So today I spoke to a therapist.
We talked work, life, relationships. Her name is Leslie, she has brown hair, is around 55-years-old, and you know what? She seems like a really nice lady.
Oh, and Leslie lives in my phone.
This week, Women’s Health gave us the low-down on the latest time saving trend: therapist sessions via a smart phone app.
They road tested the the Talkspace App, and gave overwhelmingly good feedback. So, like any serious journalist, I dived into the line of danger and download the app for myself.
That’s how I met Leslie.
Women’s Health were enamoured with the face-to-phone therapy experience, especially the updates to let you know when to expect a response to your existential crisis:
“I loved that if something was bothering me at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night, I could text my therapist right then and there in our password-protected chat room in the app.
But unlike texting with a friend, her responses weren’t instant. I would anxiously wait for her to reply (‘Hello? I just poured my heart out?’), which usually popped up within 24 hours.
Luckily, the latest app update now has a time stamp that tells you when you can expect a response back. Phew!”
I mean it kind of makes sense, right? We date online, we grocery shop online, we bank online, we even diagnose our own embarrassing rashes online (don’t pretend you’ve never tried). Isn’t this just the natural progression?
Whilst the novelty of speaking with a professional therapist, in real time, was indeed impressive – the lack of human connection was unnerving. Yes, Leslie was a person. Yes, she was typing back to me in a normal conversational manner. But the thought of confessing my innermost feelings and fears to, well, a screen, felt cheap, fake, and weird.
But according to mental-health professionals, this is the way of the future: making therapy free and accessible to all. On their phones. Question: does a group chat then become group therapy? Do you need to conference call a couple therapy session? CAN THEY PASS YOU A VIRTUAL TISSUE?