Ongoing E-Mail Consultations

-- March 14, 2015 --

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Would You Like to Chat With Dr. Sterling Right Now?

If you have not yet purchased a service from Dr. Sterling and you would like to chat with him briefly by telephone to talk about his services, please feel free to call him at 206-784-7842.

Have You Already Purchased at Least One Service From Dr. Sterling?

  • Ongoing E-Mail Counseling cannot be purchased unless you have already purchased at least one E-Mail or Telephone Service from Dr. Sterling. To purchase an initial service please go to one of the following pages:  E-Mail Order Page or Telephone Counseling Order Page.

  • The purpose of first purchasing at least one initial service from Dr. Sterling is so that you and he can at least briefly discuss how Ongoing E-Mail Counseling might fit into your life.

  • Since Ongoing E-Mail Counseling is a more personal form of interaction, Dr. Sterling must pay attention to traditional professional and ethical considerations relating to doctor-patient relationships, such as establishing a comprehensive medical record.

  • There are two additional requirements necessary for entering into Ongoing E-Mail Counseling with Dr. Sterling:

    1. Dr. Sterling needs to obtain the same type of medical information he would normally ask you for if he was consulting with you at his office. There are three options for providing such information to Dr. Sterling:

      1. Send an e-mail to Dr. Sterling which contains information similar to what is asked for on the Client Registration Form; or

      2. Send an e-mail to Dr. Sterling which contains the actual Client Registration Form (instructions for copying, pasting, completing, and e-mailing the Form can be found at our Registration Instructions page); or

      3. Purchase a Short Telephone Consultation from Dr. Sterling in which he can interview you and gather the required Client Registration Information.

    2. Please keep in mind that you if you are not a resident of or visiting within the State of Washington, Dr. Sterling can only offer you general mental health information and relationship counseling and feedback, but cannot engage in more personal analysis that would establish a doctor-patient relationship. Washington State is the only state in which Dr. Sterling is currently licensed to practice medicine. You can find more information about Dr. Sterling's license at his Biography Page.

What Ongoing E-Mail Counseling Services Are Available?

Two Ongoing E-Mail Counseling Services are available:

  • Short Ongoing E-Mail Counseling (15-20 minutes - $50.00).
  • Long Ongoing E-Mail Counseling (25-30 minutes - $80.00).

E-Mail Order Buttons Are at Bottom of Page.

Between here and the bottom of this page, you will find:

  • A Short Discussion of Ongoing E-Mail Counseling
  • Recommendations About Secure E-Mail
  • The Ongoing E-Mail Counseling Terms of Service Agreement

Some Benefits and Challenges of Ongoing E-Mail Counseling.

Because of the ongoing nature of the E-Therapy process and the attempt to deal with deeper personal issues, E-Therapy is similar to traditional psychotherapy. As in in-person psychotherapy and counseling, Dr. Sterling will attempt to get to know you over time, to work with you in a supportive way and to gather information, give feedback, formulate goals, and assist you with making changes.

However, E-Therapy should not be viewed as a substitute for in-person psychotherapy or other types of direct counseling techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy. It is an alternative form of therapy with certain limitations due to the format of the interactions.

Because of the non-in-person circumstance of Ongoing E-Mail Counseling, Dr. Sterling cannot diagnose disorders or complex issues as easily or quickly since he cannot use all the senses to evaluate a person. Dr. Sterling can only proceed on the information given to him by you. Many cues that might be helpful, such as body posture, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc., are not available and, therefore, evaluation and feedback is less informed than in in-person consultations.

Dr. Sterling also will not be able to provide certain interventions as easily, such as evaluating transference issues. Dr. Sterling cannot provide direct help in a crisis. By all ethical and professional standards, a person in crisis deserves in-person assistance.

  • Some Advantages of Ongoing E-Mail Counseling.

