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Seen At 11: Online Couples Counseling

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With love on the rocks, more and more spouses are turning to the web for counseling.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, couples are seeking help from real-live therapists, doing the session all on the Internet.

Gregory Hiss and Laura Jansen said their marriage was so tense, even simple tasks like unloading the dishwasher could spark a major fight.

“We found ourselves bickering in front of our son,” Hiss said.

“None of it was important, but it seemed to be happening all the time,” said Jansen.

When a marriage hits a rough patch, the usual advice is for couples to seek counseling. But that is not always easy for everyone.

“There is a lot of resistance. People are tired, they don’t want to spend the money,” said Dr. Jane Geer, a marriage and family therapist.

But now, couples don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own home to get help.

“The world of therapy has been transforming. Therapy is available online, through Skype, on the phone, the Internet,” Greer said.

Websites such as Ourrelationship.com use a series of skits (animations) and interactive tools to understand each other better.

Psychologist Brian Doss is one of the site’s creators.

“Once you know what’s going on in your relationship, once you really have an understanding of it, usually people can kind of figure it out on their own,” Doss said.

Ourrelationship.com and other sites such as Couples Therapy Inc. and Power of Two Online also offer help from live counselors through real-time chatting and Skyping.

Hiss and Jansen said their online counseling helped them recognize when they were in a negative pattern, what the program calls a “tornado argument.”

“We’ll be like, ‘OK, wait a minute, this is just a tornado, let’s walk away,'” Hiss said.

But while online counseling may help couples recognize some of their issues, marriage therapist Greer said it can have its limitations.

“There are other dynamics that two people have which have to do with the present, but also who they were, and what they experienced in their families. So there are a number of layers that need to be addressed,” Greer said.

Costs for online therapy vary. Some are free, while others have a subscription fee starting at $20.

The American Psychological Association issued guidelines for choosing the right professional.

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