Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson

Abstract

The current survey of 83 e-therapy websites with marriage and family therapists examined what consumers seeking online therapy or therapy over the phone might find on the Internet. The study explored how e-therapy websites characterize their services and comply with the ethical guidelines of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Furthermore, differences in compliance with ethical guidelines among the three types of the websites (individual practice websites, group practice websites, and independent contractor websites) were analyzed. Results indicated that a majority of the websites lack information regarding several major areas (e.g., crisis resources, terms of service, procedures to treatment of minors, procedures to provision of therapy across borders). In support of previous findings, compliance to ethical guidelines was low and uneven. The websites focused mostly on positive aspects of e-therapy and in some cases, used suggestive or misleading language. When the three groups were compared, the independent contractor websites demonstrated statistically significantly higher compliance than the other two groups. This study points out several disturbing patterns and calls for clear e-therapy guidelines, which are currently lacking.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.098

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