One of the greatest frustrations from my days as a private practitioner was having to diffuse patient stress, not from their presenting problems, but just from their having to scramble their lives and schedules to get to the appointment! Getting a babysitter or leaving work, driving 30 minutes in traffic, parking, doing the session and then reversing the process week after week, sometimes multiple times per week, was a definite challenge and often a distraction to the therapeutic process. Not to mention getting, for that day and time, the 70s and 80s, a pretty hefty bill! (Well worth it, I’m sure! Ha!)
That chain of events made perfect sense back then, as I helped patients work through issues ranging from marriages on the brink to traumatic childhoods, parenting crises as well as severe mental health issues. Fast-forward to 2014 — to today, actually — and wow, how the world has changed! I didn’t even have a copy machine when I started my practice and didn’t send my first email until 1989! We thought we had gone really high-tech when we purchased our first IBM ‘Selectric’ typewriter. And now, think about it, we are not just walking around with phones in our pockets, these devices are computers, cameras, videos cameras, streaming devices, shopping tools — they are digital links to every element of our lives. Technology has changed the way we can do so many things. For example, you no longer need to actually get in the car and drive to the library and actually look something up; instead, now you only need to Google it. The information now comes to you! Now, you can do the same thing when it comes to seeing a therapist. There’s a revolutionary way to get access to a doctorate-level psychologist at a much more affordable price, all in the privacy of your own home or office.
You have probably already heard of Doctor On Demand; it’s a free app that delivers healthcare service through video visits with locally-based, licensed physicians. In other words, no matter where you are, it gives you access to doctors in your area for everything from the flu to a sore throat, a prescription refill, or perhaps it’s your first call in a crisis when you don’t know if a trip to the emergency room is necessary. (Huge time saver, right?) What you may not know is that as I write this, you can do the same thing for psychological services. Those services, too, are now as simple as pulling out your smartphone or tablet to “meet” with a therapist, because Doctor On Demand has added behavioral health services. No need to arrange childcare, go into debt, or even get in the car — you can simply get face-to-face access to a trusted source of counseling with the press of a button. “Everything old is new again” — The old saying definitely fits here, because thanks to Doctor on Demand, the day of the “house call” is back, and it’s about time!!
Tele-medicine is a fascinating, cutting-edge industry, and I’m excited to be part of it as a co-founder of Doctor on Demand, along with my son Jay. I think we’re catering to a new generation of health consumers who would find it absurd to sit in traffic driving to an appointment that they waited a week to get to spend less than an hour with a therapist to the tune of hundreds of dollars … when they could accomplish the same thing for a fraction of the cost and way less stress. Now, we’ve got the technological infrastructure to deliver services to the largest possible sector of the population in a more economical way — pretty groundbreaking, especially considering that studies have shown that video therapy is as clinically effective as in-office therapy.
There are still too many people in this country who don’t have access to quality, affordable mental health services from psychologists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of Americans will experience mental and emotional health issues at some point in their lives, but only 40 percent of them receive treatment. It is our hope that Doctor on Demand can help fill some of that void.
Listen, I’m not here to tell you whether or not you need therapy. But I do know that the bumps in life can be rough for everyone, and our frenetic pace of living sure isn’t making things easier. Depression, anxiety, stress-induced ailments and more are rampant as so many of us go through the motions of life at a million miles an hour without even knowing our end game. Or maybe you’ve been living in a loveless marriage for decades and you’re finally motivated to make a change. Perhaps you’re struggling to keep the peace with your rebellious teen, find yourself drinking too much when the kids go to bed, or have other unfinished business that you’re ready to attend to. Whatever the issues are for you, now is the right time to stop making excuses and start reaching out for counsel. It’s never been easier, I know that much. Think about it: If you could pick between sitting on your couch bitching to your girlfriend about the same problem you’ve been belly-aching about for years, or you could stay on that same couch but get on the line with a professional who can offer you sound therapeutic counsel, which sounds like the smarter move? Exactly.
Thanks for letting me into your living room all these years. I intend to keep doing it, but hope that if you’ve got more work to do in order to start living the life you deserve, you’ll take the first step toward getting one-on-one help that could make all the difference for you.
Dr. Phil – The Huffington Post