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They felt more like social outlets than mental health resources. Hokemeyer expresses major concern about sites like Blah Therapy, where "non-trained professionals [are] giving advice to other individuals.""There is just too much room for harm," he notes.And I can't help but agree with his assessment that "deeply entrenched and persistent emotional and relationship issues cannot be adequately addressed through an online therapeutic relationship.My Therapy Couch rather charmingly calls itself a " social counseling site." So ...it's like Facebook had a baby with a virtual shrink's office! Like Talktala, MTC features free forums where users can vent about their issues, but if you want real therapeutic guidance (aka "Direct Counseling") from a professional, you'll need to cough up some cash.Frankly, all those aforementioned deep-seated issues are still very much alive and kicking, therapy be damned.

) and try posting in the "Relationships & Family" section instead.Could spilling my guts to faceless strangers on an online message board or chat room possibly compare to "real" therapy? Paul Hokemeyer, a NYC-based addictions and family therapist, is dubious."Therapy that changes people's lives is a nuanced process," he says.THE RESOLUTION (OR LACK THEREOF)I end up chatting with "Special-Reward" about Life Stuff—our jobs, the site, the few "creeps" she's encountered there—for about 45 minutes.

While my new, Colorado-based buddy is certainly no therapist, it feels sweet and genuine, making a connection with a stranger like this.I keep getting sucked into sketchy, go-nowhere maybe-relationships. "Again, I wait for the helpful and compassionate responses to roll in. It's pretty unique in its approach—in addition to offering the "completely anonymous" services of a real therapist for ("No therapist will know who you are—no one close to you will know you're getting therapy"), the site has a "venting/listening" private chat function that pairs up anonymous strangers who want to vent with strangers who want to listen. Because, as the site explains, "sharing and connecting with other strangers who are going through a struggles just like you [sic] provides great consolation to anyone in need of healing or a friend."I'm eager to try the anonymous venting thing, because spilling my secrets to some rando who gets off on "listening" sounds, admittedly, awesome.