On-line professionals


Authors
Steve Matthews
Australian Catholic University
Abstract
Psychotherapy and counselling services are now available on-line, and expanding rapidly. Yet there appears almost no ethical analysis of this on-line mode of delivery of such professional services. In this paper I present such an analysis by considering the limitations on-line contact imposes on the nature of the professional–client relationship. The analysis proceeds via the contrast between the face-to-face case and the on-line case. At the core of the problem must be the recognition that on-line interaction imposes a physical barrier largely permitting only those disclosures of self we choose to make available, and greatly restricting the range of involuntary features and behaviours. I show why this is problematic, first, for the development of a close professional–client relationship, with particular emphasis on such failures as diagnosis and monitoring of the patient. Second I describe the importance of the development of professional character, and of how the on-line environment fails to provide a context for such character traits to emerge and develop.
Keywords Computer Science   Ethics   User Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction   Management of Computing and Information Systems   Library Science   Technology Management
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-005-8350-1
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
Friendship and the Self.Dean Cocking & Jeanette Kennett - 1998 - Ethics 108 (3):502-527.

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