And pulling back from my own (fairly subtle) issues for a moment. Better Help Japan…could e-counselling be the answer to the mental health problems intensifying among under-30s? With cuts to psychological health services really starting to bite, digitised treatment could be simply the ticket for young people who already filter almost every aspect of their lives– buddies, work, sex, entertainment– through a screen.
Not everybody is totally convinced that shifting psychological health care online is the way forward. “For me, what works in therapy is when you satisfy somebody face-to-face, in the very same space,” states London-based psychotherapist Sandra Tapie. “You get to know not just what it’s like to talk to the person, but how it feels to be in a space with them. Using Skype is the next best thing: it’s ‘good enough’, however it doesn’t create the closeness, the intimacy, that truly gets individuals 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 ‘practical equivalent’ of traditional counselling; it’s simply not quite the same thing. It’s really important that people who participate in it know that it’s a various experience from remaining in the space with someone, speaking in person.”
” In regards to ease of access, it’s an excellent start and definitely better than nothing. It’ll ideally lead them to eventually showing up in the space. However, if you’re struggling with relationship concerns, attachment issues, or deeper problems, it’s much better to be in the room with someone. Skype and the internet uses a range from your counsellor that may not be valuable.”
In cases of mild depression, the NHS is now directing some clients towards online programmes rather than face-to-face counselling, a phenomenon that concerns Dr Balick.