Should we be concerned about a shift towards unlicensed mental health care?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

With the media reporting last week former Uber executive Andrew Chapin is launching a therapy app where patients can receive treatment from ‘para-professionals’, founder and experienced psychotherapist Dr Sheri Jacobson is concerned about a shift towards unlicensed mental health care.

Dr Sheri Jacobson said: “In our increasingly fragmented society where we have shallower personal connections and increased work and financial stresses, it is good to see companies such as Basis addressing a growing need for support. However it is vital we harness human, evidence-based interventions when treating mental health issues.

“Moving towards a ubiquitous model of unlicensed yet affordable, para-professionals could be catastrophic for people’s mental wellbeing. For me, replacing professional therapists and all of their lived experience and empathy with telepsychiatry administered by novice advisers could be potentially dangerous. Would you let a learner driver navigate an oil tanker? In my experience, it takes five years of supervised clinical experience to become a good therapist.”

“As for companies who solely provide telepsychiatry, I firmly believe in human interaction wherever possible. Humans are innately predisposed towards in-person interaction and without this contact, problems can present, such as loneliness and sadness.

“In an age where people value quantity of interaction - amassing thousands of connections on our socials - over real-life connection, it is vital we don’t lose real-life support networks.” uses state-of-the-art technology to enable users everywhere to find a professional, trained therapist suited to them in seconds based on their symptoms, location and preferences. Using over twelve years of mental health assessments insights, the website recommend the most statistically effective support for each individual. Unlike other therapy platforms, users can manage each step in their therapy journey - getting pre-therapy information, finding a therapist, booking an appointment and paying for therapy - securely online, without a subscription.

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