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to have that cozy, womb-like little room to heave myself into on a weekly basis.Therapy has become a customary part of my self-care song-and-dance, despite the sad truth that I haven't seen tons of progress when it comes to my struggles with depression, relationships, et al.
It has the most appealing design, and it helpfully provides sympathetic-looking photos of its roster of online therapists waiting, with bated breath, to help me. For "everyone [to] have real-time, simple, and affordable access to professional advice whenever and wherever we need it."Talktala offers paid online support from legit online therapists—it costs $9 for an "initial help" session; $29 for a one-on-one "chat for a week" service in which you get to, yes, e-chat with a therapist one-on-one for a week; and $29 for a 30-minute one-on-one video session with a therapist of your choosing.Could spilling my guts to faceless strangers on an online message board or chat room possibly compare to "real" therapy? Paul Hokemeyer, a NYC-based addictions and family therapist, is dubious."Therapy that changes people's lives is a nuanced process," he says.THE RESOLUTION (OR LACK THEREOF)I end up chatting with "Special-Reward" about Life Stuff—our jobs, the site, the few "creeps" she's encountered there—for about 45 minutes.While my new, Colorado-based buddy is certainly no therapist, it feels sweet and genuine, making a connection with a stranger like this.This time, I bemoan how frustrating it can feel being 37 and single. ) later, a fellow MTC newbie takes pity and responds to my plea, but her reply is—well, let's just say it's less than satisfying: "If time will come that u feel u've been left behind just think that somebody will be around to be by your side if not a lover maybe a friend that truly lives you" [sic].
"I can't seem to catch a break when it comes to dating and love," I write. but it doesn't pan out—[the guys I like either] aren't into me or they are ambivalent ... Blahtherapy was the site that first sparked my interest in the weird world of e-therapy.
I return a few days later, and finally I have a successful chat session with a member named "Special-Reward." I discover, after blabbing—again—about feeling isolated post-move, that my new friend is female, and all of 19. When I express frustration about not having tons of friends in my hometown, she commiserates, "I'm really shy too.
She says she's been frequenting the site for about a week because participating in the chats, as both a listener and a venter, helps her. But I think if you just push yourself a little bit to find people with similar interests, it will be beneficial." She also suggests a couple sites where I might find likeminded people (and not4dating).
They felt more like social outlets than mental health resources. Hokemeyer expresses major concern about sites like Blah Therapy, where "non-trained professionals [are] giving advice to other individuals.""There is just too much room for harm," he notes.
And I can't help but agree with his assessment that "deeply entrenched and persistent emotional and relationship issues cannot be adequately addressed through an online therapeutic relationship.
Lasting change requires a human connection that cannot be replaced by a keypad and a computer screen."I guess it's back to the couch for me.