Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Web Secret #80: BreakThrough

It may come as a surprise, but not so long ago - in 2008 to be exact - I was not a fan of online counseling. To be precise, the thought of online counseling filled me with visceral horror.

Then, at the 2008 World EAP (Employee Assistance Professionals) Conference, a presenter revealed that in India, 70% of all EAP counseling is delivered online. Because I have an aversion to being provincial, I decided to open my mind. And I learned that there are all kinds of reasons to embrace this new frontier which includes e-mail, chat, and video methods of service delivery.

Of course, it's not for everyone, nor is it suitable for every diagnosis. But consider this:
  • What if there is a pandemic and you have to stay home to avoid contagion?
  • What if you live 200 miles from the nearest clinician?
  • What if you have young children and no child care?
  • What if you have no transportation?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions (and many other similar ones) - online counseling may be a solution for you.

And what about you, the provider? Maybe you want to access a new pool of clients. Maybe you want to reduce your overhead. Maybe you want to relocate to a more remote area, yet still stay in contact with your existing clients. Online counseling may be the answer for you.

But where to start?

The yellow brick road for you and your clients may well be BreakThrough is an online counseling delivery platform that helps you with every aspect of accessing or delivering online counseling - from technical logistics to legal ramifications, from fee processing to ethical implications.

In September of 2009, the BreakThrough concept was presented at TechCrunch50, a major conference for new online ventures. BreakThrough CEO Mark Goldenson does a better job than I could explaining the concept, so click here to watch his 15 minute presentation.

Ten years ago, how did you feel about online banking? Buying stuff on Booking your trip on Travelocity?

Trust me, ten years from now, when we are all videochatting on wafer thin tablets, online counseling will just be another mainstream treatment modality.

1 comment:

  1. Marina, thank you for the kind words about Breakthrough. We share your excitement about the potential of online counseling.

    One big attraction I would add is the confidentiality and anonymity that online counseling allows. Stigma prevents a lot of people from trying counseling, especially populations like students and military. Now they can get help without having to explain why they are leaving home or work or risk being seen in a waiting room. The same is true for groups like Alcoholics Anonymous - people report it is less intimidating and more convenient to get support through these groups online.

    If any of your readers have questions, I am happy to reply at Thanks for mentioning us!

    Mark Goldenson
    CEO, Breakthrough