Silicon Valley Goes to Therapy

Bummed out by the world and their role in it, tech workers are seeking help — and founding some start-ups along the way.

Comments: 175

  1. This is exactly what's wrong with the culture of Silicon Valley -- no matter the issue -- existential crisis mbe? -- the solution is an app. The best and brightest can't solve any complex problems because such problems don't fit inside an app (that btw will sell your data).

  2. @Jon “The solution is an .ap”. How utterly bizarre.

  3. The soul of the apps life is shallow. When will we learn that taking care of each other and trusting/believing that our fellow neighbors are worthy of care and compassion. Maybe we need an app to teach us how to love our neighbor and support our community? ;-)

  4. @Gardar Sigurdsson I agree!

  5. I continue to say that the best and worst thing that has happened to us is CNN news and the subsequent 24/7 news cycles that assault of our senses.

  6. @Leona It's the worst thing for sure. Don't know about the best.

  7. We don’t have to watch.

  8. Articles like these make me think computers are running the show and we are just rats in a maze to them. Think about it: isn't it simply the digital world's insatiable need for data that drives these real time demands for instant feedback? I'm reminded of Robert Redford's refrain in Brubaker: "Shakin' here, Boss!" Accordingly, I refuse to give real-time feedback whenever I'm given the choice.

  9. Ugh!! Great. Now the regretful techies who broke the world want to quantify/atomize/digitize/corporatize/dehumanize human emotions. What could possibly go wrong? Anybody remember the Star Trek episode "The Changeling"? That's the one where the little space probe robot sent out to collect and sterilize soil samples gets it computer brain solar fried or something and thinks it's mission is to "sterilize" away the imperfect humans. Hmmm...humans are pretty gross and fallible...That's what keeps me up at night about tech. Do we really want the robot overlords to have this last bit of mind data that they don't already have ???

  10. The world is experiencing a pandemic mental illness. Of this I am, well, positive. It's like the Zombie Apocalypse only just in the mind--sorry, brain. There are no physical traits or tale-tale signs; there are no warnings to others; just the slow, insidious spread of malaise drop by drop, drip, drip, drip. Like your favorite pop song, it's catchy. In fact, it IS you favorite pop song. The one that keeps playing over and over. And it's spreading. Now the tech bros are catching it. Hey! Don't be scared. You're in good company. Plus, one day you'll die, so it's not like it will last forever. Now, don't you feel better already?

  11. “There’s a beauty in existentialism. It’s also very paralyzing.” Nihilism is paralyzing. Existentialism is a little bit above the pay-grade of a ‘wellness coach’. I could be wrong, though. All that I know is that I know nothing.

  12. It would be easy to mistake all this as a parody. Anyway, if it helps any, for humans every era is the Age of Anxiety.

  13. @Frunobulax I'm outside the US. Recently had lunch with three non-US friends. When I confessed to one I had a lot of anxiety, she replied "How American".

  14. @Frunobulax Imagine the anxiety of wondering if you would be sent to Vietnam or you were picked to storm the beaches of Normandy. Or in the 1940s when just about every able bodied male in the US was away at war and their families sat and waited for them.

  15. @Hugh G The "greatest generation" were once the lazy children of the gilded era, much derided. If Millenials had to fight a critical war, they'd rise to the occasion much more capably than the "greatest" did.

  16. Putting aside the ridiculous sensitivity of these people, finding social support alternatives to high-priced psychiatrists and psychologists and the never-ending cycle of psychotherapy, that can only be a good thing.

  17. So Silicon Valley didn't reinvent capitalism and make a perfect world? I am shocked Facebook and Google sell advertising, their only advantage is that they don't have to manufacture content to sell it. They are media companies and are part of the evolution from Newspapers, to Radio to TV- nothing more. Google wants to get into self driving cars- if the auto industry was such a wonderful place to be, why don't they just buy General Motors? Why isn't Detroit an attractive place for millenials to change the world? Elon Musk is finding out how hard it actually is to make a product and sell it for more than it cost to produce it. The real world is ugly sometimes, especially when large sums of money are involved. Living in Silicon Valley doesn't change that.

  18. @Hugh G A huge number of them live in San Francisco, driving up rents. They are bored in Silicon Valley

  19. @FerCry'nTears From where I live, Silicon Valley and SF are the same place. New Yorkers think that Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey are all distinct areas, from the midwest view it is all New York or the East Coast and everyone more or less behaves the same. Silicon Valley is a geographical area, a mentality and a business model all in one.

