‘Grist to the mill’ A quantitative exploration of Ireland-based psychotherapists’ attitudes towards internet use and the potential impact on the therapeutic relationship

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Keogh, Daniel
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This research explored the attitudes of Ireland-based psychotherapists in relation to the therapeutic relationship and boundaries, their internet use, and discovery of personal information online by therapists and clients and the impact, if any, of this on the therapeutic relationship. A quantitative design was used encompassing an online survey and analysis was completed using SPSS. 879 responses were collected, all of whom are Ireland-based practicing psychotherapists in 2020. Findings indicate that the Ireland-based psychotherapists believe that boundaries are essential to the creation and maintenance of a strong therapeutic relationship which has the client feeling understood, seen and heard at its centre. The vast majority of participants believe that carefully managing the information about themselves that is available for public consumption is of vital importance. There was a high level of ambiguity across the responses to the questions and statements in this research in relation to the potential impact on the therapeutic relationship of discovery of personal information online by the therapist or client about the other. The significant amount of responses to this survey, as well as the high-level of engagement with the open-text questions, and the diverse variety within those responses all indicate that there exists an appetite within the psychotherapeutic community in Ireland for a discussion of this subject to begin in earnest.