john herr psychologist los gatos saratoga california

On Sabbatical

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Internet Assisted Video Conference Therapy

Can therapists and clients meet in a video conference (tele-psychotherapy) instead of in the therapist's office?

I have been asked if therapy over the internet using video conferencing hardware a viable substitute for regular therapy.  My answer is "It certainly won't work for people who suffer from technophobiaha but for everyone else I don't think we'll know until we try."  I do know that the telephone won't work as the sole vehicle for communication because so much information is lost.  Only a small part of any communication  is contained in our words and tone of voice.  Tele-therapy is intriguing because now we can more closely create a situation of sharing the same room.  From a practical point of view, it would eliminate the driving time to and from appointments as well as the economic and and environmental impact of that drive.  Depending on the value of your time, the drive may cost you more than the hourly fee of  your therapist.  On the other hand, dedicating  yourself to the sessions regardless of time involved may turn out to be a more important factor than it is presently seen to be. There remain questions of quality of transmission; your being able to find a peaceful, private place for tele-therapy sessions; and problems with insuring your privacy over the internet.  Naturally, it would be a gamble because it could turn out to be a technical bust; even if we can work out the optics and electronics,  the flow of information and communication may not be adequate to establish the relationship so important for successful therapy.  It would probably be better to start with a client who has successfully completed a video conference, who isn't in a crisis, and who lives near enough to come to the office while I'm working the bugs out of my system.  

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[This page last edited on 06/22/07.]


On Sabbatical!

When my office lease expired at the end of 2004, I decided to turn it into a "sabbatical" from my private practice. Many years ago, in my grandfather's 89th year of life, he told me, "John, it is important to smell the roses while you can still smell them." His life gave living a very good reputation. It is also true that the pursuit of that philosophy required my grandfather to to re-open his assay office/ore market in Wickenburg, Arizona as a 75-year-old because he had run a little short of retirement money. Thus, if blessed with his luck and health, I'll be back.. --jjh

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