Reading between the Lines. An ethnographic field study on personalization in providing e-therapy

  • Joost Bruggeman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Care Ethics


E-therapy is an important and increasing care practice in mental healthcare. This article explores possibilities and shortcomings of personalization in providing e-therapy for patients suffering from Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF). The main question of this study is as follows: How do online therapists personalize their care to individual patients in providing e-therapy? To answer this question, an ethnographic field study was carried out on an online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for CRF. In doing so, the work practices of online therapists were observed, online correspondence was studied, interviews were conducted, and a meeting of online therapists was recorded and studied. This study resulted in a better understanding of the structure, as well as the possibilities and the limitations of personalization in text-based e-therapy. The results show that the online MBCT potentially provides attuned, and also bodily attentive, care. However, in dealing with difficulties like asynchrony and invisibility, therapists also face limitations of personalization in their practices. Especially when patients fail to provide self-disclosure, the therapist may have insufficient information to act adequately and to prevent patients from dropping out.
Date of Award1 Jan 2016
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorM. A. Visse (Supervisor), A. R. Niemeijer (Supervisor) & C. J. W. Leget (Supervisor)

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