    • Convenient.
    • No travel time involved in the consultation.
    • Relatively more confidential than an in-person consult.
    • Set your own pace. You are in control of how much and how often you participate.
    • Cost-effective. You pay only for the actual time Dr. Sterling reads and responds to your e-mail. Offline, you can take all the time you need to understand and compose e-mails. Offline, you can take all the time you want to read and think about Dr. Sterling's responses.
    • Encourages rational and thoughtful thinking. The e-mail process allows for reflection and concentration while composing your e-mail and it allows for contemplation and focus while reading responses from Dr. Sterling. You don't have to feel rushed by the clock. You can go over ideas, suggestions and feedback several times.
    • Written words are powerful. Written words have a big impact on each of us, and it is no different in the world of e-mail.

  • Ongoing E-Mail is Not for Everyone.

    People who have the following characteristics are best suited for Ongoing E-mail interactions:

    • Enjoy writing in English.
    • Comfortable typing on a keyboard.
    • Comfortable with computers and computer software.
    • Write expressively and descriptively.
    • Willing to be honest.
    • Comfortable or willing to get comfortable with feedback.
    • Willing to use observations about yourself in a constructive manner. Sometimes, what Dr. Sterling needs to say to you may not be what you want to hear. Willingness to examine yourself through another person's perception of you is a cornerstone of personal growth.
    • Willing to write about feelings and reactions.
    • Comfortable with the circumstance of not being able to view or hear the provider of services.

  • People who are not comfortable writing or typing or who get frustrated with not hearing the voice of the person with whom they are communicating might find more benefit from speaking with Dr. Sterling by phone. However, please keep in mind that a major disadvantage of phone conversations is that after they end, unless you have kept very good notes while talking with Dr. Sterling, you will have a more difficult time reviewing the content of the conversation.

    You Must Agree to the Terms of Service.

    By clicking on any of the Ongoing E-Mail Order Buttons at the bottom of this page, you will be agreeing to the Ongoing E-Mail Counseling Terms of Service set out on this page. Please read the Terms of Service carefully before clicking on an order button and purchasing a service.

    We Recommend Printing This Page.

    We Recommend Obtaining a Secure E-Mail Address.

    • Before purchasing any services online from Dr. Sterling, please be sure you have an e-mail address at which you are comfortable receiving receipts that will contain the following or very similar information:  (1) "ORDER DESCRIPTION: E-Mail Consultation," and (2) "Merchant: Ron Sterling, M.D." The receipt will also contain the amount paid and what type of credit card was used.

    We Use PayPal for Processing Payments. You do Not Have to Be a PayPal Member.

    How Soon Can You Expect a Response to Your Purchased E-Mail Service?

    • Dr. Sterling is generally able to give a relevant response to your purchased e-mail question(s), concern(s), and feedback within 8-24 hours of his receipt of your e-mail.

    • Dr. Sterling guarantees a relevant response to your purchased Ongoing E-mail questions, concerns, and feedback within 72 hours of the receipt of all the following:

      1. Your (a) filled out Client Registration Form or a reasonable equivalent thereof, or (b) a Telephone Consultation to provide Client Registration Information to Dr. Sterling, and

      2. Your email with your question(s), concern(s), and/or feedback and follow-up information.

      This time period limitation does not include weekends and U.S. and Washington State holidays. If Dr. Sterling does not respond within said 72 hours, you may request a full refund. This constitutes the only basis for a refund request.

    • All refunds will be made by personal check drawn on Dr. Sterling's account or by sending the refund via PayPal.

    • Refund checks are made payable to the purchaser of services shown on the PayPal receipt, are sent by regular mail to the address shown on the PayPal receipt, or, if requested can be sent by using PayPal. Refunds are sent within 20 business days of receipt of a request for such refund.

    Before Sending E-Mail Question(s) and Information, Please Order and Pay.

    • You must order and pay for E-Mail services in advance. If, for some reason, Dr. Sterling does not send an e-mail with his response to the e-mail address you have provided to him within the 72 hours noted above, you may request a refund as noted above.

