The increasing need for therapy online

Psychotherapy, while surrounded by many myths and misconceptions, is an incredible tool for personal growth. Not only is this a statement that’s born out by the research, there’s also plenty of anecdotal support for the life changing benefits that therapy can offer – and I personally have gone on record as being not just an enthusiastic practitioner, but a personal advocate as well.

Unfortunately, however, many people across the globe lack access to quality practitioners. This is nothing short of a public health crisis for many reasons, not the least of which is due to increasing acts of violence, perpetrated by people who clearly were in need of psychological intervention prior to orchestrating catastrophic events.

The advent of the internet has opened up unprecedented doors to access – but, unfortunately, interstate laws in the US (and in some cases, abroad) are preventing consumers from connecting with the care that they want and need. Many people live in rural communities where there’s a dearth of mental health professionals, and – beyond that – live in states where few practitioners provide therapy online. In these instances, because it’s illegal to practice psychotherapy over state lines (with rare exceptions) – people are unable to access therapy online OR in person, and are left without any resources at all. It’s an antiquated system that’s badly in need of an update.

Meanwhile, life coaching resources abound and the market is growing, due to lack of regulations and an absence of governing bodies. This isn’t a bad thing in-and-of itself (I personally have no problem with coaching and, in fact, offer coaching resources as part of my practice). The dilemma arises when the need is truly for mental healthcare as opposed to simply “personal development.” On behalf of the individuals who truly need access to psychology online, we owe it to them update this antediluvian system.

The good news is that – while the laws may be outdated – the private sector is stepping up to the plate, and a number of platforms are now offer state-specific resources for people who need (or would just prefer) to get their therapy online.

We’re not done yet, but my hope is that with time we’ll be able to meet this need that people clearly have for quality psychotherapy, on their terms.