And drawing back from my own (fairly low-key) concerns for a moment. If I Cancel Betterhelp…could e-counselling be the answer to the psychological health problems intensifying amongst under-30s? With cuts to psychological health services truly starting to bite, digitised therapy could be just the ticket for young adults who already filter almost every aspect of their lives– good friends, work, sex, home entertainment– through a screen.
Not everyone is completely convinced that shifting mental health care online is the method forward. “For me, what works in therapy is when you satisfy someone face-to-face, in the same space,” states London-based psychotherapist Sandra Tapie. “You learn more about not only what it’s like to speak 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’, but it does not develop the closeness, the intimacy, that actually gets people to open up and explore things.”
” I have actually performed some research into Skype counselling,” states London-based psychotherapist Dr Aaron Balick, “and it’s not the ‘practical equivalent’ of traditional counselling; it’s just not quite the very same thing. It’s truly important that individuals who participate in it are aware that it’s a different experience from remaining in the room with somebody, speaking face-to-face.”
” In terms of ease of access, it’s a great start and absolutely much better than absolutely nothing. It’ll hopefully lead them to ultimately revealing up in the room.
In cases of mild depression, the NHS is now directing some clients towards online programmes rather than in person counselling, a phenomenon that worries Dr Balick.