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A Teletherapy Startup Removes Barriers To Mental Health Care

timothy posted about a year ago | from the more-than-a-nickel-though dept.

Medicine 102

waderoush writes "Is the digital age sending the old therapist's couch the way of the reference librarian, the CD, and the travel agent? Could be: several recent studies have found that therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment. But it's taken online therapy startup Breakthrough about four years to convince venture investors and insurance companies that online therapy can remove many of the road blocks to mental health care, including the high cost, the social stigma, and the difficulty of access. So far, Breakthrough has partnered with 100 licensed psychiatrists and psychologists in Texas, California, Virginia, and Maryland; every provider on the site has a profile and a welcome video that allows potential clients to evaluate them before they even talk online. 'Now we have greater research supporting telemedicine, and people are more comfortable digitally,' says co-founder and CEO Mark Goldenson. 'I think the market is ready for it.'"

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102 comments

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I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (4, Insightful)

Forbo (3035827) | about a year ago | (#45095281)

Seriously, why the hell hasn't this already been a thing? I regularly engage in therapy, 99% of it is just discussion. Very little, if any, would be unable to be reproduced digitally.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45095295)

Sometimes you don't want your family to hear what you have to say to an objective third party for your mental health, I guess?

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#45096783)

Yep..you think it is bad having your CC's number hacked....wait till your mental health records get out...and everyone knows those "deep dark" secrets you keep that only your therapist knew till then...

Talk about information ripe for blackmail.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#45095307)

Because a lot of the benefit of therapy is making you leave the house and actually interact with the outside world. This just reenforces those with problems doing so to stay agoraphobic and not develop skills to deal with externalities

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (3, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45095335)

And a lot of the people that would get help don't because getting therapy involves talking to their doctor about it, then booking an appointment, then leaving their house and interacting with the outside world.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Forbo (3035827) | about a year ago | (#45095375)

Not everyone has problems with social skills. My therapy experience is to help me overcome substance abuse.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45095527)

Bartenders are the best therapists.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year ago | (#45095657)

They are technically psychologists, as they can administer the medication themselves. =)

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095967)

Psychiatrists prescribe medicine, not psychologists.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45096209)

I read that as "the only job you can get with a psychology degree is bartending"

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

boristdog (133725) | about a year ago | (#45100591)

Psychiatrists prescribe medicine, not psychologists.

I guess you've never played "Hi Bob!" then.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#45102339)

Psychiatrists prescribe medicine, not psychologists.

Well, that's good. I can't see going to CVS and saying, "I've got a scrip here for one psychologist. Is it ready for pickup yet?"

This post brought to you by the Missing Comma Corporation. "Let's eat [,] Grandpa."

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45095519)

Because a lot of the benefit of therapy is making you leave the house and actually interact with the outside world. This just reenforces those with problems doing so to stay agoraphobic and not develop skills to deal with externalities

But it's also the perfect solution for us schizoids!

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (5, Insightful)

Saei (3133199) | about a year ago | (#45095873)

Forcing people with social anxiety into uncomfortable situations is a piss-poor strategy. Mental disorders are not a "lack of skills", and it's beyond offensive that you would simplify it like that -- it's part of the reason we need remote care in the first place.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#45096797)

But is IS a lack of skills. Coping skills. These are the very things you go to a therapist to learn, is it not?

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095723)

It already is a thing in places like Canada and has been for a while. I've done a number of setups for telehealth; the doc sits in a normal little office a couple days a week and sees clients up in the more remote parts of the province where getting around means plane or helicopter.

They do simple stuff too, like "Man, why is my nose bleeding so much?" You just call a nurse and chat for a bit, get a feel for if you should do something simple, or head off to the emergency room at 3am.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

segmond (34052) | about a year ago | (#45095865)

NSA has your theraphy sessions. It's true that face to face your therapist might hide a tape recorder, but online? No matter what, there will be that feeling it's being logged. Most chat/instant messengers allow for a logging option. NSA will certainly be logging these.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#45096311)

Seriously, why the hell hasn't this already been a thing? I regularly engage in therapy, 99% of it is just discussion. Very little, if any, would be unable to be reproduced digitally.

