We’re all affected by technology in more ways than we know. We use our computers to connect with friends and family who live at a distance. Many of us do our banking online. We use email and electronic calendars to conduct business, some of us on a daily basis. But what about therapy? Can we get what we need when looking for support to sort out, and hopefully solve, a problem by going online?
Therapy startup Talkspace is hoping to offer just that–online contact with a therapist. We thought we’d discuss the advantages and disadvantages of digital talk therapy.
What would a person gain by seeking online talk therapy? One advantage is that the computer–and Talkspace if they do what they say they will–is available any time of day or night. If you’re feeling stressed or depressed, the help you want is there immediately, in the form of an instant message. However, it isn’t clear whether you would be able to send messages to the same therapist each time. Another consideration is cost. Talkspace plans to offer lower fees than weekly in person sessions usually cost.
Online therapy also offers anonymity. But is this an advantage or disadvantage? At first glance, it may seem desirable to remain anonymous. That way there is no embarrassment in talking to another person about difficult subjects. The online therapist wouldn’t know your gender, age or even what you look like. Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about your therapist either. Nor would you have that feeling that we get when we meet with someone whom we feel connected to. That deep-in-your-guts reaction to another human being which allows you to settle in and talk about your innermost hopes, dreams, and fears.
Part of the therapy process is learning to become more comfortable with our own feelings, even if they are hard to express. This process can help us understand ourselves better. That can lead to learning new ways to interact with others, solve problems, and see the patterns in our lives. Learning to tolerate our feelings happens more easily when we tell another person our story. Telling it in person, in the same room, where we can see, hear, and engage with that person is key and helps to build a dialogue over time.
There may be some situations which can be sorted out by going online for therapy, but larger life issues require a personal commitment. The therapists at Vermont Talk Therapy believe talk therapy is best conducted in person and that a therapeutic process is built between two people over time.If you’re in Vermont or New Hampshire, so are we. The first sessions of talk based therapy can feel unusual, but that fades as the relationship is formed and a dialogue begins. If you have questions about whether talk therapy is right for you or how to schedule a consultation, get in touch. We’re happy to answer your questions.
*Each individual’s circumstances are unique. The content of the Vermont Talk Therapy blog is intended to provide general information and should not be taken as therapeutic advice. To begin therapy or discuss your specific needs, get in touch with the therapists of Vermont Talk Therapy.