How BetterHelp Brings Counseling into the 21st Century
What comes to your mind when you think of therapy?
Sitting on a couch, talking about your problems, while an old guy takes notes?
After all, in movies like 1997’s Good Will Hunting to 2014’s Hector and the Search for Happiness, this is how counseling and therapy are often portrayed in popular culture.
It’s true that this form of therapy, which, by the way, started to grow in popularity over 100 hundred years ago, is how most people imagine therapy and counseling.
Perhaps it’s no wonder why most Millennials think that therapy is due for a change.
Today, therapy has changed thanks to the adoption of technologically advanced alternatives.
Why therapy on the couch?
The traditional model of therapy and counseling discussed above is called “Psychoanalysis” and was pioneered by Dr. Sigmund Freud.
Freud believed that most of a person’s mental health issues were the result of unhealthy attachments that were formed during their childhood experiences. The individual was unable to recognize these complications on their own and required the help of a doctor.
Freud was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century and his work opened the door to more modern perceptions of mental health, and he is still referred to today.
However, a number of his ideas have since fallen out of popularity and been challenged by subsequent thinkers. This began in his lifetime in the person of his student Carl Jung.
Jung’s “Psychotherapy” – also a model in wide use today – put less focus on the individual’s childhood experiences and more focus on how they interpret the world around them.
Humanistic Psychology, pioneered by the likes of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, made up the next generation of counseling and therapy which started to gain traction in the 1950s and 1960s.
This school of psychology believed that people experienced mental health conditions like anxiety and depression when an internal or external force prevented them from meeting their potential and satisfying their needs as human persons.
This approach is likely the most popular today. While it includes many ideological advancements over earlier schools, its practical approach is largely the same. It still uses that model of the patient or client sitting on a couch telling their problems to the therapist or counselor.
The problem with the couch-and-counselor model
Before we throw 100 years of tradition out of the window, there are some benefits to the classic couch-and-counselor approach.
First, some people genuinely like it and do find it to be comforting and informative. Also, one can argue that the way that the therapist approaches psychology is more important than the physical they are in.
However, ¾ of Millennials can’t be wrong – this approach has some serious problem.
For one, it is being physical means that the practitioners that one has access to are largely limited on geographical location.
While this may not be a problem in population centers, people in more rural areas often have great difficulty finding a counselor or therapist, let alone a selection.
Further, this approach can be prohibitively expensive. Much of the cost goes to the counselor or therapist who’s time is made valuable by their experience, education, licensing, etc.
As a patient, you are also indirectly paying for counselor’s healthcare and insurance costs for using the physical office. Add transportation cost, and you pay a lot of unnecessary extra money.
Many Millennials are regularly on the move for social or economic reasons like cost-of-living considerations, work, and education. Even when their home is one place, travel often makes it difficult for them to make regular meetings at a physical location near that home.
Finally, seeing a counselor or therapist in one’s own community can be uncomfortable. Particularly in more rural areas as you may run into your therapist at your local shopping centers, social centers, or places of worship.
The benefits of remote counseling with BetterHelp
The solution to many of these problems comes with remote counseling enabled through modern telecommunications technology.
Platforms like BetterHelp are using these technologies to bring counseling into the 21st century in ways that are more affordable, more convenient, and more approachable and effective than traditional formats.
Initially, online counseling is less expensive for several reasons. It doesn’t go through the same standardized healthcare and insurance hoops that conventional therapy formats have to navigate.
Online therapy is also more approachable. The patient or client access the platform on their own, meaning that they don’t need to go through a care provider, fill out forms, etc., making the process faster, more convenient, and more private.
Further, because the therapist or counselor is also at a home environment, sessions feel more relaxed and less like just seeing a doctor.
Platforms like BetterHelp have a huge selection of therapists and counselors available. If things don’t work out for whatever reason, selecting a new one is quick and easy – not at all like finding the right counselor for most people in the old model.
Finally, remote counseling is much more convenient. Voice or video sessions can be carried out from anywhere that there is an internet connection – whether that’s from home, from a hotel room, on the road, etc.
Additionally, private chatrooms allow the patient or client to get support outside of scheduled sessions as well as exchange documents, links to resources, and more.
Over to you …
Have you tried online therapy already? Share your experience in the comments below 👇🏼
This article was written by Johnathan Jaehnig.