skip to main content

The Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Therapy


Graduate School of Social Service Associate Professor Lauri Goldkind, Ph.D., recently published an article that details discoveries from social work practitioners performing virtual therapy.

The article, titled “‘That’s the Beauty of it’: Practitioners Describe the Affordances of Direct to Consumer Tele-Mental Health”, discusses the benefits and challenges of direct to consumer tele-mental health (DTCTMH) platforms. In addition, Goldkind offers suggestions for future research.

The piece was published on June 17, 2021, in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.

From the article’s abstract:

Tele-mental health, or the provision of remote counseling services, has been available for decades. This qualitative study uses the framework of affordances, derived from Gibson, to examine what social work practitioners working on direct to consumer tele-mental health (DTCTMH) platforms are discovering about the features, benefits, and constraints of virtual therapy. An interpretive phenomenological approach was employed to document the lived experiences of social workers who practice in this manner. According to the practitioners interviewed, for a subset of individuals seeking treatment, DTCTMH can offer meaningful interpersonal interaction that confers benefit. Key affordances include accessibility, anonymity, meaningful work, autonomy, lifelong learning, and access by new populations. Practitioners simultaneously acknowledge the ethical complexities and structural challenges of DTCTMH practice. The article concludes with suggestions for future research, policy, and practice.

Read the full article here.


Comments are closed.