Fundamental Technology in Diagnosing Mental Health: Enhancing Personalization in Online Therapy

Online therapy has become the modern way to democratize mental health services. Growing in popularity every year, it has made both talk therapy and psychiatric services accessible and cheap.

However, much of the criticism of this commodification of therapy has been that it lacks a personal touch in this one-size-fits-all all approach. Although therapy delivered online does have research backing its efficacy, the sheer volume of patients makes it something of a mental health factory. 

In recent years, niche therapy sites that target specific groups have cropped up as a potential solution to this problem – offering a more intimate, bespoke service that caters more carefully to the patient and their age, sex, gender, race, and/or identity.

The need for specialists

Although all therapists on reputable therapy platforms are licensed, they’re not infallible. An increasing amount of research is being undertaken on the importance of the practitioners’ experience and expertise. Training to fill the gaps in knowledge regarding LGBT education was found to be very important among Occupational Therapists. Thus, a lack of provider training led to health discrepancies for such groups.

Research on transracially adopted children in the UK found that intersectionality is extremely important in helping the children fully understand themselves within an oppressive socio-economic context. The study concludes with a recommendation for cultural humility training for art psychotherapists. Cultural humility training is far from undergoing a few seminars on inclusivity – it’s the lifelong learning of self-reflection, understanding systemic inequalities, and training in anti-oppressive practices. 

Although cultural humility is useful for all therapists, there are of course varying degrees of competence. By offering specialist services, such as an LGBT-focused therapy platform, hiring can place greater priority on cultural humility, meaning the pool of therapists is, on average, more sensitive and understanding of this demographic. 

What specialized services exist?

Betterhelp and Talkspace are the clear industry giants right now, and both have a clear goal to maximize the number of signups they have. We can tell this from the heavily discounted sign-up promotions that want to get you in the door, as well as the very effective marketing partnerships with all kinds of influencers. The adverts are all homogenous, with little effort to appeal to different groups in society.

It’s a blanket approach. By nature, this means the services are designed towards heterosexual, cisgender males and females. Why? Because this is the largest demographic, meaning it’s the strategy required to maximize sign-ups.

Fortunately, for every industry giant there is, there are tens of platforms taking a more niche approach. Smaller platforms serving the LGBTQ community specifically are in abundance, from Pride Counseling to LGBTQ Therapy Space. Here are some notable mentions for different demographics.

LGBT-focused platforms

  • Pride Counseling
  • The Christian Closet (focusing on Christian LGBTQ+ counseling)
  • Open Path

Couples Therapy

  • ReGain
  • Relationship Hero
  • Couples Therapy Inc.

Teenager Counseling

  • Teen Counseling
  • TeenMatters 


  • Brightside
  • Sesame
  • ZocDoc
  • Amwell

Emerging Specializations in online Therapy

There’s also a movement towards specializing in other ways, beyond demographic – a way that is likely stemmed from competition within a free market. For example, there are companies that are focusing on a text messaging approach, because a large number of people turn to online therapy in order to avoid going to see one in person. This is where Betterhelp and Talkspace excel, with their text-based approach (though it’s not the only choice to communicate, it is a clear selling point).

However, some specialize in certain conditions, like anxiety or depression, to appeal specifically to a certain audience and assure them that their therapists have expertise in this area.

And, finally, there are platforms that are intentionally making an effort to accept as many insurances as possible, so that the costs for the customer are brought down. Not all sites accept insurance, but many are now, particularly with mental health becoming increasingly accepted into the wider domain of healthcare.

Final Word

When deciding on a therapy provider, it’s important to consider how important your identity is to you – or the problems at hand. For example, some people have depression that has been caused by grief. This is an instance in which the broader picture should be taken into account, such as price, accessibility, reputation, features, and so on. 

If you feel as though your cultural background, sexual orientation, race, or gender play a big role in your own story, then it may be worth finding a specialist that caters to that. In an ideal world, all therapists will be well trained on such matters, but in reality, it’s impossible for all professionals to have the same level of experience and expertise in every marginalized group.


Continue reading at | #Frost & Sullivan: Targeted Therapeutics #Healthcare IT News: Behavioral Health #Medigy: Health Technology #Medigy: Mental Health #Symplur: Digital Therapeutics

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