
To make the best use of e-therapy, just get started. Everybody's experience is a little bit different. Finding a good therapist is the first step. My website, Liquic, is designed to do that, to provide the best access for people, and allow room for the best choice. You can't just go to the Yellow Pages, like you would for a plumber. You might have to go through a couple of therapists first to get a really good match. At the end of the day it has to fit your profile. A good fit for one person isn't a good fit for another person; that's the conundrum. The key is to find someone who matches up with your needs.

Read another alcohol treatment story. Thanks to John Khoury for the recent interview.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so facsinating. I can see how e-therapy would be a great alternative to so many...for example, stay-at-home parents with limited time out of the house, people in rural communities where mental health care isn't readily available, even people with odd shift hours like nurses who work nights into mornings.