It’s the spring of 2015, and I am providing online counseling at Talkspace, an internet-based mental health clinic with easy access to counselors and therapists. How did I get here!?
– by Ken Fields, MA, LMHC / Talkspace Therapist.
I received my Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology in the early 1980s. You can bet that at the time, desktop computers – not to mention laptops – weren’t so much as dreamt about by the average person. And, the idea of online counseling seemed even more far out than cell phones. (Oh my, now I am certainly dating myself!)
During my years in graduate school, when there was no Internet to speak of, two main therapeutic approaches dominated the field – I first learned about them in two very different books. One of these is A New Guide to Rational Living (1975) by Dr. Albert Ellis.
Considered a classic in the field, it was one of the first works to advocate Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), which later became known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Today, however, we refer to it as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and it is considered to be the most effective non-medicinal, evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression we have. CBT basically reinforces the popular notion that it is not the situation that makes us anxious or depressed, it’s how we think about it. In other words, CBT has nothing to do with positive thinking, and everything to do with thinking realistically.
The other book is The Seasons of a Man’s Life (1978) by Daniel J. Levinson, and it was hailed as a pioneering theory of human development. It drew from a lot of psychological and sociological research to lay out the various developmental stages people experience throughout their lives. As a matter of fact, the term “midlife crisis” arose from this very body of research. Both works made a great impact on me when I was still a developing therapist, and continue to influence me and my practice today.
In late 2006, I left a job where I had worked for a number of years as a direct service provider, program manager, clinical director, and administrator. I then started building my own online business, offering online counseling and internet-based therapy services. Back then, very few providers (clinics) offered web-based mental health care. There were some, however, and I joined one, then another, and one more after that.
Over the years, numerous mental health practitioners got on the bandwagon. Today, there are many online counseling providers, one of which is Talkspace. It’s very modern, cost-effective, and convenient to use. And, most importantly, it is very effective – different research studies confirm the efficacy of online counseling services!
Talkspace offers, as the motto states, “therapy for how we live today”, because the service can be accessed not only from your primary computer, but also from your smart phone, laptop or tablet, wherever you might be. In some respects, it’s even safer and more private than traditional face-to-face therapy, since you don’t need to go out in public, and when you create your profile it can. Furthermore, internet-based therapy is less expensive to procure – you save money on travel costs, not to mention the headache associated with finding and paying for parking.
My extensive background in CBT and developmental stages, works exceptionally well in the online counseling environment. Much of online therapy is not just about having a safe, supportive, and caring relationship with a therapist. It is about providing up-to-date, effective and practical information that can be used by anyone to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, anger, or any other emotions someone may have trouble managing.
If you need help addressing any of these issues, you can always find me at Talkspace. We all experience various “crisis”, well before and after midlife. These types of events can and should be dealt with. When you sign up for online counseling with Talkspace, you are coupled with a caring and supportive therapist that will do his or her best to make you feel a lot better than you do right now – hopefully i’ll see you there.