The benefits of talk therapy have long been known, but innovation continues to touch the world of psychotherapy. Concepts such as mindfulness and specialties such as LGBT therapy are constantly adding ferment to the field, for instance, and the advent of the Internet has added many new topics worthy of study. Recently much of the “talk” in therapeutic innovation has centered around the possibility of Web-based psychotherapy. The idea involves a version of Skype, where patient and therapist meet somewhere in cyberspace and conduct a conversation over an encrypted video connection. As a recent article in Wired described one website peddling such technology, “Patient and practitioner connect via TalkSession’s video platform—no couch required.”
Is Teletherapy Real?
There are some inherent advantages to this approach, including improved accessibility for remote patients, enhanced convenience for both patients and therapists, and freedom from the sigma of mental health appointments in communities where such prejudices remain.
Yet sites such as TalkSession cannot readily substitute for the real thing -- yet. There is a shared experience that takes place in the room which cannot easily be duplicated. (Witness the confusion that arises when your partner on Skype begin reacting to things you can’t see.) And of course there remains a formidable series of regulatory hurdles to surpass, including a byzantine national licensing system that makes out-of-state therapy a legal minefield.
Still, there is no question that teletherapy will arrive someday. What this news demonstrates most clearly to us is that vital specialties such as depression therapy, anxiety therapy and relationship therapy are still needed throughout the country. If you’d like to find a therapist here in New York City, please contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center today.