Online therapy has been increasing as the Internet technology develops. Faster streaming capabilities now offer live video chats with therapists halfway across the world. Particularly, with the surging uptake of mobile electronic devices inclusive of tablets, mobile phones and laptops, more esoteric disciplines are being offered. Therapy, whilst traditionally a matter of person-to-person contact, now embraces the online domain because of several reasons. Firstly, it encourages more security. Sam Nabil, founder of Naya Clinics, says that: “Within the privacy of your home or office”, his Clinics use of encryption techniques in their videos ensure that clients are completely anonymous during counselling sessions.
A question which may arise on online therapy and counselling is: how does it compare in effectiveness to seeing a therapist in person? Naya Clinics recommends that for the safety of their clients, they do not offer online service options to clients who are in an extreme mental disposition. This is sensible, and demonstrates Mr Nabil’s emphasis on tailoring “carefully curated and clinically tested elements of positive psychology” in his methodology. If cases would necessitate in-person sessions, then it is recommended that clients visit a centre personally. In an example of the more extreme cases, treatment for substance abuse would be more effective conducted in-person, particularly as the client would feel less distanced from the rehabilitation as they would if they were sitting behind a computer digitally speaking to a therapist.
But in less extreme mental health cases, online therapy adds value for those who travel frequently or are expatriate professionals. For expats, their distance from home and their presence in a foreign country may in itself lend a case for online therapy, as it is comforting for them to be able to communicate in their mother tongue with someone from their home country. For frequent travellers, online counselling offers touch-points for when they are in far-flung places distanced from the reality that they’re used to. Mr Nabil, in describing his methodology, aims to: “Create a counselling approach that is born of our new circumstances and conditions, and that is designed to reinvent therapy for the 21st century”. With the predominance of mobile mental health applications being used by millennials, this is an effective structure which caters therapy techniques for a demographic which runs a busy schedule.
Indeed, this schedule will mean that millennials will have much less time to visit clinics in person, creating a demand for online counselling services which can be done from any device which possesses a screen and a camera. This is demonstrated by the use of FaceTime in a United States case, where exposure therapy allows the client to speak to their dietitian whilst browsing their stressful environment of grocery stores. Sam Nabil particularly focuses on a wholescale approach in his, and his team at Naya Clinics’ treatment. He centres sessions: “Empowered with the will and focus you need to overcome the obstacles that are holding you back from a more fulfilling life”, enabling individuals to understand the reasons behind their day-to-day actions.
In the current 21st century climate, where distractions are rife with social media, commercialism and unsubstantial ‘fake’ news clouding goal-oriented decision-making, Naya Clinics’ Positive Existential Therapy (PET) is particularly innovative. For an average smartphone wielding person, they are likely bombarded with notifications from various social media, news and promotional material as soon as their phone switches on. This presents significant motivation distractors, especially if you wake up in the morning notified with the news of President Trump’s latest incoherent tweet. Arguably, your morning routine should begin with something more conducive to personal development and self-actualising goals. Perhaps in cooking a healthy breakfast or ten minutes of meditation. Mr Nabil, in his ultimate goal to “Reinvent therapy for the 21st century”, accounts for the distractions in individuals’ organisational psychology presented by the digital and commercial modern world and aims to help individuals constantly aim for what truly matters.
Being a radical departure from more traditional forms of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mr Nabil’s PET is based on motivating principles of self-actualisation with key questions such as: “What will your legacy be?” and “How are your thoughts helping or hindering you from accomplishing your goals?” guiding sessions. With the valuable insight of Licensed Professional Counsellors, Naya Clinics possesses the expertise to cater for online clientele needing life coaching and video therapy, marriage counselling and general mental health care. This is different from CBT, which proposes a self-driven approach where individuals learn to identify and consequently alter distracting behaviours contributing toward their performance problems. Meeting with therapists are scheduled relatively infrequently. While it does provide insight into personal behaviour and is efficient in application, critics will argue that the CBT approach lacks guidance originating from more personal advice. Hence, Mr Nabil’s invention of PET is an avantgarde method bringing inlicensed professionals to warmly but effectively keep clients in touch with what their overarching goals are.
Online therapy has been shown to be as effective in cutting down symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress as face-to-face clinician visitations. Even via email, research has suggested that clients are satisfied with their treatment progress. This indicates that many mental disorders require a personal touch, of which some may suffice on text-based communication, and some may require more video-conferencing based. Overall, digital mental health services offer flexibility. People may not be entirely comfortable in revealing their insecurities to a professional face-to-face, and would prefer doing it from the conversation reinforcing comforts of their own home. People may live in more remote areas too, and the digitisation of therapy is cost-saving in terms of transport. Technology, in its aim to enable, is revolutionising the domain of mental health therapy, and Naya Clinics provides a strong argument why it is the undisputed leader.