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Applying Technology to Online Counseling:
Suggestions for the Beginning E-Therapist
Russell K Elleven and Jeff Allen
This article brielly outlines online counseling for readers who may he interested in
delivering therapy via the internet The article should very much he tiunderstood to be
a beioner sprimnerbased upon rceIrch literaure and the personal ieconlTndations
of the authors. Readers will also becllit from several onlline resources for counselors
mentioned throughout the article.
In a just a few short years there has
has been a growing amount of discussion
and literature focused on onlinc counseling
(Laszo. Esterman, &, Zabko. 1999). This
type of counseling goes by namcs such as
therapy, counseling, cyhbertrrapy, and
telecounsclin. For this article ie will use
the telm online counseling to re fr tocounsel
ing which does not occur in an office setting
with both counselor and client in the same
room or office but across some distance
What was once termed as an allerna-
tive' to traditional therapy is now becoming
more commonplace and possibly reimcburs
able (Laszl, Esterman &. &,Zahko, 1999).
Compute ictechnology continues to rapidly
advance and allow for further innovations
with ithe mentaleahalth fields(Barak. 1999)
Many social workers and other therapists have
adopted the technology (Gitffords 1998) and
it may indeed be the case that counselors wiho
are slow to incorporate available technologies
are left bhindin an increasingly competitive
Russell K [.lleven. Ed.D. AsslstantProfes-
sor Deparitment of Technology and CognitionI
U university of Nonh Texas. He is licensed by ihe
state of Tcxas as a professional and chemical
dependency couselor Jell Alle, Ph .D. Asso-
iame Profcssor. Department o Technology and
Cognition. University of North Texas Much of
his past reir ch has iocused (I1 the cognitive
abilities of older wo rkers.
Correspondence concerning this article
sold be addrcsced to Russell K Elleven at
field (Grihol. 1998). Many believe there to
be fewer and fewer boundaries to collective
online counseling (Fenichel, et, a]. 2002).
To he effective. counselors should be
technologically well informed (Gale &
McKee, 2002) and be able to build a website
that is easily understood and naviated by the
client (linTes. Maddux & Phan. 1999). As
the genell populace contilinues to increase
its knowledge of technology, counselors
will he required to keep pace (Guttema &
Online counseling has also proven to
be a viable option or many clients (Cook &
Doyle. 2002) and sometimes allows clients a
dil femnt and stongcr voice (Shuler. 2002) In
addition, online counseling may allow better
access to multicultural counselors anlld allow
clients more therapeutic choices (Guanipa,
Nolte & Lizarraga, 2002).
In an eFron to inform counselors of the
potential ol oniine counseling we otter several
suggesions below. These suggestions and this
article short uld not be construed as sufficient
for a counselor to begin an online practice
tomorrow. The suggestions are merely meant
to pique the reader s interest and allow them
a place to start before beginning funher study
and reflection regarding the topic.
Besides technological tools and helpful
organizations found below, we also recomi
miendi inding someone to parncr within your
technological grow th. Much like a work out
partner your technology buddy will assist
Here’s what’s next.
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Elleven, Russell K. & Allen, Jeff M. Applying Technology to Online Counseling: Suggestions for the Beginning E-Therapist, article, 2004; [Mobile, Alabama]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31079/m1/1/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Information.