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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Mar01

By Kent Larsen Therapy Over the Web

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Two enterprising LDS counselors have hung up a shingle on the Internet, offering advice and counsel to LDS Church members underserved by Mormon counselors or unwilling to discuss their problems with their Bishops. Jay Steineckert and Julie Hanks established last year and are now attracting 100 clients a day to their service.

The pair offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to potential clients, and then charge $50 for a 45-minute phone session or $25 for a 30 minute session by e-mail. Their clients' situations vary widely, including everything from 16-year-olds with dating difficulties to marital difficulties to middle-age crisis.

The therapists believe that offering their service over the Internet and phone gives clients a better sense of confidentiality. "When [people] need help, they want to know they are not going to get bad advice from someone or that their core values will be threatened," says Steineckert. Hanks adds that having a counselor with an LDS advantage, since the counselor understands so many unspoken assumptions, "People can assume we are pro-marriage and pro-family. We know what a patriarchal blessing is. We understand the ramifications of a temple divorce," says Hanks.

Steineckert has worked as a therapist for more than 20 years in both public and private practice. He has a psychology degree from BYU and a masters in social work from the University of Utah. Hanks has the same degrees, both from the University of Utah, but she is a certified social worker with 11 years' experience.

Hanks is more familiar to many LDS Church members under her maiden name, Julie de Azevedo, as a musician who writes and performs for the LDS market. But while both Steineckert and Hanks are both musicians, they keep their music separate from their counseling, and their music is a taboo subject in counseling.

BYU psychology professor Bruce Carpenter says that delivering counselling over the phone and by email has its drawback. Facial expressions, body language and other cues are important information for counselors, and without them counselors end up closer to advice columnists. "Therapy is murch more than a glorified Dear Abby," says Carpenter. "Not everything she says is bad, but her advice is based on superficial information."

Steineckert agrees that the information they get over the phone and through email is limited, and says that they refer patients with deep-seated psychological problems to other therapists for traditional office visits as a result. And, Steineckert claims that they put a lot of thought into their responses. "For an effective, inexpensive and confidential way to get short-term therapy, you can't beat it."


Mormons Who Don't Want to Face Bishop Can Find Counseling Online
Salt Lake Tribune 17Mar01 I2
By Mark Eddington: Salt Lake Tribune


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