Dr. Venus Nicolino is unimpressed with today’s trend of shoving mental health therapy into digital devices. “How is promoting late 19th-century Freudian techniques considered a leap forward just because they are now on our phones?” Dr. V asks. Surgery and physical therapy have evolved constantly in the past 100 years but mental health is stuck with one inflexible model.
That will be changing swiftly with the launch of Dr. V’s revolutionary psychological wellness app. It will be called EQUO, short for emotional quotient, and will be an on-demand option for those in need of mental help. Licensed therapists will be available for an immediate chat. The plan is to make it as easy and convenient as getting an Uber. Press a button, get connected to someone willing to listen and able to help.
Dr. V believes current apps fall short because they try to force standard therapy into our digital devices. “EQUO puts the client in control of the sessions. They pick the therapist they want to speak with, for how long, and can even choose specific questions instead of broad issues,” Dr. V says. She says this will open up mental help to the masses and destigmatize asking for help with mental health problems.
Clients being able to ask about specific issues will allow them to find the best therapist for that question. Specialists will be available for a variety of behavioral issues. There will be no need to choose the same expert for different problems. Again, the client will be in control. Using the same therapist each session, while standard in many current apps, is like someone only being able to Uber when their regular driver is available—ridiculous.
Dr. Nicolino believes that many people simply need someone to talk to about their problems. “We all deserve to have someone listen to us,” she says. Throughout history, we have relied on people such as the village elder who dished out advice and wisdom. Modern times have seen us try to replace wisdom with mountains of information. The result? Mental health issues are climbing rapidly and, according to The National Institute of Mental Health, only half of people with mental illnesses receive treatment.
The claim has always been that technology would connect us. That claim has plenty of holes in it. However, technology is now part of the human experience. So Dr. V is going to infuse her therapeutic innovations into the way we already use our smartphones, giving hope to millions of people who need help managing their mental well-being. Which is to say, every single one of us.