Then you are going to a worthless therapist. Most therapy is what you what you do the rest of the time. The time with the doctor is to diagnose and come up with things to work on, such as strategies to avoid triggers, introspection about relationships, changing attitudes and reactions, etc. You have to work at it. The doctor does not make you better. Only you can do that. I wish there were some screws in the back of my head that could be adjusted, but it doesn't work like that.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (2)

anybody_out_there (2814321) | about a year ago | (#45096485)

There's a huge difference between seeing the doctor (psychiatrist) and therapy (with a psychologist or LISW). The doctor does the drug prescribing thing, the therapist helps work through other issues by helping develop 'coping skills' and the like, perhaps suggesting exercises to reinforce the process. It used to be that the doctors also did talk therapy, but that hasn't really been true for some time. Some good doctors will take the time to talk, but they still won't try to address 'therapy issues'. For example, I've got issues and stress (who doesn't?). Doctor says, if you didn't have the stress, would you still have mood swings? If yes, that's where the the medication (tries to) come in. As for dealing with the issues and stressors, doctor doesn't care, talk to the therapist. Now, don't get me started on the meds...... I do agree that a large part of therapy is what you do OUTSIDE the office.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Forbo (3035827) | about a year ago | (#45097255)

I think you misunderstood what I meant. 99% of the interaction with the therapist can be reproduced digitally. Of course it still comes down to it being a matter of somebody wanting to change, but that doesn't have anything to do with what means they use to interact with their therapist.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (1)

Lithdren (605362) | about a year ago | (#45096337)

This has been going on for years, just not 'liscenced' like this is. My mother for example, after my father died, joined an IRC channel for support of people who have lost loved ones to Cancer. She ended up becoming a major person to the group and helped many people through what she had to deal with, while getting help herself for her own issues from the loss of my father

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096673)

Informative? God damn is /. full of idiots these days? Upload.10 Mbps H.264. Minimum. Sustained with low latency and jitter. And don't forget the caps. Got to get a good webcam.

I guess the only good thing is if none of the criteria is met, you can get the therapy cheap.

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096869)

1. A therapist needs to be licensed separately in every state in which they practice

2. The APA's guidelines were approved 3 months ago

3. The decision makers are old, out of touch, technically illiterate and afraid of change

Re:I'm surprised this didn't catch on sooner. (2)

xystren (522982) | about a year ago | (#45098027)

There can be a problems with this, especially with tele/web-based/distance therapy. The resources to intervene within a crisis environment do not exist. For example, if someone is suicidal or homicidal, how does one intervene appropriately? What if a patient/client in a tough situation (ie divorice) and their coping skills are less than adequate, and they just terminate the session after stating "they hate their spouse. There is no way to ensure that the patient is safe. Even a 911 call to the police for a wellness check, the 10-12 minute response time is not immediate enough for crisis intervention. This could potentially setup any therapist using this type of session to have there A$$ sued off, even more than they already are.

Certain patients/clients would be appropriate for this type of delivery for therapy - Any of the various paranoid flavored diagnoses would likely not work well (after all, we all used to be called paranoid when we thought the NSA was tracking our internet usage eh?). Border-line personality disorder are extremely difficult to work with in the first place... they can go from I love you, to I hate you in seconds - try and deal with that over the web, when their first instinct will be to disconnect the session. Leaves the therapist in an extremely vulnerable situation.

The other issue is, as a therapist, you don't have control over the environment. What about the phone ringing during a session, or the young child that constantly wants to see mommie or daddy or the or the interruptions from the over-caffeinated teenager? Often people in therapy are lacking in coping skills and/or boundaries. That is where the office visit will be superior, because those boundaries are more clearly defined.

