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My Therapy Couch rather charmingly calls itself a " social counseling site." So ...
it's like Facebook had a baby with a virtual shrink's office! Like Talktala, MTC features free forums where users can vent about their issues, but if you want real therapeutic guidance (aka "Direct Counseling") from a professional, you'll need to cough up some cash.
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 dialogue that occurs online is much more shallow and transient.
It's like comparing an artificial sweetener to honey, or instant coffee to slow-brewed." I suspected as much, but I wanted to see for myself.1.
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.
) and try posting in the "Relationships & Family" section instead.The site also includes free therapist-run forums where users can air their mental-health challenges; a therapist will respond to up to 5 posts per user before charging a fee. In the "How to Manage Stress and Depression" forum, I spill out a paragraph about how Fear of Missing Out and social comparison are making me miserable (hey, it's true). It does sound like you are struggling with your own self-value. "I write back that I have no "reasons" to doubt myself—instead I've got an exciting smorgasbord of your average everyday depressive tendencies and low self-esteem, yippee!I write, "I constantly compare myself to other women—not just women I know, but friends of friends, famous people, etc." before acknowledging that my life is fine overall, save for my obsessive quest to "constantly think about how little I have in comparison to some friends and acquaintances (especially when it comes to my love life)."A therapist named Regina M. "It is so difficult to be a woman in our culture these days," she writes. I explain that I've been in therapy for years and have tried a zillion types of treatment.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 keep getting sucked into sketchy, go-nowhere maybe-relationships. "Again, I wait for the helpful and compassionate responses to roll in. It's pretty unique in its approach—in addition to offering the "completely anonymous" services of a real therapist for $25 ("No therapist will know who you are—no one close to you will know you're getting therapy"), the site has a "venting/listening" private chat function that pairs up anonymous strangers who want to vent with strangers who want to listen. Because, as the site explains, "sharing and connecting with other strangers who are going through a struggles just like you [sic] provides great consolation to anyone in need of healing or a friend."I'm eager to try the anonymous venting thing, because spilling my secrets to some rando who gets off on "listening" sounds, admittedly, awesome.