Saturday, June 18, 2011

My therapist is an internet junkie...

Okay, perhaps I'm judging a bit too much, but I really do find it amusing that there are several ways to get in touch with my therapist, only two of which require face-to-face or voice-to-voice connections. It used to startle me to see a text message from my therapist. In the beginning of my sessions with her, the texts would often be appointment confirmations. "Holly, you're appointment is at 5pm, right?" Since then she has moved on to keeping a planner. That first introduction to out-of-office contact, however, changed my views on therapy, and human connectivity, forever. Since those early days, much has changed. Now I also have the option to email her when something out of the ordinary has happened and there is no time for either one of us to connect via phone.

I'll give you a recent example. After a particularly hard session I went home to experience a vivid and frightening flashback of abuse I experienced in college. My wife, thankfully, was home and helped with the post-flashback emotions. Knowing my therapist still had sessions going on I sent her a text giving a brief explanation of what went on and asking if we could connect via phone the next day. Turns out, the next day she did not have time where she'd have the privacy to be on the phone and I realized that my schedule didn't allow for much phone time either. So I sent off a long-winded email. This morning I woke to a reply back (typed on her iphone, which was pretty impressive considering the length). Rather than playing phone tag, or having to wait a week for my next session, I was able to get some advice in less than 24 hours.

This, to me, is amazing. I realize not all therapists have the need/want/drive for this type of dedication and that it takes someone who can tell the difference between crises and panic and who has strong enough boundaries to say "sorry, I haven't got the time to talk on the phone." It seems a great compromise between traditional therapy and online therapy, which seems just a bit too cold for my taste (I enjoy being able to actually see my therapist's reactions from time to time).

Does all of this make my therapist an internet junkie? By all no means, no. What does is the fact that often when I am checking the "People I may know" suggestions on Facebook and various Facebook groups I'm a part of, I see my therapist's name pop-up. It's amusing to see we follow the same stuff and also a bit nerve-wracking, because it means she can also see me on those lists. Has this affected therapy? Not in the least. I treat it as a non-issue, the same as if I saw a friend-of-a-friend on some website I'm on. It registered in my brain for all of a second, then I'm off in cyberland once again, searching for whatever info I was looking for.

Of course, this also means I'm an internet junkie. But I guess we all knew that.

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