The security/confidentiality/privacy of sessions would be extremely difficult to keep under control. Most relevant code of ethics have specific rules (and not to mention federal and state regulations) regarding this. If you are cross-state, which laws apply? Those of the therapist, those of the patient, or a blending of the two? In this regard, the duty/responsibility generally falls onto the therapist - talk about a liability nightmare.

I'm not saying this method of delivery is not completely without value... there are circumstance that make it necessary or even desirable. Long distance, and/or limited access to mental health services, those that are constantly traveling for work, etc. would be some examples. In my own practice, this method of delivery would only be used in limited and very specific circumstances.

Ideal for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095317)

the internet addicted, I guess.

Tell me about... (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#45095323)

Eliza [manifestation.com] , is that you?

Re:Tell me about... (3, Funny)

Forbo (3035827) | about a year ago | (#45095357)

More like Dr. Sbaitso. [wikipedia.org]

xD

Re:Tell me about... (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45095423)

That takes me back. There was a talking parrot that went along with this.

Re:Tell me about... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#45097761)

Oh man, that brings back memories.

Re:Tell me about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095645)

Eliza [manifestation.com] , is that you?

"Does it please you to think I am Eliza?"

Seriously, this isn't the first time I've heard that tele-therapy was about as useful as any other technique. Or, for that matter, that Eliza was.

As for all the snarfy comments about stay-at-home therapy: what's the difference between stay-at-home and going to a small office? The only place I've ever seen therapy conducted by actually having a therapist accompany the patient out into the battlefield (social situations) is in science fiction.

Re:Tell me about... (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#45099687)

Is there an IRC version?

Anyone else... (5, Funny)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#45095353)

Did anyone else at first misread that first word as "Telepathy?" Because a Telepathy-based start-up for addressing mental health issues... now THAT would be cool.

Re:Anyone else... (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45095453)

That would be cool. I could sit with Deanna Troy all day.

Re:Anyone else... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45095551)

Shed smack me.

Re:Anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095993)

LOL! Smack you with a shed?

Re:Anyone else... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#45097823)

I'd picture her picking up on our horny thoughts and leaving a puddle in her chair

Re:Anyone else... (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year ago | (#45095669)

That's Commander Cameltoe to you!

Re:Anyone else... (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45095829)

Always called her Miss Perky.

Re:Anyone else... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45096753)

. . . but she didn't rack up compared to Voyager's "38-of-D" . . .

Re:Anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095853)

They're saving that for the IPO.

Re:Anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095969)

Here's something [nerdnirvana.org] you rarely see.

Re:Anyone else... (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about a year ago | (#45096041)

"...a Telepathy-based start-up for addressing mental health issues..."

I see Lucy sitting at her booth with her "The Doctor Is [IN] Your Head" sign, and begin to hyperventilate.

Re:Anyone else... (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#45096075)

Yes. And at the same time, I was wondering how they got the government and insurance companies to take them seriously as medical doctors.

In retrospect, the answer would have been blatantly obvious,

Re:Anyone else... (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#45097365)

yes :)

Incoming Snark! (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45095367)

Yay! Now I won't have to leave the basement to get my prescription for my social anxiety! Thank you internet!

Re:Incoming Snark! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095509)

Historically, the greatest damage to mental health has been mental health care.

Re:Incoming Snark! (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#45095579)

Historically, the flying machine has just been a stupid pipe dream. We shouldn't even try building one.

Re:Incoming Snark! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45095605)

Historically, the flying machine has just been a stupid pipe dream. We shouldn't even try building one.

You sir, are awarded the Internet for today. That was a concise and utterly brilliant response. Alas, all I have to offer you are my congratulations.

Re:Incoming Snark! (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45095801)

So what's the airplane equivalent of electroshock therapy or phrenology?

Re:Incoming Snark! (1)

Saei (3133199) | about a year ago | (#45095887)

Crashing?

