Are Therapy Booths The Way Forward?
I recently watched a video clip from the BBC which showed a clinical psychologist’s experiment of having a public booth where people can unload and have their issues listened to by a total stranger in public. The stated purpose of this is to make therapy less formal and more accessible. It is a very interesting concept, however, I have some concerns. Do I believe that people should share their problems more for the good of their mental health? Absolutely, sharing things is the first step in achieving some kind of recovery from life’s challenges. However, should this be done by untrained persons?
Well yes and no. For some everyday issues sharing, the notion of sharing them with anyone is a good idea. However, in cases where there is real emotional or psychological difficulty, then sharing these with an unqualified person may be a risk to both the sharer and sharee. Part of the training of a psychotherapist or counsellor is to learn how to maintain an appropriate distance from the client and his/her difficulty. This is a skill that for many takes years to master, for the layperson the disclosure of personal information could actually damage the listener which, of course, leads to all kinds of other difficulties. Additionally, when a person presents for therapy, they are not getting advice they are being given a safe place to explore their issues in order for them to get a resolution for themselves.
Let’s make therapy more accessible and less formal by all means, but let’s do this with the many thousands of qualified practitioners who have trained to help those in need of help.