Stop the presses! Randall Stross over at the Digital Domain at The New York Times has just discovered online therapy.
Acknowledging that the idea has been around for a long time, Stross begins the piece by digging up an American Journal of Psychiatry article from 38 years ago, written by Thomas Dwyer describing one of the first telepsychiatry systems ever devised (at Massachusetts General Hospital). How quaint. (Confusing telepsychiatry/telehealth systems — which have been around for decades utilizing private networks and closed video systems, and that are well-researched — with online therapy is a common mistake made by journalists who explore this area.)
The hook, apparently, is to highlight yet some more companies who’ve decided to take the plunge into exploiting this modality:
Today, even with the rise of the Internet, virtual therapy hasn’t been widely adopted. But several start-up companies are trying to make Dr. Dwyer’s decades-old vision a workaday reality.
Despite having little new to say or to add to this topic — for instance, where’s the consumer demand for these services? — I found the article somewhat interesting nonetheless. If for no other reason, to point out how these articles all follow the same tired template: offer a unique hook, point out the opportunity, quote the research, highlight a new service offering a solution, quote some naysayers, and end with a tie-in to your opening hook.