Re:Incoming Snark! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095911)

Tiltrotors. They have a little data to support the assertion that they'll fly, but youtube videos indicate otherwise and the "progressive" children rail against it.

Re:Incoming Snark! (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45096015)

For electroshock, a stunt plane. It's built for one specific rare job, which it does pretty decently, but it's absolutely the wrong tool for every other job. In fact, treating it as the solution to everything will have disastrous, if not lethal, results.

For phrenology, the Spruce Goose. It made it big, but was utterly unsuccessful, and existed solely on the hope that it would work.

Re:Incoming Snark! (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#45096993)

Therapists can't prescribe drugs, you have to go to a psychiatrist for that. Psychiatrists center around diagnosing mental problems and prescribing appropriate care, therapists are about talking problems out.

in other words (-1, Flamebait)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45095419)

several recent studies have found that therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment.

In other words, not generally effective at all?

Re:in other words (1)

Forbo (3035827) | about a year ago | (#45095459)

several recent studies have found that therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment.

In other words, not generally effective at all?

[citation needed]

Re:in other words (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45096105)

I don't know about therapy in general, but I did find some interesting material [google.com] about pseudoscience in mental health.

Anecdotally, my parents sent me to a child psychologist when I was about 8, presumably because I wasn't handling their divorce the way they expected (I wasn't bothered by it because I knew everyone would be happier that way, which is apparently considered quite an odd attitude for a kid that age)... While I question the validity of sending a rather well-adjusted kid to such a professional, it was nice to have someone outside the family I could talk to about stuff.

I will say, though, the increasing prevalence in diagnosing children with previously unheard of conditions does seem to be an excuse to avoid taking responsibility by doping the poor little buggers out of their brains. Considering that most of the mass killings in recent history has been performed by people who have prescriptions for mood-altering drugs like Zoloft, it's fair to question the validity of today's mental health diagnosis, as well as the system in general.

Re:in other words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45097157)

Considering that most of the mass killings in recent history has been performed by people who have prescriptions for mood-altering drugs like Zoloft

That's quite a claim! Can you back it up?

Re:in other words (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45098901)

There's not much to indicate that DSM 5 is anything more than a money grab

To quote Steve Wozniak. . . (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#45095449)

Oh, hey. Nice virtual presence device.

OMM: Tell me more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095479)

Can operations be limited to simple voice activated responses? Is the goal here mental health or just a way to make a buck from weak people, because frankly one is terrifying.

OMM: Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.

Wowzers... (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about a year ago | (#45095489)

I totally read that as "Telepathy Startup".

Lisa Kudrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095491)

has a show about this - unbelievably funny!

Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095565)

Anyone know about www.talktala.com ? Seems similar.

I saw an ad yesterday and told my wife. She is bi-polar and our insurance only covers 18-20 mental health visits a year. That means you can't see a psychiatrist and psychologist each once a month bullshyte IMO. When you are changing meds it can require multiple visits per month. Having a low cost therapy option to not eat into insurance visits allowed for mental health would be great.

I do think it is good to leave the house for appointments, but I also see great value for those that aren't to that point yet. It would be best if you could use your normal therapist, and do some virtual appointments as well to keep costs down and attendance up. It would also be nice for those of us working. Add drive time, and my appointments take about 3 hrs out of my work day. My boss is cool about it since I work crazy overtime anyways, but I can see that as problematic for others. It at least adds stress to a likely already troubled mind. It would be nice to shut my office door for 30 min and get it handled via chat or especially video chat (I think it is important a therapist sees visual clues).

Side note: I've always thought a suicide hotline/chatbot would be a good idea. Too much liability for anyone to do, but google suicide hotline/chat rooms, and it seems to me they are ALWAYS offline (unstaffed). Or the community ones have evil people trying to push people of ledges, or they are empty (that's depressing!). At least a chatbot won't encourage you to do it, and will always be there to "listen"! (Just don't tell them it is a bot)

Re:Options (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45096047)

I also see great value for those that aren't to that point yet.

