When Should You Use An App, And When Should You See A Counselor?
Seeking help for a mental health issue is the right step, but smartphone culture has added another twist: the mental health app. These apps range from guides to meditation to actual counseling apps that allow you to connect via text or phone to a therapist. These apps offer a great way to test the waters, but their viability past that may vary for different situations. If you're in a region where counselors exist (more on this odd wording in just a bit), you need to look at your specific situation to see if these apps are good for you or if you really do need to seek in-person counseling.
The Obvious: When Counselors Aren't Available
Just because an area has counselors doesn't mean you can actually access them. So, you might live in a town where mental health counselors have offices and provide therapy -- they exist -- but you can't afford them, their therapeutic style doesn't fit your needs, or you find your personalities clash badly. Or, services are in such demand that you simply can't get in to see any. In those cases, starting off with a mental health app can be a great idea, not only for the access and affordability, but also because those counselors may know of other resources you can use in person.
Consistency of Care
When you need therapy, you also need consistency of care. Seeing the same therapist is essential to creating a steady path to progress. A few apps do allow you to match up with a particular therapist, which is a big help -- yet others connect you with the therapeutic equivalent of a call center, where you may end up texting or talking to different people who refer to your file, rather than to knowledge built up over time regarding your case. If you can't get consistent care via the app, but you can find someone in person, going with in-person therapy is a much better idea.
Severity and Longevity
Also at issue are the severity and longevity of your problems. Moderate depression due to grief from a death is much different from severe depression due to brain chemistry and requiring medication. Milder conditions, those that don't need medication, and those that may be shorter-term than other conditions are better suited to app use. The more severe the condition, the more medication involved, and the more permanent the issue, the more you need to see a therapist in person if at all possible. An app is still better than nothing if you have absolutely no other choice, but in-person therapy is better suited to severe conditions.
Apps are definitely not useless; they have expanded the availability of help to people who otherwise couldn't or wouldn't go. And they are a wonderful way to test out therapy methods. In-person mental health counseling, however, is still the best way to go for many. Contact an office, such as Dr Kuris Counseling Centers, for more assistance.