  20. @Hugh G And South of San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo Counties are conservative

  21. Not a lot of sympathy can be mustered for those in Silicon Valley who are bringing home 6-digit salaries but feel like they are not adaquately self-actualizing. It was only after egregious cases of privacy violations, election tampering, social violence due to social networks, and talk of breaking up the tech giants that tech workers started to question things; not before. If digital solutions were the supposed panacea, then why with the rise of Silicon Valley have things have gotten worse and not better? It's ironic that we are quick to say that more guns are not the solution to gun violence and yet we turn around and say that the cure for the digital quagmire created are more apps.

  22. You earn large outsized salaries there is usually a cost to it. Unfortunately, the race for more productivity creates stressors on programmers and factory workers alike. At least the programmers have resources available to support them. Factory workers are tossed away without even scant support.

  23. This article very much overstates the number of tech workers that care about "helping people" or "changing the world" the rank and file of the tech giants are in my experience there for the fat pay checks, perks, flexible hours, and sometimes interesting work.

  24. @Medes As a tech worker myself, I cannot begin to express how true this is. The only remotely pro-social job I've seen in the six years I've been working in the field was for the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, and it's still kind of stretch to argue that anything funded by Zuckerberg is a net positive for society. Tech workers, ALL of us, me included, are here for the money, and that's it.

  25. @Randall Americans are always here for the money, that is why our ancestors came and why a lot of people from other countries want to be Americans.

  26. @Medes They pretend to care, and some of them are even deluded enough to believe it. At least people in real estate and finance are honest about their motivations, they can probably sleep better.

  27. The people who make a true difference are those who reach out and touch someone. Which you can’t do with an app.

  28. @thm How about that one? Or have we become oblivious to the fact that apps are just a tool like any other and can be used for the silly and the profound. I can listen to Moby Dick on an audio app or flick birds at blocks. There's a reason they've stayed with us. Paraphrase a comment about programming languages, "there are two types of technologies, those people complain about and those people don't use"

  29. Apparently the world doesn't end in fire or ice, but instead just lots of therapy sessions

  30. This is an odd article -- somewhere along the way it dips into a personal story, but not for long. In any event, the irony of techies seeking therapy from apps is rich, especially given that they want to be fixed efficiently! (See Clive Thompson's recent book Coders to see how deeply the obsession with efficiency is burned into Silicon Valley's collective psyche.) The purveyors of our digital nightmares are incapable of thinking differently, it seems, which is precisely the problem. BTW, speaking of existential therapy, the Atlantic had a nice piece on that last January (written by my daughter):

  31. @Doug Hill Excellent article! You must be very proud.

  32. Two brothers became depressed because their dress sharing app failed, and they tried to create an app for THAT. I laughed way too hard at this. In all seriousness, I'm sure many people, say those in the Appalachian communities or those detained at the border might wish they had the problems of some poor over paid, over indulged, self pitying tech worker worried about global warming while he noshes on the free range grass fed burger provided by his employer after a 30 minute chair massage, also provided by his employer. Sounds like the "nerd Gods" need to grow up, but I won't hold my breath. They thought the feeling of being "masters of the universe" would last forever, and awoke to find they were just a tool. A well paid, mollycoddled tool with anxiety issues. Ok now I'm snickering again.

  33. @Andrea Hawley The silliness of the app does not underscore the financial pressure involved in dealing with venture capitalist contracts. Or do you think that venture capitalists just throw money at you to make silly apps, and if it doesn't make money you are free to walk away without consequence?

  34. We are all hooked on sugar too. It is not good for us, it will kill us in the end. But we are still hooked. Tech is the same.

  35. I get it, actually everyone does, life is hard. When I went to get my neuroscience PhD it was to find causes and potential solutions for mental illness. It turns out science is hard, who knew?! Right?! It took me and my cohort awhile to realize, if you want to do this you have to accept you might fail and you don’t deserve a PhD for just showing up. Some of these tech workers (obviously not all) sound like they never realized good things don’t just happen by showing up and being part of the machinery. No door prize, sorry.

  36. I live in the Silicon Valley. And I could not be happier than being part of the future. We have created a world that my parents and grandparents could have never dreamed about. And I know they would have loved every minute of it. My grandparents lived in a totalitarian society that in pursuit of equality and social justice deprived its citizens of knowledge and information, constantly lied to them , limited their options and confiscated their wealth. Now I have all the knowledge I can possibly want at my fingertips. This is worth any price. People who cannot appreciate the freedom and opportunity that tech has given us are simply beneath contempt. Interestingly, few such people are immigrants. My husband who works for a tech company had to spend an evening learning how to pronounce correctly the names of his co-workers because none of them were native-born. Is tech perfect? Of course not. Nothing is. Correct the mistakes. But stop attacking the future - or use a therapy app if you have to.

