One of the attractions of the internet is the anonymity of the user. This spells DANGER: D-A-N-G-E-R in any language. You may think you know who your are communicating with based on a profile on a social site, or ‘feelings’ you get chatting with someone in one of the many chat rooms. Wikepedia defines ‘online predator’ as an internet user who exploits vulnerable people, usually for sexual or financial purposes. Many incidents of online victimization goes unreported because of fear or embarrassment. Legitimate therapists, and other wellness practitioners, continue to grow in numbers offering various services, but, professional directories are becoming polluted with online predators. While writing this I Googled ‘online therapy’; over 100 million sites came up. Most membership-type sites are indicating that they are checking credentials in order to be listed in their directory. This is not enough. I worked at an agency with a man that had the credentials necessary to do the work we were doing with patients. Unfortunately, he had no scruples, was unethical, and an embarrassment to our profession; it was unsafe for any woman to be around him, let alone someone so vulnerable as the folks we worked with. When he was ‘let go’ from this agency, he simply went to another agency and was hired. Seems our agency did not report his ethical violation to the Board. This person could have easily, set up a website because his credentials would still appear to have been valid when checked. However, if reference checks were actually properly made, his history would eventually be uncovered. In this case, this man’s credentials were pulled because of several individuals in the profession reporting him. But, see how he slipped through the cracks of a large agency?! I think the work being done by Online Wellness Association is on the cutting edge of making the internet safe to access counseling services. There are many good reasons for people to access services online rather then in person, and it is important to make the choice of a therapist safe. My own practice is seeing an increase in the number of clients requesting online services. Because this is such a new area, and because most of the research and articles written on predators are about children, I would like to write an article about incidents of therapeutic online predators. Since these incidents are not reported, I think it is necessary for those that have experienced being violated by a purported ‘professional’, to have a forum to heal. The first step to healing is to start talking about what happen. Do you have a story to share? I want to hear what happened to you. You can either submit it anonymously, or with contact information for me to follow-up with you.My name is MAx Fabry. You can access my bio at www.lifestylechangescounseling.com. I am a member in good standing of Online Wellness Association (click the seal on my page for verification. Please submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. In exchange, I would be willing to offer three free sessions to give you skills to move on.
Most of OWA members are in the helping profession. As a general rule, most therapists are not necessarily right brain/left brain people. In order to have a successful business, we need to utilize both halves of our brain. I have just come across a book I absolutely need to share with all of you that is logical, easy reading, and a ‘how-to’ help our practices be successful: ‘What Can a Dentist Teach You about Business, Life, and Success: Discover Secrets to Achieving Total Success’ by Dr. Joe Capista. Here is a motivating line from Chapter 8: ‘If you are in a position of a professional or you have the type of job where you can make a good living, you should be making money. In fact, you have an obligation to yourself and your family to make money. If you are performing in your job to the fullest extent or with the greatest skills it could be done, you will make money.’ There you have it. Are you making money in your practice yet. While OWA offers you a credible base to build your practice online, Joe shares with you ‘five basic skills needed in order to be successful: (1) Become an Expert/Have a Great Product and/or Service; (2) Develop Sales and Marketing Skills; (3) Get Help from Experts (Mentors); (4) Control Your Thoughts; (5) Create Balance in Your life’ In this book Joe outlines for you ways of achieving each of these five basic skills needed for YOUR success. This book really appealed to both my right brain/left brain thinking connecting my logical self with my business self; my business with my spiritual. The book is the yin and yang of a successful private practice. All of us can use some guidance in bettering our business senses. I recommend this book as you are developing, and/or re-evaluating, your business plan. Go to http://www.joecapista.com/amazon.htm to learn more.