Professional Counselor

Online Therapy...Naked? Heading To 2012 SXSW Fully Clothed

SXSW Interactive 2012

South By Southwest Festival is legendary in the music, film, and technology worlds. I've always wanted to go, but this year I'm actually going to make the trek to Austin, TX to present on an interactive health panel! PsychCentral's CEO and founder Dr. John Grohol, a pioneer in online counseling, invited me to participate on a panel called "Online Therapy...Naked?"

Yes, you read that right...n a k e d. An unlicensed NY woman (with a BS in Psychology) and founder of "Naked Therapy" who claims to be providing "therapy" online to "patients" while getting naked (and aroused) will be on the panel. Also, weighing in on the discussion will be LICENSED professional counselor Audrey Jung, LPC who provides legitimate online counseling services.

Our discussion kicks off the SXSW interactive health track on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Here's the panel description from the official SXSW site:

Professionals have been offering psychotherapy online since 1995. While the earlier services focused on offering therapy through email, this has changed in recent years. With the popularity of video conferencing, it was inevitable that someone would invent a form of therapy called "naked therapy."

This intriguing panel will discuss how Internet and mobile technologies enable therapeutic interactions between professionals and individuals. Experts will discuss e-therapy, how it's changed over the years, and how technology is disrupting traditional professional relationships -- enabling therapeutic modalities not possible a decade ago... Even the possibility of "naked therapy." It should make for an interesting, heated discussion between practitioners of traditional forms of online therapy and the founder of  "naked therapy."

So, why was I invited to be on this panel? 

While I do use online therapy as an adjunct to face-to-face clients (always fully clothed) I primarily use the web for mental health education and promotion through Ask The Therapist Q & A's, blogging on, , and through social media channels Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and others. In addition to giving a social media and mental health perspective, I'll also be commenting as a working, credentialed clinician for 17 years on the idea of a "new kind" of therapy "Naked Therapy." Frankly, it doesn't sound new at all. It sounds like a lot like one of the world's oldest professions.

Follow My SXSW Tweets

I'll be tweeting SXSW updates throughout the weekend through Twitter @Julie_Hanks. Also follow Twitter hashtags #SXSWH (for tech & health topics) & #NakedTX for interesting info on this specific panel. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts on online therapy issues, "naked therapy", or mental health & social media topics.

If you're a going to SXSW Interactive check out the great health track presentations here.

Curious to know what you licensed therapists think of someone using the word "therapist" in their business when they have no training or supervision in talk therapy?

A Day In The Life: Meet Professional Counselor Stephanie Adams

I've never actually met Stephanie Adams, LPC  face to face, but I like her a lot. I've connected with her on Twitter, exchanged emails, and visited her website so I feel confident that I can say that she's a "go getter" and like me, Stephanie loves to reach out to clients and professionals through technology.

She founded Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, a boutique E-Therapy practice based in College Station, TX, where she uses video conferencing, email, phone and real-time chat to meet with clients and coach beginning counselors. She's co-authoring a book "The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide" aimed at supporting new therapists in building their practice.

A Day In The Life

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Wake up and make coffee. Spend time with my husband before he leaves for medical school.


Check email and plan out the day.


Consult via email with representative from online therapy platform I will soon be working with. I had a question about the nature of their existing informed consent documents. Since they obtain contact information for emergencies and provide a detailed informed consent statement on the nature of online therapy, I decide I do not need to add my own informed consent forms when I work with clients on their site.


Attempt to resolve issues with a recent product I’ve listed on clickbank, called the Premarital Power Seminar. A representative from the site tells me my product cannot be approved unless the target URL shows my domain name, Since my website was originally a free site before I upgraded to hosting, it still shows an old URL using the free domain name. Email my website support to ask for help changing it.


Send email to affiliate who is planning on representing my product and update her on the progress…or lack therof.

9:45-10:30 AM

Shower and get ready for the day!


Return client email.


Submit interior material for my upcoming book, The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide and check for errors. Find 5 formatting errors, correct 4 and email co-author Dr. Carol Doss about getting a high-resolution photograph for her author bio for the last error resolution. Try to figure out whether I have a high-resolution photograph for my own picture! Decide to shelve that problem for late. Check pre-order form on my web store to see if it will allow a person to order the book successfully, as I am announcing the pre-order at the free webinar I am giving later tonight.


Consult with private practice mentor on recent claim payment received. Can it really pay so little?

12:30 PM

Return new client consultation email that just came in regarding carinig for an ADHD child. Inform client that while I cannot treat a child client over online therapy, I do have experience working with ADHD children and would be happy to provide her with consultation and behavioral strategies to help her work successfully with her child.

12:35 PM

Inform another new client via email that since she is of legal age, I cannot call her mother to ask about her insurance information, as it would be a breach of privacy. Provide form to be e-signed by client to allow me to call client’s insurance company about mental health benefits.


Finalize time for phone conference tomorrow morning with a different potential new online counseling platform. Jot down notes: Will this site allow me to restrict clients to only clients in Texas, where I am licensed? Will it be a concern for this site’s owner if I provide services through more than one platform?


Attend free webinar from TeleMental Health Institute, “How To Build A Thriving Mental Health Practice From Your Home.” During the presentation, write answers for the pre-submitted questions for my webinar and make last-minute changes to the Powerpoint presentation I have created. Update my business accounts, typing in and filing receipts and client payments for the appointments I’ve had this week.


Return voicemail from local student applying to counseling master’s programs. Set up a time to meet with her after Thanksgiving week, and invite her to tonight’s webinar.

3-4 PM

Rehearse for presentation of my first webinar tonight, “Developing Your Counselor Mission: The One Idea That Changes Everything.”


Assure several recipients of my webinar invitation that if they cannot attend the seminar tonight, the recording will be emailed to them.


Tell my husband I’m nervous about giving the webinar. He reassures me that I will do fine.


Discuss Thanksgiving travel plans with my husband.


Receive new subscriber to email list for Beginning Counselors. Yay!


Open AnyMeeting and “start” the webinar before anyone gets there so I can play with sound and turn off the webcam – not having a good enough hair day for that. Discover to my horror that if I am to share my Powerpoint presentation with attendees, I will not be able to see their chat box, because as I have a Mac I can only share my entire screen. They will be able to see the chat box, but I can’t. Scramble through potential options to correct this situation, including turning on my husband’s old desktop (does not have a working microphone) and playing the Powerpoint from within program itself. It doesn’t look as good outside of presentation mode, so finally decide to bite the bullet, and share the situation with participants signing in. Let them know that when Powerpoint poses a question I want them to answer, I will have to minimize the program in order to see their answers.


Give webinar. I enjoy getting to talk to new counselors and get excited about the topic all over again.


Sign off from webinar. Share with my husband that it was a success. Make a to-do list for tomorrow: Meeting with owner of online counseling site. Research licensure laws to see if any other states will allow me provisional licensure to practice online in their jurisdiction. Finish homemade baby blankets for family baby shower over Thanksgiving break. Confirm appointments for the next Monday and Tuesday before we leave for home.


Call my mom.



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