What would be the usefulness of online couples therapy? Not a lot, I believe. In her article, "Seeking to Pre-empt Marital Strife" which appeared in The New York Times on 6/29/2010 ( http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/seeking-to-pre-empt-mari...), Tara Parker-Pope laments the finding that "only 19% of currently married couples have taken part in marriage counseling." This is a remarkably encouraging affirmation of couples treatment--I don't think that a fifth of the country has participated in mental health counseling! Secondly, she reports that a "recent study of two types of therapy found that only about half the couples reported long-lasting improvements in their marriages." Bravo for couples treatment, which actually exceeds the effectiveness of many other psychotherapeutic approaches.
These "negative" findings are then associated with the hopeful potential of online couples therapy, a possibility which leaves me feeling lukewarm at best, and concerned at worst. I do think that online indexes of relationship satisfaction can be informative, and provide fodder for useful couple exploration. But the quantification Pope reports from the Brigham Young University assessment called Relate, with its attendant graphs and percentages of effort, further endorses a current belief that relationships are mechanical, rather than organic entities. We are treating ourselves as machines in today's culture-expecting perfect multi-tasking efficiency--and now we are encouraged to treat our marriages the same way.