News Headlines Article

Millennials and the false allure of online psychotherapy
The Washington Post

My new patient, B., a 23-year-old graduate student, began our session by pulling out her iPhone. She had diagnosed herself with an anxiety disorder by taking a brief online questionnaire — “Are You A Worry Wart?”– and eagerly showed me the results. Before I could explain them, she asked if I texted with my patients and told me about a therapy app she liked called Talkspace. (I’m only identifying B. by the first initial of her middle name to protect her privacy.)

This is the problem I encounter working with millennials in my practice as a psychologist in San Francisco. Selling face-to-face talk therapy to them is like trying to convince them to listen to the Beatles when Beyoncé is en-vogue. They live their lives by relying on apps, such as Google Maps, where each step towards a goal is magically dictated to them. While fast, convenient, and inexpensive, the technology can end up eroding a person’s own self-confidence in problem solving, causing anxiety to spike when they face the unknown.