And drawing back from my own (fairly low-key) concerns for a moment. Better Help Cost Insurance…could e-counselling be the answer to the mental health concerns intensifying amongst under-30s? With cuts to psychological health services truly starting to bite, digitised therapy could be just the ticket for young people who already filter nearly every aspect of their lives– friends, work, sex, entertainment– through a screen.
Not everybody is completely persuaded that shifting psychological healthcare online is the way forward. “For me, what works in treatment is when you meet somebody face-to-face, in the exact same room,” says London-based psychotherapist Sandra Tapie. “You are familiar with not only what it’s like to talk to the individual, however how it feels to be in a room with them. Using Skype is the next best thing: it’s ‘good enough’, but it does not create the nearness, the intimacy, that truly gets people to open and check out things.”
” I have actually carried out some research into Skype counselling,” says London-based psychotherapist Dr Aaron Balick, “and it’s not the ‘functional equivalent’ of standard counselling; it’s simply not quite the exact same thing. It’s really important that individuals who take part in it understand that it’s a different experience from being in the room with somebody, speaking in person.”
” In terms of availability, it’s a great start and definitely better than nothing. It’ll ideally lead them to eventually appearing in the room. If you’re having a hard time with relationship concerns, attachment issues, or deeper problems, it’s better to be in the room with someone. Skype and the internet offers a range from your counsellor that might not be useful.”
In cases of mild depression, the NHS is now directing some patients towards online programmes rather than in person counselling, a phenomenon that worries Dr Balick.