Thanks for the suggestion Yen. I'm pretty sure I'm going to give it a try. It has been suggested in the past too: new title for a topic
My only fear is that people will stop posting if we have live chat, and the posts are important because they help people get feedback from a broader audience. The posts also help others going through similar issues. That's part of the great benefit that a public message board can provide.
A chat room is more private, which is good too. It enables more spontaneous communication between the people involved in the chat.
Moderation would be difficult in a chat room as well. If someone was causing trouble there (inciting others, or using inappropriate language); there would be little I could do to protect our site's visitors.
Those are just some of the issues I have been struggling with recently about it. I need to do some more research to see what kind of chat programs are available. I'm open to testing it out.
The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory (my site that pays the bills and affords this site to run) is undergoing a redesign right now, so that keeps me pretty busy lately. It may be a while before I can get started on the chat thing.