Therapy By Text: Where iMessage Replaces The Doctor's Couch

What comes to mind when you hear the words "therapy session"? If the portrayal in mainstream media has anything to say about it, you're probably envisioning being stretched out on a leather couch, sharing your darkest secrets while your therapist continues to provide you with a constant flow of new Kleenex as you deposit tear stained ones into the trash. But in today's world where technology and detachment are favored over face-to-face interactions that's an archaic method for improving mental health. I bet you can guess here this is heading...

Text therapy is one of the latest business trends, and such services are offered by a number of different organizations that operate exclusively in text, while others simply provide the option among their core services. BetterHelp and TalkSpace are two of the business concepts that use an app as the platform to connect with individuals in need of counseling services. Kids' Help Phone in Canada has also introduced a chat option.

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There are a couple of major reasons why these organizations have chosen to take therapy in this direction - the primary one being that these days Millennials prefer to talk with their thumbs rather than their mouths. Too often, challenges with mental health go untreated, and in the US alone, the cost of lost productivity as a result is valued at $100 billion each and every year. With 90% of suicides attributed to lack of treatment, it makes sense that businesses would try and cater to these younger generations who otherwise wouldn't seek help at all.

Another major reason therapy has found itself a new platform is cost. With or without insurance coverage, in-office therapy is expensive, making it inaccessible even to those willing to accept help. Text therapy naturally comes with reduced costs based on the way that services are structured.

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 Apps like BetterHelp and TalkSpace have a monthly subscription fee, and when you use their services, you can say whatever you want at anytime and get an answer at least once per day from a psychologist. With only simple exchanges on a daily basis, unless you put your life story out there unprompted, the process of getting to know you is slower, but the comments and questions from the therapist help you problem-solve and better manage issues. Reviews on both of these companies imply that  responses are typically more than the once a day minimum.

 While these businesses definitely qualify as innovative, there's controversy surrounding the whole concept of them for obvious reasons. What do you think about "remote" therapy where there's no face-to-face interaction (even over video), or even voice communication to interpret tone? Is this just creating a whole new issue that people will require therapy for in the future? 

 Via: CNN