Values: Few things can undermine a successful therapy session more than challenging religious or cultural beliefs. It is imperative that the therapist understand that to be of assistance, professionalism requires that he/she must strive to understand the client’s religious and cultural orientation free and clear of discrimination. In the event of a conflict, referral to another therapist may be the only solution.
Confidentiality: It is well known that essential to the therapeutic relationship is the trust which is contingent on the therapist never compromising the client’s confidence. This includes information requests friends and family. Often the client feels there is no one to trust but the therapist, which increases the therapist’s obligation to keep a tight lip.
- Boundaries: For many online mental health therapists, the most challenging challenge lay in the area of establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries. Often the lines of empathy are eroded as the therapist becomes the client’s friend. While this may seem to be the kind and generous thing to do, it invariably hampers if not destroys the relationship.
But at the end of the day, perhaps the biggest hurdle for online mental health therapists is being subjected to the client’s emotional pain. Effective mental health counseling requires helping the client to navigate through painful emotions. But therapists also know that “no pain no gain” and therefore must empower the client with the courage needed to endure the pain.