    • You must provide a valid e-mail address when you order and pay for services. A valid e-mail address must contain the correct user name, the @ symbol, and the domain name: Example -

    • Without a valid and correct e-mail address, Dr. Sterling cannot respond or, if the address is incorrect, such response will not be received by the purchaser of services and confidential information could be disclosed.

    • You must enter the Reference # (Order ID number) found on the PayPal receipt in your e-mail to Dr. Sterling.

    • Dr. Sterling cannot respond to e-mail questions that do not contain the Reference # (Order ID number).

    You Must Agree to the Following Terms of Service ("TOS").

    By clicking on any Order Button located at the bottom of this Ongoing E-Mail Counseling Order Page and following through with a purchase of services, I irrevocably agree to each and every statement below:

    1. I am 18 years old or older.

    2. I have Refreshed the View of this page to insure that I am viewing the very latest version of these Terms of Service.

    3. If I am not a resident of the State of Washington, U.S.A., or visiting within said state during the period of time I receive this service from Dr. Sterling, I agree that I will only request counseling from Dr. Sterling for the purpose of information or feedback regarding general mental health and relationship concerns, and not for the purpose of creating a doctor-patient relationship or working on more personal, psychological matters on an ongoing basis.

    4. If I am a resident of the State of Washington, U.S.A., or if I am, and will continue to be, visiting within said state during the period of time I receive this service from Dr. Sterling, I understand I can receive any ongoing type of psychotherapeutic service, except for the prescribing of medications without an in-person appointment with Dr. Sterling.

    5. I am purchasing an Ongoing E-mail Consultation Service from Ron Sterling, M.D ("Dr. Sterling"), who is licensed to practice medicine in the State of Washington, U.S.A.

    6. I have filled out the Client Registration Form or a reasonable equivalent thereof, and have sent it by e-mail to Dr. Sterling at his e-mail address, or I have already supplied Dr. Sterling with the Client Registration Form information by conducting a Short Telephone Consultation with Dr. Sterling.

    7. I am not entitled to the 72-Hour Guarantee noted further below or to a relevant response from Dr. Sterling to this purchased Ongoing E-mail Counseling service until Dr. Sterling receives the information required in the Client Registration Form by e-mail or I have purchased a Short Telephone Consultation to give Dr. Sterling such information.

    8. I understand that I do not need to purchase an E-Mail Service to fill-out and send the Client Registration Form to Dr. Sterling by e-mail.

    9. I agree that my use of any information communicated to me by Dr. Sterling pursuant to this purchase of services is entirely at my own risk. Any action or decision I make following the receipt of the service purchased hereby is done by my own free will, at my own risk, and with my own responsibility.

    10. I have no intention of harming or killing myself or harming or killing any other person or animal.

    11. If I am overwhelmed by the circumstances of my life, or if I am thinking about abusing animals or people, or harming or killing myself or any other person, I agree to immediately use a telephone and seek help by calling 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE.

    12. I agree that Dr. Sterling cannot be held responsible for breaches of confidentiality that may occur due to (a) my use of a wireless connection to the Internet, (b) my choice not to use a recommended secure e-mail service, (c) my failure to provide a correct and valid e-mail address for myself, (d) my failure to keep secure and confidential any copies I keep of receipts, account statements, or e-mails, (e) illegal hacking, and (f) hardware, software and other Internet service provider errors outside the control of myself or Dr. Sterling.

    13. I agree that any claim connected to the purchase or provision of this service will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington.

    14. No information or data that I disclose pursuant to this purchase of services will be disclosed to any other person or entity except in the following circumstances:

      1. Upon delivery to Dr. Sterling of my written, witnessed, original, signed authorization to release medical information;

      2. Upon my own indication or implication that I (i) intend to harm myself or some other person; (ii) have caused or am causing child abuse; (iii) have caused or am causing abuse of an elder; (iv) have committed a previously unreported felony crime, and/or (iv) am gravely disabled.

