Self-Help May Soon Go Digital

self helpNASA is developing a software program designed to diagnose and assist users in managing psychological problems.

Why NASA? According to Dr. James Carter, “The stresses of long-duration space flight such as separation from family, loss of privacy and limited social outlets can lead to mood disturbances, loss of sleep, conflict, work problems and, potentially, depression.”

But this software might not only be good for astronauts. This might be great for people with emotional problems, which is basically all of us. Research has shown that people are more willing to talk to a computer than they are to talk to someone at a clinic.

How will it work?

Once run, the program will provide assessment, treatment, prevention and education by integrating graphics, audio and video multimedia designed to create a realistic environment. The program will have three functions: depression treatment, psychological evaluation and conflict management.

There is hope that this program will assess psychological problems at an early stage so that they do not become worse. To an extent, this program will focus on helping the astronaut solve problems such as interpersonal issues.

The conflict management module will help astronauts study and understand problems that occur while in space and will help these astronauts work through possible solutions.

What do I do if I’m not an astronaut?

If you are not hesitant to talk to someone about your problems, you should consider seeing a therapist. Of course, you will want to find a competent therapist who actually knows what she is doing.

This might actually be more difficult than you think. Many therapists are ineffective or actually harmful. This is especially true for very judgmental practitioners. So what do you do?

Choosing a good therapist

The first thing you should do when choosing a therapist is to make sure that the therapist is respectful towards you and makes you feel comfortable. Your therapist should make it easier for you to disclose information.  Self disclosure can leave you very vulnerable emotionally.

Research has shown that the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the patient is more important than the technique that the therapist uses.

It comes down to trauma

Many of our emotional problems come from traumas we have experienced. We often suppress these traumas using defense mechanisms. This is because our traumas can often be devastating for us to bear.

However, competent therapists create safe environments for their clients. These environments make it easier for clients to talk about their trauma with the minimal strain.

Through talking, clients might be able to overcome the trauma that continues to trouble them. Be sure that a therapist can do this for you before starting a therapy program.



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