Professionalism & the Psychological Internet

Just came across an old post to psyber-L 1997

Still this was a time I orientated to the online world, and it still seems relevant in many ways.

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Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 12:30:37 GMT
Reply-To: Psybernet Mailing List
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From: Walter Logeman
Subject: Professionalism & the Psychological Internet
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“Internet is a form of social and psychological therapy”

If this link is still live it will take you to an article by
Douglas Rushkoff

http://nytsyn.com/live/Latest_columns/169_061897_164207_24078.html

Where he says this:

> Sites like “Cyber Counseling Interactive Network” offer the
> services of licensed therapists for about the same rate as live
> striptease sites – about $2 or $3 per minute. I doubt that they
> are any more curative.
>
> These therapists claim they can tell almost as much about a
> patient from his words as they could from being with him in
> person.
>
> Frankly, I think that claim is hard to back up.
>
> The Internet itself is a form of social and psychological
> therapy. Unless you live in the Antarctic, to seek professional
> counseling online is both avoidant and redundant.
>
> (See more Douglas Rushkoff columns at
>
> http://nytsyn.com/Rushkoff

At a point where I am more actively involved in this type of
work, his comments offer a good starting point to put forward my
ethos:

“The Internet itself is a form of social and psychological
therapy.” This is a useful insight, and makes DK’s article worth
responding to. I fully agree with him on this. It is a social
and psychological milieu such as we have never known. How is
this? See my notes on Psyberspace at
http://www.psybernet.co.nz/ps.htm and on Intimacy on the internet
at http://www.psybernet.co.nz/WRITING/ps12.htm

Douglas Rushkoff sense of the “inherent” psychological value of
people gathering and writing in virtual communities allows him
the insight that the medium is not a good place to which to
transpose the “fix it” style of therapy from the consulting room.

Quietly over these years, I think Psybernet and others like us in
many ways have moved away from the “curative” — the Internet
has the power to take the psychological out of the realm of
medicine. We do soul or work with the psyche that rarely
mentions any form of illness or cure — or even problem solving.

Nor is this work “hard to back up” — this sort of appeal to
research does not work well in any form of therapy, but least of
all when we go beyond medicine, into the realm of the psyche,
into the realm of art, poetry. Psybernet work itself is
research, experimental, explorative, with the results known
experientially and uniquely, psybernet work could not be tested
in the way he thinks.

Douglas Rushkoff in a later article, on `Societal Anxiety’ and
the Internet :

http://nytsyn.com/live/Week/177_062697_162213_12407.html

Sees and applauds the social and global psychological aspects of
the net, going as far as

> Psychologists will be called upon to address these reactions to
> impending world culture.

> Sometimes this will mean teaching people how to create intentional
> barriers to unwanted social intimacy, such as rituals and techniques
> for achieving privacy. People should be given the tools they need to
> maintain their sense of safety without falling into cultish behavior
> or self-imposed exile.

> Psychologists will need to develop an entirely new set of cognitive
> tools.

> In what we might call the meta-psychology of society, dream analysis
> of individuals will become media analysis of the collective. TV, films
> and online games will be understood as a group dreamspace, worthy of
> our attention.

For all our difficulties here (in Psybernet) we are deeply
immersed in this work. We know a lot about it!

~~~

Is “professional counseling online is both avoidant and
redundant.”?

Not because the group & global work is so enthralling. In its
own way the one-on-one work in cyberspace will forge new paths.
I think it is important that we acknowledge & understand and use
the inherent psychological power of the net. It requires people
who have an online life, and who do mot simply type out the
counselling they use f2f. This is a different *space* with a
different *time*. Projection, transference counter transference,
and the use of language are altered. The temenos is altered.
More than altered. A white water river is not a water coming out
of a tap, *altered*.

I think there is value to be had in this work, that is not
avoidant — the opposite is true, and not redundant hence I am
still pleased to offer “Personal Explorations”
http://www.psybernet.co.nz/p_e.htm as a form of professional one
-to-one work. I have copied and slightly altered the files from
the old site to the new. I have done this for several years,
however I think its time has come, I think that as a result of
experience with this sort of work, and also as a result of
peoples experience on the net, we can expect a more development
in this field.

Walter

_____________________________________________________
Walter Logeman walter@psybernet.co.nz
www.psybernet.co.nz ICQ: 196356

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