And drawing back from my own (fairly low-key) issues for a moment. Should I Join Betterhelp…could e-counselling be the answer to the psychological health issues intensifying among under-30s? With cuts to psychological health services really starting to bite, digitised treatment could be just the ticket for young people who currently filter nearly every element of their lives– pals, work, sex, home entertainment– through a screen.
Not everybody is entirely encouraged that moving mental healthcare online is the way forward. “For me, what works in therapy is when you meet someone face-to-face, in the same space,” says London-based psychotherapist Sandra Tapie. “You are familiar with not just what it’s like to speak with the individual, however how it feels to be in a room with them. Using Skype is the next best thing: it’s ‘sufficient’, but it does not produce the closeness, the intimacy, that really gets individuals to open up and explore 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 conventional counselling; it’s just not quite the exact same thing. It’s actually essential that people who participate in it understand that it’s a various experience from remaining in the space with someone, speaking in person.”
” In regards to accessibility, it’s a good start and certainly better than nothing. It’ll hopefully lead them to ultimately showing up in the space. If you’re struggling with relationship issues, accessory issues, or deeper problems, it’s much better to be in the room with somebody. Skype and the web offers a range from your counsellor that might not be valuable.”
In cases of mild depression, the NHS is now directing some patients towards online programmes rather than face-to-face counselling, a phenomenon that concerns Dr Balick.