How Technology Changed the Landscape for Therapy & Mental Health Professionals

Table of Contents

The Internet Changes Everything

Technology, specifically the Internet, has made its mark on every industry in the world. You simply can’t look at a product or service without discovering their online presence. In many cases, lots of companies have made their online presence most, if not all, of their business model. But there’s one industry that has been heavily changed by the Internet and most people don’t even realize it: mental health.

Like most industries, the Internet has changed the way therapy and mental health services are delivered and marketed. Where things get different though is that the Internet has also changed the need for these services as well.

The Positive

The Internet has changed the world of mental health in many positive ways. From patients to providers, the benefits of technology are abundant.

For Therapy Patients

While telemedicine and telehealth have been around for many years, being easily able to connect with a counselor via modern formats (text, video chat, etc…) is relatively new. Long gone are the days where finding a therapist or counselor was strictly a local endeavor. For people who live in less populated areas, technology has increased their accessibility to good service providers. The overall result is more people can get the help they need.

helping hand therapy
Technology has increased accessibility to quality mental health services | Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For Therapy Providers

Before the age of the Internet, if you wanted to have a career as a counselor, you had to live or relocate to a highly populated area and buy or rent an expensive office space. But the Internet has changed that. You can now help people you’ve never met in person and build a career as an online counselor. From a business standpoint, the mental health industry can now service patients with an almost unlimited market reach.

The Negative

Like most things with the Internet, the news isn’t all great. While the Internet brings incredible benefits to many industries, it also brings with it some challenges.

For Therapy Patients

It may not come as a surprise that the rise of technology has increased the number of people who feel they are in need of mental health services. The use of social media has been associated with a rise in cases of depression indicating the Internet affects our psyche in negative ways. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have tremendous problems with online bullying, trolling, & doxing which have increased suicide rates in young people.

For Therapy Providers

While an increased need for mental health services due to technology might seem to be a boon for mental health providers, the reality is that they can be overburdened. The cases and types of issues experienced by today’s population require counselors to learn how to deal with an entirely new set of triggers & causes. And there are millions more people out there who need help.

Another challenge for mental health providers, especially those that practice solely online, are regulatory. No longer does a mental health professional have to just deal with the laws of the state and locality where they reside, but they also have to take into account that of all their clients. If an online therapist has clients in all 50 states, then they must be aware of the rules and regulations of each state.

man on tablet
Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a mental health service provider or someone in need of mental health services, knowing how technology has changed the way you give or receive help is important in making the right decisions. If you’re a person seeking support, you are no longer limited to your locality to find amazing help. And if you’re a therapist, you’re no longer limited to helping only those individuals nearby – you can help people around the world!

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.

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