      3. If information is requested by court order or subpoena; and

      4. To assist relevant personnel in the event of a medical emergency.

    15. I possess an e-mail address which I will provide to Dr. Sterling at which I agree to receive receipts that will contain the following or very similar information: (1) "ORDER DESCRIPTION: E-Mail Consultation," and (2) "Merchant: Ron Sterling, M.D." The receipt will also contain the amount paid and what type of credit card was used. I agree to the disclosure of such information to the e-mail address I provide, and I understand that such information may be considered confidential.

    16. I agree to the disclosure of the words "Ron Sterling, M.D." and "E-Mail Consultation" or such similar words in the text of the credit card account statement mailed or otherwise delivered to me by the credit card company whose credit card I use to purchase this service from Dr. Sterling.

    17. I understand and accept that e-mail responses from Dr. Sterling will contain the following notice: "This e-mail contains confidential information. If you have received this e-mail in error, please do not read it and please delete it immediately."

    18. I accept that Dr. Sterling will reply to my e-mail to him by utilizing the "Reply To" button and that he will not attempt to retype an e-mail address found further down in an e-mail.

    19. I understand and accept that Dr. Sterling will not open any attachments or click on any hyperlinks found in any e-mail I send to him and I agree not to send any attachments or include hyperlinks in my e-mail to him.

    20. I understand and accept that Dr. Sterling, pursuant to relevant laws, must use his best efforts to keep records of all services he provides no matter how brief, and that he will use his best efforts to keep printed copies of all transactions and correspondence between him and myself.

    21. I understand and accept that although Dr. Sterling will use his best efforts to provide this service on a continuing basis as he would in a more traditional, in-person treatment circumstance, that certain emergencies may occur which could interrupt the ongoing nature of the service which are not within Dr. Sterling's control which may be, but are not limited to, forces of nature, computer software or hardware problems, Internet service provider difficulties, illegal hacking, or illness or death.

    22. I understand and accept that in the case of the discontinuance or termination of the ongoing nature of this service due to circumstances outside of Dr. Sterling's control that he may need to delegate certain responsibilities for follow-up communications to me from some other person than himself, but that the best efforts will be used to keep my records and information confidential in such a circumstance.

    23. If I am abusive, threatening, harassing, and/or sexually inappropriate in my interactions with Dr. Sterling, he can notify me clearly of his intent to stop services, the reason for stopping the service, and offer me a referral resource. Such abuse can consist of boundary violations such as attempting to instant message or Internet chat with Dr. Sterling at times when I do not have an appointment to do so. I agree that this is considered to be the equivalent of trespassing into an actual treatment room while a doctor is with another client.

    24. I may be entitled to a refund of the purchase price of this service if Dr. Sterling does not respond within 72 hours of his receipt of my e-mail to him containing questions and the Reference # (Order ID number) of my order. This constitutes the only basis for a refund request.

    25. I accept that refund checks will be made payable to the purchaser of services shown on the credit card transaction page, will be sent to the address shown on the credit card transaction page, and will be sent by regular mail within 20 business days of receipt of a request for such refund, or if requested a refund can be made through PayPal.

    26. I accept that Ron Sterling, M.D., reserves the right to modify these Terms of Service at any time, whatsoever, without any advance notice and such modifications shall be effective immediately upon the posting of such modified terms and conditions on this page. I agree to refresh this page before proceeding to insure that I am viewing the very latest version of these Terms of Service.

    Are You Ready to Order?  Click on the Appropriate Order Button Further Below.

    After you click on an Order Button, you will receive a secure web page from PayPal where you can choose to login to your PayPal account or not. You can pay for services without joining PayPal. Please note that the first PayPal page contains a link on the bottom, right-hand side, that says "Pay with a debit or credit card or PayPal credit."

    • Please Note:  By clicking on an Order Button and following through with a purchase of services, you are agreeing to all of the Terms of Service found in the Terms of Service section immediately above.

    • Thank you again for your consideration!

    If you wish to order a Short Ongoing E-Mail Consultation
    (15-20 minutes of Dr. Sterling's time), click on the button below. The fee is $50.00.

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