Is online marriage therapy a good idea?

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- If you have never taken a moment to think how much we can do online today, here is a refresher: buy a car, find a date, and even make a video that goes viral. And now, get help with your marriage.

"We'll I've been using online therapy for a number of years with couples in my own practice," said Van Metaxas, a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Francisco.

Metaxas offers Skype an option for couples he counsels.

"It makes it easier to get couples therapy cause you can do it from wherever you are, saying you're in New York, and your partner is traveling, it makes it easier that way," he said.

He says it is convenient to meet his patients when he is out of the office as well, and they do not have to worry about being seen in a waiting room or others finding out they are getting therapy.

Those are some of the reasons Dorit Atar in Minneapolis wants people to come to her over Skype, too. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist who wants to reach out to people in rural areas or who cannot drive to the Twin Cities.

She has not yet counseled a couple online but wants to do so.

"That gives you the comfort of seeking the therapist in the comfort of your home or if you're traveling, wherever you are," she added.

Easy as it may sound, there are some things to be aware of. Mainly, what you may miss.

"We actually have a very good marriage and family therapy community here," said Margo Hecker, who is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Altoona.

Hecker says Wisconsin colleges have turned out history-making marriage therapists. She measures progress not necessarily by words, but body language, what you may not see over Skype.

"Their feet are pointing toward each other and sitting closer to each other," Hecker said.

Even Metaxas has encountered problems of his own when Skype connections suddenly get cut. That makes an already emotionally fragile situation more difficult.

He says it is a decision that has to be weighed carefully. What may work for some, may not work for others.

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