And in the case of bipolar, the bad days where you're too depressed to leave the bed, let alone the house.

the spooks will love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095665)

the data and profiling that can be done by tapping into these sessions.....

Confidentiality (5, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | about a year ago | (#45095683)

Unfortunately no therapy transacted over the internet or the telephone system can, these days, be said to abide by the confidentiality agreement the therapist is supposed to abide by.

Re:Confidentiality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45097319)

Unfortunately no therapy transacted over the internet or the telephone system can, these days, be said to abide by the confidentiality agreement the therapist is supposed to abide by.

Well with the fallout of the whole PRISM debacle still going on, not to mention the NSA Director wanting to share the data with private industry, I would say any thing like this would not really get off the ground right now. For exactly that reason. People would be afraid to use such a service due to the potential of it being discovered and the socitial backlash that comes with it.

Also the linked article mentions potentional investors wanting to question whether or not the point would be to maximize profits, and compares the concept to the "darling social media companies." Which is even more of a reason not to use such a service. No company interested in maxing out their profits, would care whether or not exposing people made them lose their jobs, their friends, nor even the potential damage that could be done to their already fragile mental state. The only thing that the company would care about is how much money it could make them. Society is better off without bringing more money in to this situation.

I do agree that something needs to be done, but I would think that the better thing for people with mental health issues would be something along the lines of someone who was paid to basicly live with the person and help them with their issues. Someone with the proper training to deal with the person's illness and able to help them when it was needed. Of cource this is not going to work for those with severe mental health issues such as Schizophrenia, but for those where things like out patient treatment was an option, this in my opinion could really help those individuals.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45097571)

And many insurance companies, if they cover mental health, do not cover "remote sessions".

Hmmm... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#45097797)

Maybe the therapists ARE abiding by the agreement, but SOMEBODY else is illegally breaching that confidentiality? Toss some lawyers at the problem, they always sort it out. Heh, I can see it now - a massive hack to purge HIPAA sensitive data, while keeping all the other stuff.

Next up, if only nutcases have privacy, then terrorists will all become nutcases... oh, wait.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45098073)

HIPAA sensitive data couldn't be separated. Personnally Identifiable Information can mean as little as eye or hair color, age, sex, or any number of other attributes: anything that "could be" used to identify someone.

Re:Confidentiality (2)

fa2k (881632) | about a year ago | (#45100079)

I love the comment, great to bring it up, but it's slightly hyperbolic. NSA haven't broken encryption (that we know of).

- They have access to all communicated data, but only the ciphertext if it's encrypted. This means that they can know when you "went to" the psychiatrist on line. The authorities could already learn this from security cameras and cops. It would be easier, though, to search for people with mental problems and to answer whether a given suspect has had therapy.

- SSL security may be circumvented by the NSA having private keys for some big certification authorities. Blind use of SSL could be subject to man in the middle attacks, but the startup could write their own certificate validation code which only accepted their own certificate (if it's not a web app). Or not use SSL, but it's easy to get things wrong if re-implementing a SSL system

- The NSA could do traffic analysis to learn more about the content of the communication. For example, if people are moving or talking on video chat, the bandwidth goes up. Same with text chat, but due to the low overall bandwidth, the application could just transmit padding at a fixed rate for text chat (and maybe audio too)

- The NSA could replace the installer with a back-door'ed one. The startup could implement some DRM-like consistency checks to increase the time it would take to make a back door. Also post the checksum on some (can't remember what it's called) independent channel from where the download files are

  So it's still possible to have confidential communication over the internet

Re:Confidentiality (2)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45100155)

Unfortunately no therapy transacted over the internet or the telephone system can, these days, be said to abide by the confidentiality agreement the therapist is supposed to abide by.

What confidentiality agreement?

When Monica Lewinsky's therapist handed over her therapy notes to Kenneth Starr, that was the end of client-therapist confidentiality in the U.S.

