Meaghan Rigler explains why online therapy may be a solution for men who hesitate to seek therapy.
Before the days of GoogleMaps and GPS, many men drove around lost refusing to ask for directions. To many men, asking for directions is comparable to asking for help which equates to a certain weakness many men don’t wish to admit to. As Fordham University psychology professor Jay Wade explains, men are self-reliant; they like to do things themselves. Unfortunately, studies show that men who think like this actually experience worse relationships with their significant others, higher rates of illnesses, and even earlier death. Thus, we should not be surprised when we read that in 2007, only 2.12 men out of 100 in the United States sought treatment for depression.
Further, of those men, only 42.5% chose talk therapy versus taking a prescription pill. Is there a correlation between men being socialized to disregard their feelings and the fact that they account for nearly 8 out of 10 suicides in the United States today? Maybe. But one thing is for sure; there needs to be a change in the way therapy is perceived and received so that the younger generation of boys will grow up knowing that asking for help and going to therapy is acceptable.
Fortunately, there is a revolutionary new trend merging the mental health and technology industries. Online therapy, and the ability to connect with a therapist from the comfort of one’s own home, is changing the face of traditional counseling. Therapy has typically involved traveling to an office and sitting in a waiting room full of people you hope you do not know. Patients then sit in an uncomfortable office and are expected to flip a switch and unload their innermost feelings. This can be difficult for anyone, but men in particular tend to struggle with traditional forms of therapy. Often times men do not know exactly what they are feeling and – more importantly – cannot articulate it. Online therapy is the solution to many of these pitfalls. The privacy of one’s own home is unparalleled.
Men and boys who feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek treatment or who fear someone finding out, can now connect with a therapist from their house with 100% security. This security creates a comfortable environment and a relaxed atmosphere which promotes a more open, therapeutic session. Studies have shown that people are more willing to talk about embarrassing or stigmatizing topics if they are not interacting face to face with a therapist.
Hearkn, an online therapy platform specializing in issues affecting adolescents and parents, offers guidance, advice, and support by licensed therapists who are skilled at providing help to this demographic. Hearkn is paving the way for creating a change in the way America thinks about traditional
One day, the stigma of therapy for men and woman will be removed. The iconic symbol of Freud’s couch will be replaced with the comfort of one’s own couch…and laptop.
Photo: Flickr/Fox Valley Institute