Online Therapy FAQs

Joan Lachkar's Creative OnLine Psychotherapy

What is Online Therapy?

Online Individual/Marital Therapy is an experience that occurs between two or three people: The individual and the therapist or the couple and the therapist. It is an interactive process with Joan Lachkar, PhD., author, supervisor, lecturer and international scholar - by means of e-mail correspondence. As soon as you complete an initial evaluation, our work begins. You will receive an e-mail response within 48 hours and we will then schedule an appointment with you (and/or your partner).

What does Online Therapy have to offer? Internet users find this approach to be efficient, short term, direct and highly focused. It is time, energy and cost efficient, and the services are available to people throughout the country. It offers a level of privacy and anonymity within the comfort of your own home. It acts as a healthy transitional space for those too shy, inhibited or embarrassed to approach a therapist in person. The email records are for your personal use and can be referenced at any time, a way of documentation in the form of a personal journal with the help of a trained mental health professional. Online therapy offers the opportunity to work through defense mechanisms making it easier to identify and understand the basic issues (defense mechanisms attack the ego and destroy capacity for reality testing, judgment, perception, etc.).

Why does Online Therapy work? Through Online Therapy you will find out that your issues and problems are not unique. We are all dominated by universal needs and when these needs are not met, certain defense mechanisms become the replacement (avoidance, denial, shame, blame). Professional therapists are trained to diminish these defenses in order to bring to the surface real needs and feelings. Being online, oddly enough, encourages all parties involved to remain focused, to the point, and there is less chance of diverting off the track.  You will be surprised at how enlightening and efficient this process is.

The process of completing an online questionnaire is similar to journalizing except you'll be receiving insightful feedback and suggestions from Joan Lachkar, Ph.D.. This may require one or two follow-up questions to complete the assessment. After that, you will be provided with feedback and any recommendations she believes are appropriate. People who work this way find online therapy gets quickly to the point with a clear focus. At the end of your session(s), you will receive a brief summary of what your issues are so that if you decide to continue with further treatment in the area in which you live or work, you can show this to your current therapist. Therapists find it is extremely helpful in identifying and clarifying the problem and how to face and stay in continual contact with the “real” issues and not the defenses that get in the way (see “The “V”-Spot,” book by Joan Lachkar, Ph.D.).

What are the advantages of Online Therapy? Most people feel the biggest advantage of online therapy is that they can take as much time as they need to think out exactly what information they want to present. You can compose your thoughts when and where you want to. Most people find that being alone without distractions allows them to really get to the heart of their issues. Also, if you choose e-mail interaction, you'll have printable documents from your sessions, which you can review whenever you like. Another advantage is that you don't have to schedule appointments if your interactions are simply by e-mail. (Telephone sessions require scheduling.) You go at your own pace and take all the time you need to work through things whenever you want to. Like other people who have received counseling online, you'll find that writing about your concerns and then reading the individualized responses to you is an incredibly fast, productive, and enlightening process.

Why Ask Dr. Joan? This process differs from other approaches in that a psychotherapeutic/psychodynamic method offers a more in-depth approach than counseling or coaching, and goes beyond surface issues.. For example, people may think their issues are about money, sex, custody, material objects, but the real concerns are about shame/ blame, envy, guilt, jealousy, betrayal, abandonment, entitlement, domination and control.

How does online counseling work with a partner? Each partner has an opportunity via email to express their view regarding the issues in the relationship. The therapist then will respond and give feedback to both partners. Confidentiality in conjoint therapy is waived and it is up to the discretion of the therapist what is to be shared. If additional time is needed, telephone sessions can be arranged to accommodate your special needs.

Joan Lachkar has Expertise in the Treatment of Cross-Cultural Relations (Applicable for Individual, Corporations, Group, Nations see Psychohistory). In a society that is becoming more and more diverse, our offices are beginning to resemble a mini-United Nations. What dependency, shame, guilt, envy, jealousy, needs mean in one culture take on an entirely different face in another. In the West we are dominated by needs of the individual, in other societies by needs of the group. So it is a “me-me”/”I” society vs. a “we”/”group” society. Joan Lachkar's specific areas encompass the Middle East and Asia as well as Hispanic and interracial couples. Joan Lachkar also treats homosexual couples, but does not view their dynamics as different from heterosexual couples. 

Who can benefit from Online Therapy? Psychotherapeutic tools offer valuable insights and guidelines that venture beyond individual and couple therapy. Cross Cultural Couples Homosexual Individuals/Couples, Divorce/Mediation Groups, partnerships, families, siblings, institutions, nations (consultation with international scholars)

When is Online Counseling not recommended? Online Counseling is not appropriate: When someone is thinking of hurting himself or herself, committing suicide, or thinking of hurting someone else. When physical danger or in danger of being physically or sexually abused. When there is actual or suspected physical or emotional abuse of a child. When someone is physically or severely emotionally abusive and continually abuses or sabotages the treatment (let alone the relationship). When someone is addicted to substance/alcohol abuse, or any self destructive methods.

The above circumstances are more appropriately handled by a crisis hotline, going to a hospital emergency room, or by calling 911.

National Suicide Hotline 1 800 784-2433;

American Suicide Foundation 1 800 531-4477;

Crisis Help line (for any kind of crisis) 1 800 233-4357

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1 800 799-7233

Youth Crisis Hotline 1 800 448-4663

Child Abuse Hotline 1 800 540-4000

The Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute Tel: (858) 623-2777 ext. 445; Fax: (858) 646-0761.

In crisis situations, fees would be refunded.

Online counseling is not appropriate if you are under 18 years old or in a special situations that Joan Lachkar identifies that may make you unsuitable for email psychotherapy.

BOOKS OVERVIEW

Dr. Lachkar is the author of numerous published books and articles including The Narcissistic / Borderline Couple, How to talk to a Narcissist, How to Talk to a Borderline, Courts Beware of the Borderline, and Common Complaints that Bring Couples into Therapy. For more, visit our Books section for more details and to order.