Dear Dr. Archer,
There's more to psychotherapy and psychiatry and psychological advice than simply taking someone's story off a computer screen and forming a response.
People try to help themselves using your website in the same manner that they try to diagnose themselves by using WebMD. Your understanding of these people is limited to reading the text they send you. I say it's not enough.
From one psychiatrist to another, this isn't right. It's great that you are able to offer "common sense guidance" and "medical expertise," but the Internet is not the place to do it.
You should know better, Doctor
Dr. Richard, M.D.
Dear Dr. Richard,
Have you looked to see where some of these letters to this website come from? Large and small cities from around the U.S., small rural towns, the Philippines, Italy, France, Venezuela, Greece, India, China, just to name a few. Do you think every one of these people has the access or money to see a doctor?
I stipulate that writers must be legal adults before I answer a question. I also state that they can tell me anything that is on their mind, ask a question, state a problem, even recommend a solution for others.
I stipulate that I cannot -- nor would I ever attempt to -- make a diagnosis over the Internet. But what I try my best to do is offer solutions and guidance to help each and every person who writes in.
I look at my life and consider myself blessed beyond belief. I have been given opportunities that have opened so many doors, and I am so very grateful. In order to give something back, I started this website.
I work on it for at least 2 to 3 hours every single day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. I receive no, zero, nada compensation for this. In fact it cost me money, a lot of money, to pay for all the things involved.
If you think my website is so bad and so inappropriate since I do not have face-to-face meetings with these folks, I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is.
Start opening your clinic to the public free of charge for a day a week. Spend hours with those who are troubled, need a second opinion, are devastated by their circumstances, and who are too financially strapped to afford a doctor. Will you do it?
I choose this platform because it's global; I reach folks all over the world and the vast majority want just a little advice, a bit of encouragement or some words of hope.
So, Dr. Richard, will you take my challenge? Do you realize how many people out there are hurting? Will you offer yourself, just because it's the right thing to do? Will you challenge your colleagues to do the same?
We have the capability of changing -- improving – the way mental health services are rendered. Not everyone needs to see a shrink, not everyone needs a full eval and not everyone can afford it, even if they need it.
Read some of the letters I have received if you haven't done so. See if you think that folks are not getting a little something from this. No, it’s not perfect, yes I can only go by what they tell me and yes, I realize its limitations. But, would you deny a person who is in need of help, a bit of free advice?
Frankly, Doctor, you should know better.