Therapy has always represented a decidedly hands-on medical field. In the most traditional form, this practice involves organic interactions between the doctor and the patient, leading to quantifiable and beneficial outcomes. Whether referring to a physiotherapist or a family counsellor, the inherent principles are the same. However, it is impossible to deny that we are now living within the digital age. Might there come a time when an artificial intelligence program is able to accurately diagnose an illness simply by interpreting the online interactions that take place with a human counterpart? Although this is not likely to come to pass anytime soon, we still have to recognise the fact that many therapists are plying their trade within the digital community in order to reach a larger audience and to help individuals who might have otherwise been left to suffer alone. What are some of the benefits attributed to this movement and are there any concerns to openly address?
Virtual Help is Only a Click Away
While certain therapeutic fields (such as exercise physiology) will always require live interactions between doctors and patients, the same cannot always be said for the mental health and holistic communities. There are many individuals who actually prefer the rather anonymous nature of online therapy, particularly if they suffer from conditions such as agoraphobia. In fact, the chances are high that they might not have chosen to seek help otherwise.
This is why a growing number of professionals are choosing to make their social media presence known within specific circles. While some opt to sell Facebook pages that are associated with a certain product or service, others are merely interested in offering their experience to a wider audience base that would be difficult to access with traditional therapeutic methods.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
The observations mentioned above bring up an interesting point. Would an influx of virtual therapists into social media circles create more problems than solutions? The main concern here is that it can be difficult to determine the qualifications of an individual who claims to be an “expert” within his or her field. Wrong or inexperienced advice could very well result in a grave outcome.
Furthermore, we have to keep in mind that the ability to access a therapist could even increase one’s feelings of isolation. After all, it is no longer necessary to leave home in order to receive mental help. The ramifications behind such observations are not yet known and still, we have to wonder if the notion of online therapy might one day be taken too far.
We must nonetheless mention that the presence of respected e-commerce providers such as Shopify has opened up an entire new world for those who are honestly looking to market their bespoke services to an online audience. The fact that social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter are massively popular clearly illustrates that many individuals prefer to interact via such portals, a trend that should continue to gain momentum.