Is therapy “Appable?”

Teenage Boy on Mobile Phone

A client asked me are apps good for therapy?

Sounds like a strange question.

However I had no idea, so I said I will find out.

Mark Kassal in his article for Men's Health. researched  Therapy apps that had bots (Artificial Intelligence. AI)

According to Kassal article, some people choose apps because they won't be judged, others believe they are a good stopgap.

So do they and could they work?

I have no idea how anyone feels when they are trying online to contact customer services of a  company, for your mobile, or the gas board, or any other company, and you see the live chat button.

It feels accessible, easy and immediate, so then it asks how can I help, you put in your issue and it brings lots of different headings for you to choose from, you don’t see your issue there, they then have no answer and have to refer you back to customer service only for you to be in a queue for however long and to be told you are 24th inline. I cannot tell you how angry, yes angry and frustrated that makes me.

Now imagine you are feeling, well, something but you are not sure what.

Let me introduce you to my case study.

(fictional, however, some of the details are taken from my experience)

I believe we need to explore the therapeutic relationship, the reasons your seeking help, or the need to talk to someone, anyone.

Client

Marie.

36 year old

Works in accounts in the city.

Dating Ben 39years old.

It’s a new relationship but it’s a strong and loving relationship.

Marie called asking to see me, we discussed what it is she felt she needed, Marie didn’t understand why she was feeling low, her relationship was everything she wanted, her work was good and her health was good.

Marie would wake up feeling panicky and scared, she would go to bed, her mind racing, did she finish the accounts for her customer, did she email the report, that was needed for in the morning.

Marie felt she was losing her confidence and that Ben had noticed she was quiet, she was sure he was going to be sick of her soon and that he would leave.

We had many session of therapy and through the therapy, we explored Marie past relationships and why they didn’t last.

Marie had 2 serious relationships, or what Marie termed serious, 1 when she was 19 years old, they met At work, she worked in a bank he was a trainee manager, it was a very passionate relationship, they were together 2 years when Marie became pregnant, this was not planned and both were shocked.

It was agreed that they wouldn’t keep the pregnancy and so they decided on a termination.

 

Marie felt they had decided this together, however, her boyfriend after a few months stated it was her choice, and this would cause arguments resulting in the relationship ending acrimoniously.

Marie next long term relationship was a couple of years later he was older, divorced and had 2 grown children and didn’t want any more children, Marie felt this was ok as she didn’t want children.

This relationship lasted until Marie was 28 years old, Marie felt it became tired and both became bored and so decided to end.

Marie then embarked on no-commitment relationships until she met Ben.

However, this relationship seemed to trigger feelings of anxiety and feeling low.

During therapy it became clear Marie had unresolved feelings and emotions around her previous termination, and also the guilt she was left with from her ex, we explored these feelings and worked on her guilt and loss.

Her decision to not have or want children has not changed, Ben feels the same, however, it became apparent that  Marie had lost confidence in herself to maintain a long term relationship and that ben would eventually tire of her and leave.

We worked through these feelings and Marie remained in her relationship with Ben.

 

So this is an example of how an app would not be able to help, and could indeed send a client in a direction that would not be right for the client.

Stephanie Goldoff in her article for good housekeeping has researched various Apps as an option to find a face to face therapists, rather than the traditional way of going through a directory, however, these can be costly.

If you are telling yourself you are too busy to sit down with a therapist, consider how many hours you spend on your physical fitness to look good and then ask yourself would go to the gym for 1 hour a week and expect amazing results?

I think we are in a world where we want it and we want it now.

We say we are all busy, too busy to spend time sitting for an hour with a therapist.

so to answer my clients' question Is therapy “Appable?” we put so much more importance on other things rather than our mental health, that I would say NO an app is not ok for therapy.