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The E-Couch Awaits

Online therapy gaining in popularity

More than 500 psychologists, social workers and other counselors now offer e-therapy, reports this article from USA TODAY. Only six therapists were offering online services just five years ago, according to the story.

"The field has just exploded," says Martha Ainsworth, a consumer advocate who evaluates online therapists.

Benefits of e-therapy include lower costs, faster therapy because people are willing to disclose more when they feel anonymous, and therapy that can fit easily into a hectic schedule. E-therapy might also benefit those who won't seek traditional therapy because of embarrassment.

But online therapy isn't without its problems. Because therapists can't see or hear their patients, it's more difficult to know if they're telling the truth. Also, patients may underestimate the severity of their problems and won't disclose important information.

People are turning to the Internet for all kinds of support. This HealthDay article details how people are turning to online support groups for weight loss.

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