Among the many benefits of the technological age we’re in, easier access to counseling is one of them. Telemental health, such as face-to-face online counseling via webcam software, is convenient and easily accessible. Along with the benefits of technology, though, comes risk.
Sherry Turkle, an expert on the shaping of relationships by technology, presents a TED Talk called Connected, but alone? She argues that, in the name of connection, we are losing our ability to communicate with each other and, furthermore, losing our ability to be introspective. Although online communities, like any social media website, allow us to portray our lives whichever way we want, they do not work in helping us understand and know each other the same way organic conversation does.
I will point out that telemental health perhaps has benefits of both in-person communication as well as the connectedness of the Internet. It may encompass both conversation and connection without having to sacrifice one for the other. For example, speaking to a counselor through a computer screen from the comfort of home may allow a person to open up more easily. Because you are speaking to someone in real time, you do not have a chance to revise your words and control what other people see. Turkle argues that revision before presenting yourself online is partly to blame for our inability to communicate with each other face to face.
Check out her full talk here: