Last week CBS news described findings from a new Pew Research Center report on caregivers (http://www.westwood-backup.com/pg/jsp/osgood/transcript.jsp?pid=36635). Thirty-nine percent of Americans care for adults and children with significant health Issues (up from 30 percent in 2010). Statistics weren’t reported from other countries but in the US these caregivers are primarily 30-to-64 years old, still working, and connected to the Internet. Most caregivers are not counseling or medical experts but they go online to find support and resources that help them deal with the stress of caregiving.
What if there was a way in which caregivers or anyone else could find emotional support on line, available 24-7, free or at minimal cost? What if callers could remain anonymous, connect with trained active listeners, and even select the kind of listeners they prefer? Suppose a caller wants a listener who has cared for a spouse with Alzheimer’s, experienced an amputation or post-traumatic stress, overcome a pornography addiction, is a preferred age or a member of the caller’s occupational group, denomination, or even the same church. What if these listeners and callers could be connected? The possibilities are mind-boggling but so is the technological expertise to make this work.
This has not deterred psychologist Glen Moriarty, one of my faculty colleagues at Regent University. Glen is one of the most innovative people I know, working this summer with expert advisors and partners in the Silicon Valley to make this vision a reality. Already caregiver organizations, businesses and churches are signing on to participate in a sophisticated test run of this technology. Technology even exists to evaluate every call to determine if and how this works. Dr. Moriarty calls this venture 7 Cups of Tea. He describes it as providing emotional support online, “whether you’re feeling stressed, confused, or just want to get something of your chest… It connects callers with real people from diverse backgrounds who have been trained in active listening. They do not make judgments, solve problems, give advice or to provide professional counseling or coaching.”
A team of lawyers has determined that this conforms with professional licensing laws. For more information go to www.7cupsoftea.com. To learn how this connects with churches see www.7cupsoftea.com/communitie/faith.php. To connect with Dr. Moriarty directly go to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave a comment to give your input on this concept.
P.S. Anyone who wants to be a listener can go to the following address and put “Gary Collins” in the affiliation box: www.7cupsoftea.com/listener.