It started with drinks at The Tribeca Grand with my old clubbing buddy, who we’ll call Phoebe. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and we spend the night knocking back Pinot Grigios and reminiscing about days long past of being chased by our cute club promoter/DJ/model pseudo-boyfriends down the cobblestone streets of 10th avenue in our stilettos at 4 o’clock in the morning. Good times. Then the conversation shifted to our current day adventures; completing our first Barry Bootcamp class and showing each other Instagrams of our amazing dinner triumphs. How life has changed. Then Phoebe mentioned that she has a Skype session with her therapist before brunch tomorrow. Lol, okay Phoebe…like therapy for what? Like mental health? Phoebe…the girl who five years ago told me she was quitting her amazing fashion magazine job to marry a rapper who she swore was going to be ‘the next Eminem’ because she said was ‘tired of the conventional life’ (said rapper now works for his dad’s insurance firm btw)? That Phoebe? Has a therapist? This is amazing. She goes on to tell me that she has been taking online sessions with her awesome therapist via a service called ‘The Pretty Padded Room’. I left the hotel thoroughly impressed with my friends bold new foray into her total health, mind and body. I had to investigate. Now, I’ve flirted with therapy before. Once when I was young when my mother mistook my adolescence for Satanic possession, again when I first got my own health insurance and enlisted every medical professional I could find and then when I was going through a hellish time in my life and decided that no one I knew was competent enough to talk me off the ledge. All three times, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t for me. I have however always been a huge supporter of mental health. Maybe it was worth giving it another shot. I started googling The Padded Room, and its incredible founder Bea Arthur (okay yes her name is Bea Arthur). The concept is nothing short of brilliance. You get video sessions with a female therapist, online journal logging and access to general mental health guidance and info. Genius. It’s easy, it’s light and unintimidating and chic as shit. As I googled more, I started to see Padded Room sessions being given as contests on girly websites, and written about in fashion magazines. I started discovering mental health apps with decorative backgrounds and hot therapists available 24/7 through Skype. Sleek and sexy apps like ‘EmotionSense’ lets you use your phone as a tool to assess whether or not you’re miserable…you know in case you can’t tell. I suddenly felt the need to talk to someone. I kinda wanted to pour a glass of something pink and snuggle under a cashmere wrap and talk to my pretty therapist on my computer. Has therapy completely become a status item? In New York therapy has been a chic lifestyle accessory for some time. In demand therapists have wait lists that span out for months. Therapists are crucial members of the NYC upwardly mobile woman entourage along with your personal trainer, your hairstylists, visiting housekeeper and wax lady. But with the online and app arena booming with options that are equal parts convenient as they are…fashionable it looks the nation is adopting a more fancy girl aesthetic to therapy. Which is good. It helps foster the idea that people do not necessarily seek mental health care because they need it or there is a “problem”. I’m a supporter of all thing that promote health and if comes in pretty packing all the better no? I’m looking forward to the Alexander Wang Klonopin satchels that are sure to hit Net a Porter any day now.
Photo Credit. Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia July 2007