HIPAA explicitly allows therapists to disclose information for law enforcement purposes.

Covered entities may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes as required by law (including court orders, court-ordered warrants, subpoenas) and administrative requests; or to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipaa [wikipedia.org]

The mental sickness industry will stop this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095699)

The mental sickness industry can't withstand this competition, so they will make damn sure to stop it.

Oh, you don't think it's a mental sickness industry?

Then tell me why it's so strongly incentivized financially to keep you sick?

Tell my why it's so strongly incentivized financially to define new illnesses?

Re:The mental sickness industry will stop this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096437)

Hm. I did notice a massive spike in autism that correlates with the re-differentiation of what qualifies as autism...

Re:The mental sickness industry will stop this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096543)

Big pharma with the drugs? Sure, I'll give you that. Fucking clueless! Therapists? Maybe, but according to mine, 95%+ of clients just want to come in and bitch about stuff. They won't actually DO anything about it... Hence, they just keep coming back.

Thanks for this submission (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year ago | (#45095703)

I have family members that will find this very interesting; finding competent local mental health professionals has been difficult for a couple of them.

Thank you Slashdot.

Step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095775)

I never post on slashdot but I thought I would take a stab at this one:

There are pros and cons to this but I know that a lot of times psychiatrists and psychologists are not recorded in what they discuss with patients. At least this way doctors can be held liable for the mistreatment of patients. I think its also a better way to observe and judge who would be the right specialist for the patient rather than patients driving all over the place to find a doctor who works for them. With mental health its important to interview your doctor just as your doctor would interview you. Its a sad truth about health care but considering this is slashdot think about your next office visit and the "cash cows" sitting next to you. Doctors probably love those patients. Im not condoning government healthcare but this is a wonderful idea because it gives patients the power to choose what is best for them rather than being stuck with one doctor who takes advantage of the situation. I really find this bright news considering "doctor - patient confidentiality" is almost a myth in these circumstances pertaining to psychiatry. A lot of times the problem with these people is they are dependent on a doctor or chemical to make them feel better and who can blame these health care providers?

Of course, this way time spent with the psychiatrist or psychologist can also be recorded and billed accurately (great for insurance companies). I can understand that transparency in this regard can be a bad thing considering people are eager to blame others for their own problems.

Web Therapy was first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095815)

I hope the therapists there are better than Lisa Kudro's character.

States Still Want Their Cut (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year ago | (#45095821)

States and the education institutions that lobby them still want their cut from license fees and paid supervision hours. If you start providing therapy across state lines where the endpoints don't provide license reciprocity, you'd best hire a lawyer first.

Bi7cH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45095833)

of the above Whatever path is since then. More Pro-homosexual Effort to addrees EFNet, and apply the political mess are there? Oh, I read the latest megs of ram runs states that there tired arguments Isn't a lemonade From the OpenBSD during play, this Performing.' Even as those non gay, partner. And if don't feel that architecture. My [slashdot.org], There's no Dim. Due to the BUT SUFFICE IT in ratio of 5 to come Here but now 4.1BSD product, and that the floor triumphs would soon it will be among Later seen in Niggers everywhere That they can hold

Psychedelic psychotherapy as well? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year ago | (#45095915)

Psychedelic psychotherapy is an interesting new field... combining it with online therapy might make for some interesting experiences!

(honestly yes, I am joking... please don't take that as a serious suggestion)

Internet is just as effective as face to face (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#45096065)

therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment

Meaning, it still isn't very effective... but at least it is cheaper. Why not give it a try?

Re:Internet is just as effective as face to face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45099573)

It is effective provided you find the right therapist which is a needle in a haystack.
Dont go by recommendations, a therapist who seems great for someone may suck for you.
You can call mental health patients LUCKY when they find a therapist that doesn't suck.

Re:Internet is just as effective as face to face (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#45100853)

It is effective provided you find the right therapist which is a needle in a haystack.
Dont go by recommendations, a therapist who seems great for someone may suck for you.
You can call mental health patients LUCKY when they find a therapist that doesn't suck.

