If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or depression, you know the appeal of simply staying home and hiding in your bed forever. Sounds kind of dangerous right? Maybe not. Scientists in the UK were trying to come up with alternative ways—other than flippantly prescribing meds—to treat anxious and depressed patients, who often have to wait over a year to visit a shrink. And they came up with the idea of virtual therapy—essentially, IMing a shrink. Turns out, it’s just as effective if not more so than actual talk therapy. The study looked at 297 people, half of whom had 10 sessions of therapy, each lasting about an hour, where they used instant messaging to chat one-on-one with a trained therapist. The results? About four in 10 people who had online therapy improved to the point where they were no longer depressed. Only two in 10 people recovered without any therapy.Why would this be the case? Maybe it’s easier to write about your problems than to talk about them. That, and you don’t see someone taking secret notes about your dysfunction on an oversized yellow pad. With online therapy, what you say is saved, so your time of darkness is memorialized forever and a therapist can go back and re-read discussions. Ditto for you. [The Guardian]
So let me get this straight. You are depressed or anxious. You stay at home; recline on your bed, and IM about your problems with a person you’ve never met? Hmmm … sounds a lot like online dating. I think I’m just an “in-person” type. I think I’ll stick with the couch and the legal pads, thank you very much.