Mental Health Is Not A Commodity

Berkeley Psychologist, Therapist


The ads of online therapy brands such as BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Headway have become commonplace in our increasingly virtual world. Today, a typical Google Search for a nearby therapist has become like a game of minesweeper, with these companies positioning themselves with offers to entice people seeking help for various mental health disorders, hoping you will click them.

However, this overflow of brands offering low-cost therapy should barely be surprising. Much like several other parts of our world today, we are seeing companies swarm into the online space aiming to create a digital solution to a physical problem.

However, while this model has produced tremendous results in other industries, most people are quickly discovering that online therapy is not as rosy as these brands have advertised it to be.

Today, there is no shortage of posts that have discussed the many shortcomings of the find-a-therapist-on-our-online-service model. Yet, while there are various reasons that most therapists believe these businesses may struggle in the future, the core reason people cite is that mental health is simply not a commodity.

It is not something that can be packaged up and sold. It is also not an Uber-like service, where it does not matter who my driver is as long as I get to my destination.

Instead, a tremendous level of care and work goes into picking a therapist. This initial groundwork is crucial for developing a long-term relationship of trust and control that is often absent in the instant world of online therapy companies.

Unfortunately, this often leads to unhappy patients unable to get proper help for their issues and displeased therapists who have had their incomes cut out by these various platforms.

Fortunately, there is an alternative option. Local-based therapy has remained one of the best forms of counseling for patients hoping to connect with their therapists and gain peace of mind. If you have been struggling with virtual brands and prefer a more personal connection, please do hesitate to drop by your local private practice.

Online Mental Health From The View of the Patient

Therapists today, such as Dr. Lynn Winsten, cannot overstate the significant demand for mental health care during the sharp peaks of COVID-19. Waking up to the news of lockdowns and spending days or weeks in isolation from others was bound to take a toll on us, and to make matters worse, getting access to in-person care also became impossible for most patients.

Unfortunately, when most people turned online for mental health care during this period, they were often met by companies who had willingly spent thousands of dollars to ensure they were among the first listings on Google. However, while some clients gained some positives from these platforms, several were marred with disappointment.

These let-downs often appeared in the form of privacy violations, therapists ditching the platform halfway through the process, and various other unlawful practices.

If you are searching for help for any mental health issue, such as depression, one of the core things Dr. Lynn Winsten always suggests is that you think in the long run.

Remember, mental health support is a slow and steady hill climb with a therapist to guide you along the way. Unfortunately, most virtual therapeutic platforms often view it as a rat race that can be run in a few days, with profit at the end of the finish line.

On the other hand, most local therapists are always willing to climb up this mountain with you, providing the support and care you need to stand on your own and regain control of your life.

This potential for long-term connection and privacy is one of the core reasons Berkeley therapist Dr. Lynn Winsten always suggests going the local route when choosing a therapist.

Online Mental Health From the View of the Therapist

As a mental health practitioner in the heat of COVID-19, there would have been few places to turn if you hoped to gain more clients. As the government further enforced social distancing and isolation laws, in-person therapy sessions became impossible overnight.

However, while it may have been simple enough for most therapists to create personal telehealth sessions with a Zoom link, they all found their offerings pushed down on Google by companies funded with millions of dollars.

Naturally, for most private practitioners, competing with such companies was impossible. This inability to fight against these large corporations made the phrase, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” a panacea for several therapists across the country.

Unfortunately, the promise of good pay and flexible working times turned out to be no more than a half-truth.

Today, most therapists on these platforms struggle with inhumane working hours and often have to take on multiple clients to make a significant amount of money.

However, as mental health is not a commodity, this often leads to poor client care as most practitioners become overwhelmed with the number of people they have to provide treatment for.

In most cases, these challenging working conditions often lead to therapists abandoning the platforms, forcing clients who may have already taken a significant step to regaining control of their lives to restart at square one.

These limitations remain the core reasons Dr. Lynn Winsten always suggests that people seeking therapists for issues such as depression and anxiety choose to walk hand-in-hand with a local practitioner instead.

By taking this decision, you can remain confident in a fantastic therapeutic experience, a long-term relationship, and the opportunity to transition into in-person therapy.

How is My Local Therapist any Different?

One of the many ways that local therapists stand out from the behemoth virtual services that are beginning to rule the online space today is where they choose to place their focus. For virtual therapeutic services, growth and an increase in revenue often define them.

These companies are willing to do anything to achieve these goals, including selling confidential client information and slashing the income of the therapists who hold up their platform.

On the other hand, while steady profit is necessary to keep the lights on at several small local practitioners, it is often far from the core goal.

Instead, the powerful desire to provide adequate care for any individual who walks through their door is what has been able to keep several of these therapists going during this challenging period.

This need to help as many as possible also extends to building long-term relationships and ensuring all your information remains private.

If you feel disillusioned by virtual therapeutic companies and believe you may benefit from a more personalized counseling approach, please drop a message to Dr. Lynn Winsten.

She has built up several years of experience treating anxiety, depression, and other issues and is always willing to offer her guidance. Alternatively, you are welcome to visit her practice in Berkeley to receive a one-on-one consultation.

What About Tomorrow?

Recently, information about the struggles of virtual therapeutic companies has begun to come to light. This news has shown that this drive for profit has led to various brands overprescribing drugs to clients and selling private user information to the highest bidder.

Fortunately, as this issue is being reviewed and investigated by the Senate, we believe that they will deliver justice to all those who went to a platform seeking help but ended up with a company that heartlessly sold their darkest secrets for extra profit.

As the foundation of these companies begins to look shakier than ever, you must ask yourself what part of the camp you want to be standing in when it all comes tumbling down.

Additional Reading

What is clinical depression?

The Trouble With Narcissism

Breaking The Depression & Anxiety Cycle Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder