Psycho-Babble Administration | about the operation of this site | Framed
This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | List of forums | Search | FAQ

Pros and cons

Posted by Fi on November 6, 2004, at 11:10:17

In reply to Stranger in a strange land, posted by annamaynot on November 5, 2004, at 7:34:28


1. Wonderful to have support from people who really know what its like, and are OK with messages about difficult topics we cant talk to friends/family about.

2.Its free. The process of payment would be a barrier that might well have put me off (also trusting untried moderator with identifying and financial details). Very generous of Dr Bob to give his time free, and pay for the server time.

3. Dr Bob provides a safe and focussed setting for us to use. Its moderated, continuosly and consistently. Which must be a huge ongoing commitment.

There is the quiz at the beginning which makes the 'rules' clear.

He has the forum for challenging/discussing the boundaries, and has it on a separate board which helps leave the other boards to focus on their remit. He keeps monitoring that board and being active as required (endlessly).

4. I use PSB; the board has a nice range of topics- some nitty gritty, others more chatty. It has enough members/posters to keep it active, rather than the feeling of posting into the void which is possible in much quieter boards.

5. There is no issue about where you are in the world, from Dr Bob or other posters.

6. I dont know what its like in other countries, but in UK it can be hard to see a health professional quickly, unless you are actually definitely suicidal (and even then, they dont take you particularly seriously if you dont actually have a history of self-harm).
Seeing the GP who knows me means a wait of about 10 days for an appointment.

So some support meantime helps. And fellow posters can be incredibly supportive, wise, and share very practical steps that they have found useful in their own situations. No hierachy- all in it together; no-one claiming extra expertise.

7. The actual site is well laid out and easy to use, which is quite an achievement given the complexity and interactivity. I had never used anything like this before- just email or surfing and reading pages. But after just one glitch, I got the hang of it.

8. Innovation and responsiveness to feedback (if he agrees!) eg adding other subject boards.

9.Email addresses not automatically displayed, as they are on some other interactive sites. Has put me off using another psychological support bulletin boards. There is a risk that someone could do some surfing from an email address and and easily find out who you are. For example, I post with my 'real' name on a work-related discussion list which has publically available archives.

Cons (more or less- some pros too) In no particular order:

1. You have to have internet access, and in a situation where its private (my last 2 jobs and local public library and cybercafe all have screens which others can read easily). There can also be time pressures (eg half hour limit at library)

2. Posts inevitability give little information to go on, so messages can sometimes (often?) be misunderstood. Not necessarily in a confrontational sense, but misunderstanding so get replies on a different issue from the 'real' one.

3. Anyone in the world with internet access can read all the posts. This could also be a pro, as it can give people a clear idea of what is available, if they are wondering about joining. But there are lots of nasty people out there too, which can be easy to forget within the (generally) supportive atmosphere on the Boards.

We do well on maintaining our confidentiality, tho- dont give enough info about ourselves to be identified.

4. Its unpredictable if you will get any reply; when, if it will be from someone who understands your message; if it will be helpful. When I am really in crisis, the uncertainty and delay limit the usefulness. But then its not the ONLY route we have- there are also crisis lines (eg the Samaritans),our health profs.

It can also be soul-destroying if you post your problem/issue of considerable concern to you, and get few or any replies and none of them actually supportive.

5. It can be really frustrating that we dont have access to Dr Bob's clinical expertise sometimes(apart from the bit of providing a forum). I appreciate the risk of this turning into an 'ask the doc' type thing, with endless questions about medication. And the inevitable projections on a doctor- whether saviour or villain (financially or drug co or whatever).

Having occasional experts is a very good idea, tho it comes into the ongoing process at the time. So the posts can be moved away from straightforward discussion on their area of expertise.

The pharmaceutical info is maybe the area where professional expertise would be most useful- there is factual info which a pharmacist/psychiatrist will know how to source and also understand the jargon.They can provide a plain language version.

This is different from sharing experiences, where there isnt such a factual knowledge base.

6. There are usually far too many posts for me personally to read them all. Can sometimes loose track of threads. And people; I'm not good at remembering who is who and their issues. Better to have too many than too few,tho.

7. Dont know what happens to people who stop posting. May be like me, when all that happened was I lost home internet access, or could be that someone had commited suicide.

8. It can be very worrying when someone's posts are clearly very distressed and then there is a gap. That anxiety about someone's health can be very draining, particularly when it goes on repeatedly from one or more people.There was one particular day I can remember being really worried all day about a poster whose last post was desperate. Not that we can actively intervene, but you care about them. That's one of the reasons I have taken a break sometimes- come back when I am having problems again.

Not particular pro or con:
Its a curious situation; sharing the most personal thoughts and feelings with complete strangers who may be half way round the world.

I've realised I have set myself the 'task' of giving a completely comprehensive list of features, which is getting to be v hard work!





Post a new follow-up

Your message only Include above post

Notify the administrators

They will then review this post with the posting guidelines in mind.

To contact them about something other than this post, please use this form instead.


Start a new thread

Google www
Search options and examples
[amazon] for

This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | FAQ
Psycho-Babble Administration | Framed

poster:Fi thread:410198