The Breakthrough Confidential Online Counseling and Therapy site broke barriers as it increased access to professional therapists to an increasingly large online population of distressed people. Digital technology enables clients to use hard-to-describe opportunities to get the mental health support that they need, when they are able to seek it out. Breakthrough’s format utilizes such tools. The 7 Cups of Tea site, in contrast, has a significantly different set-up in which “listeners” rather than certified therapists stand by to discuss your “emotional health and well-being…” via chat rooms only. The differences in the qualifications –or lack of them – of the 7 Cups site listeners, though, lead to an inevitable question: “Which is better – professionalism or community?”
The answer depends on the issues to be explored. If all you need is to talk out loud in order to assess the merits and weaknesses of specific lines of thought, then casual community conversation might be all you need. But if you’re facing more serious issues of thought, mood or personality disorders (including suicidal ideas and other life-threatening issues such as violent behavior or eating disorders), then professionalism is appropriate. The ramifications of these three categories of mental distress are the very reason that the mental health profession exists. Yes, the rare blessing of being saved by some compassionate listener can redirect an unhappy private life to success rather than despair and failure, but it remains rare. You need to think through the risks of not connecting to the service you need versus the likelihood that you will. It is important to note, however, that 7 Cups of Tea does offer professional online counseling to paying customers. Thus, 7 Cups of Tea is also attractive to many in that it provides an “all in one” type of place for both people who have serious and less serious mental health issues.
The difficulties created by a lack of mental health affect the quality of life, including threats to life, for the suffering person and everyone with whom they interact. Spend time pondering the best technique for addressing your concerns, and rest on the decision until you feel certain that this is a good way to go. Confidence in your own decision process can promote multi-faceted healing.