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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).
After I post a brief monologue about feeling isolated, I can see that my new buddy is typing a response, but then my Internet connection drops off before I can catch a reply.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.THE THERAPY SITE: is the slickest of the three sites I tried.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."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.
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.
Confession time: I've been in talk therapy for more than 20 years (I started when I was 15—today I'm 37).
Nope, I'm not proud of that—it's vaguely embarrassing, this commitment I've made to worship at the altar of my most deep-seated issues.
Still, as our back-and-forth winds down, I feel totally underwhelmed. Hokemeyer suggested, my Talktala experience feels like Self-Reflection Lite—it's not in-depth enough to provide any real insight.