I’ll make this post brief because my eyes and ears are still on the mend from my allergic conjunctivitis. Yesterday, HuffPost Live ran a segment I recommend watching called, “How Web Therapy Could Lead The Way For Improved Global Health Care” hosted by Nancy Redd. Understandably, some critics find web therapy impersonal. And I get that as someone who thinks we live in an over-texted society where people avoid having difficult conversations in person. However, I think there are factors at play that make web therapy not only practical, but in some situations, necessary.
Juggling Autoimmune Disorders With Mental Illness
For me, every day of cold and flu season (so basically six months if you live in the Midwest) is an autoimmune risk. Having Myasthenia Gravis (MG) and psoriasis, I cringe every time someone coughs and doesn’t cover his mouth. Being exposed to someone who has the flu (or someone who doesn’t but was exposed to a coworker who has it) can mean the difference between life and death for cancer patients and people with illnesses like PIDS, Primary Immune Deficiency Syndrome, lupus, among others. Bipolar disorder was the first of my five illnesses.
Bipolar Disorder and Talk Therapy
Being diagnosed at 18, talk therapy is an essential tool in managing my bipolar disorder. Even when medications are prescribed for people with depression or bipolar, they are more effective when paired with talk therapy. However, all my autoimmune issues and pain issues (I have polycystic ovarian syndrome too) make it hard to leave the house. My therapist and I have productive sessions over VSee when I can’t see her in person. I am fortunate that she was seeing me for two years before I got MG. She knows me inside and out–my faith, predilection for quoting Chris Rock, and goals and dreams. She reads my nonverbal cues–when I’m afraid, depressed, or happy.
Five Groups of People That Could Benefit from Web Therapy:
- Busy people–So like half the people in America. How many times have you put off doing something (like going to the dentist) just because you didn’t have time to do it? Whether it’s a single-parent taking care of a crying baby or a college student who also works, many people don’t have the time to see a therapist in person.
- People with disabilities (PWD) and mobility issues–I carry a cane, and I can’t drive. I do have recurring problems with my eyes and ears. People in wheelchairs and or with other mobility issues sometimes have no one to drive them to therapy.
- Patients with compromised immune systems
- People who are too depressed to get up–Depression can make the simplest things like getting out of bed impossible, let alone driving twenty miles to see a therapist. It’s like a lethargy that paralyzes the whole body.
- People who live in remote areas–I didn’t like my first therapist; thankfully, I was able to shop around for someone I liked. But for people living in areas where professionals are scarce, they are often left with no options. Web therapy gives people options previously unavailable.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Nancy also brought up a good point I’d never thought of before: It’s harder to “break up” with a therapist once you’ve seen him/her in person. I know people who’ve stuck with therapists they didn’t like because they were afraid of initiating that “this just isn’t working” conversation. It’s easier to break up with an online therapist. If possible, I recommend seeing a therapist in person before beginning online sessions.
Catch the HuffPost Live video below to find out more about how to find a web therapist:
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno
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