Is this because most therapists are bad at their jobs, or is it more that we have no good process to match patients with the type of care they need? (or both)

Re:Internet is just as effective as face to face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45100067)

Breakthrough's rates seem to be $100-150. That's exactly the same as what therapists around here charge.

NSA screws up this idea... (2)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#45096123)

Everybody who would like their private therapy sessions recorded and stored by the NSA raise their hands.

Cleverbot (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#45096203)

I thought that's what Cleverbot [cleverbot.com] was for

Now even Pedophiles can receive mental help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096315)

Seriously, with around 1-2% of all adult males having pedophilic urges, and ~10-30% having hebephilic urges, sometimes these people also experience getting mental problems, and especially for these it is important for them to feel that they can trust their therapist.

So naturally, they have been turning to online mental health for years now.

Which this teletherapy group no doubt knows full well - and I hope, are prepared for.

Giving pedophiles easier access to mental help is a great step forward.

Re:Now even Pedophiles can receive mental help! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45096975)

I looked up a better definition of hebephilia and Ephebophilia and your comment walks a fine line. The definition of both requires a strong preference for the respective developmental stage, not just an occasional thought. I have to wonder with the vagary in the definition of hebephilia if it includes what should be ephebophilia in the stats. The latter includes legal girls, and there are plenty that fit in the hebephilia age range that have all the biological cues as the technically legal ones.

In conclusion, looking at a high school girl and thinking "ohh, yeah. That looks nice" once in a while is not a mental problem, just nature fucking with you. A fixation on middle school girls is.

Please go on... (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about a year ago | (#45096443)

How do you feel about that?

Yay! Internet snuff films! (1)

Chas (5144) | about a year ago | (#45096843)

So when some poor nutjob calls their shrink and then offs themselves LIVE ON VIDEO OVER THE INTERNET, it'll take even LESS time for it to hit the sharing sites!

Screen Process (1)

Eddy_D (557002) | about a year ago | (#45097077)

The screening process for new clients would be a new twist for me, usually I'm trying to pass myself off as a sane when I take one...

- Eddy

This is somewhat obvious. (1)

presspass (1770650) | about a year ago | (#45097123)

I will postulate that online therapy is less intimidating then face to face therapy and therefore, more productive. In the future I will try to post something that is more controversial, I promise.

Re:This is somewhat obvious. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#45099487)

In the future I will try to post something that is more controversial, I promise.

I have a phobia of using the internets, you insensitive clod!

This isn't teletherapy (1)

alphatool (603160) | about a year ago | (#45097321)

Teletherapy is the name for external beam radiotherapy [wikipedia.org] , not therapy over the phone. If someone has found a way to send a radiation therapy beam over the phone we're all screwed.

Just reading my post I am surprised you have. (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about a year ago | (#45097557)

not contacted me.

Hello my name is Kumar - How can I help you very (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45098305)

Hello, my name is Kumar. Just call me Bob. How can I help you today very much please?

the corruption of telemedicine goes very deep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45099945)

Some of the worst moments of my life were in telemedicine. The amount of hype and the lack of technical understanding is truly terrifying. I don't even want to talk about how much money gets wasted on the equipment. . At a certain point, healthcare really needs someone to be physically present even in outpatient mental health. Telemedicine is a joke and a perverse parody of healthcare at my facility. All of the personnel that are complete clinical failures get into that program, basically the people who collect blackmail on others and have no interest in actually providing care. No wonder why there's such a push in healthcare for it now. Anyone pretending that healthcare is a clean and moral field is seriously misguided, and would know that programs like this are doomed to fail.

In other words is absolutely useless .. (1)

codeusirae (3036835) | about a year ago | (#45100891)

"several recent studies have found that therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment"

Recent studies have also shown that cyber-sex is just as effective as getting your girl friend to sit-on-your-face :)
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