The conclusion drawn by a recent public radio story in State Of Health, part of the California Report, is that rich tech workers are driving up the prices of therapy in the Bay Area. Yes, it's a bit of a leap, but is it... crazy?
The story notes a recent survey by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists that revealed an unfortunate fact. Half of the therapists in private practice in California don't accept insurance.
The story also invokes instances of local San Francisco therapy practices experiencing rent hikes — thanks to real estate prices — that result in higher fees.
But, since blaming rising rents directly on tech is its own (very dead-horse-like) can of worms, I won't go there. However, the takeaway of the story seems to be that techies alone can afford therapy and as a result are making it more expensive for others.
Oh yeah, and per some choice quotes from a San Francisco therapist, they need it the most.
Michael Klein, a San Francisco clinical psychologist, seems to buy the premise that "the tech sector is applying upward pressure on the cost of some mental health services." And, according to Klein, "most people in the tech world can afford to [pay out of pocket.]”
IPOs and venture capital rounds have armed tech workers with a lot of disposable income. With that money comes intense competition, long hours and the ever-looming threat of failure. That means there are more people willing to pay higher prices for someone to talk to.
“There are more and more people that have the affluence that they can afford therapy, and they have enough stress where therapy becomes more of a need,” Klein says.
Some large tech companies will even foot the bill. Managers see really talented engineers mess up projects because they don't know how to work well with others.
"Their emotional maturity is on the lower side," says Klein
In the words of the story, Klein is "something of a geek whisperer." In his practice of 20 years, he "often treats socially awkward tech workers."
Anyway, that's adding insult to injury. The real issue here is access to therapy! We should all have it, tech wealth or not. That is all.