I think I’ve been fairly open about this, but for those who don’t know, I have a bit of an anxiety problem. It’s mostly because of climate change, but also most of the other stuff I write about here (especially ground-hunting bats. Those things are terrifying), and I’m generally taking meds for it. I have also had a couple therapists, neither of whom helped a whole lot, but it was kind of nice to have someone to talk to I guess? I think it’s something that should be available to anyone who needs it, especially if they’re dealing with trauma of some sort. Family and friends can be very helpful, but they don’t always know how to help, and that can put pressure on any relationship.
One service that a therapist provides, supposedly, is confidentiality. A therapy session is supposed to be a place where you can share anything that’s troubling you, without worrying that it will affect your social interactions. If you have a crippling fear of small, furry creatures with wings that aren’t flying, you may not want to let other people know about that. You might worry that others will think less of you, or feel uncomfortable around you, knowing that you’re constantly on the lookout for crawling bats.
In a therapy session, at least a good one, you can feel confident that the person you’re talking to you will take you as you are, and try to help you on your terms. What I would not want, for example, is for a giant corporation to find out about my pekapekaphobia, and start giving me ads for, I dunno, t-shirts with crawling bats on them, or crawling bat phone holsters or something. Or, which is more likely, they’d sell that information to a company wanting to sell me bat-repelling boots, knowing that I would do anything to finally feel safe. It goes further than that, though, because Facebook has a record of massive data leaks, and so if, somehow, they got ahold of my information, anyone could find out!
I’m mentioning all this to you, in confidence, because one of my therapists was through the online service BetterHelp. It was cheaper than conventional therapy, and much easier, as I didn’t have to travel to the other side of town for a session – I just had to have a laptop. Unfortunately, it turns out that my sessions may not have been as private as I wanted, because as The Illuminaughti will explain, BetterHelp shares your data with Facebook:
And jokes aside, it seems that BetterHelp also has the same problem as normal therapy – some of the therapists are callous, incompetent, or just bigots. I expect most are people who want to help, and may even be able to do so, but unfortunately, BetterHelp doesn’t treat them very well. Think of it as Uber for therapy. What could possibly go wrong?
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