  37. @Mor Thank you for saving the world and building a better future for all of humanity. We will work harder to educate ourselves about our history, and to become enlightened enough to truly appreciate all that you have done.

  38. @Matt I'm pretty sure she's not going to catch the humor there.

  39. It’s casebook irony to try addressing our national mental health crisis (the numbers are up across the board, from suicide rates to self-reported anxiety) using the same philosophies and technologies of disruption, data collection, and algorithmic “engagement” (read: amplifying negative content) that are contributing so much to our social problems. Is it so hard to fathom that the people founding these mental health apps want the same thing most folks in Silicon Valley seemed to want when I lived there amid the pillaging: glory and riches? Silicon Valley wrecks something, literally goes for the jugular of a prized institution (democracy, privacy, consumer self-esteem) then fashions itself the shining knight that can also come to rescue. This industry needs more public shaming until these folks do some soul searching that doesn’t involve a venture capital infusion. In the mean time, hire women!

  40. @John The best sort of Silicon Valley glory comes when one helps to provide metaphorical wheels for the mind, not when one “literally goes for the jugular of a prized institution.” I agree, however, that the exceptions deserve public shaming.

  41. It's been weird watching "Do no evil" transform into "Do no good."

  42. @Randall As soon as Google went public. "Do No Evil" no longer applied. The goal of corporations with investors is to mint money for those investors. Sometimes we get lucky and they make money while helping others but its by default not intent. It's time that these"investors" actually created something instead of leveraging ideas and work into debt

  43. I was a doctoral level therapist, on and off, my adult entire life. Mental health can be hard to understand because of the scope and depth of the field goes from things that will make most normative people feel better to profound, chronic, biologically-dominated mental health issues, frequently more than one, who also struggle with systemic social-functioning issues. On one end, you have high performing/functioning adults that find motivational TED talks and maximizing life enjoyment books helpful. Down the line, you have normative adults living lives that beg for mental health issues: no work/life balance, work environment is incredibly toxic, not getting good nutrition, exercise, not getting good sleep. And then wonder why they feel terrible, mentally and physically, start to struggle with anxiety and depression and relationship issues? These are (relatively-speaking) easy fixes. Get some relationship counseling, treat yourself and the people around you better and voila ! They feel better. On the other, you have people who find that really struggle, have struggled their entire lives with functional-social issues, addiction, multiple other mental health issues. These people need tons of help, ideally daily, just to keep their heads above water. And if you want to know one of the largest factors differentiating between the above populations:

  44. If this article was meant to invoke sympathy for the workers, it failed on me. Your p2p dress sharing app failed and now you're feeling alone and empty?? Boohoo. To me, a worker in I guess what could be classified as "tech", to monitor wildfires, land-use change, wetland loss, traffic patterns and infrastructure integrity, I find that thel skills of these workers are wasted on developing worthless (and sometimes harmful, ie social media) technologies rather than helping humanity. I work for a public institution making a fraction of these folks and but don't wallow in self-pity because I think my work is helpful. Though I'm not a psychiatrist, here's my advice, move away from the bay area to let the housing market recover, and find a meaningful job in a less populated area making less money and a lower cost of living.

  45. "In June, their movement published a textbook: “The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy,” with esoteric chapters on theory but also more practical sections on how to find meaning." That little phrase--"more practical sections on how to find meaning"--captures the problem in a nutshell. Treating the discovery of meaning as a practical problem, like finding a way around a traffic jam or getting your curbside rubbish removed, will always miss its mark. Finding meaning is not a "problem solved!" kind of thing. You have to spend a lot of time wondering what "how to find meaning" even means. There's an implicit contempt in these ventures for the generations of composers, poets, artists, philosophers, historians, religionists, human benefactors, etc. for whom meaning has been an open and on-going question. You're not going to find it like you find a maid to tidy up. I know the tone of this piece is somewhat droll. But it's a sad kind of comedy. Here we have a class of miserable people turning to the very things that have made them miserable--apps, get-rich schemes, efficiency of inputs and outputs--to make themselves feel better. Of course this isn't lost on anybody, perhaps not even on the poor souls in tech trying to perk up. Maybe the irony will at least help make their sense of futility more efficient.

  46. @Jim I think you somewhat touch on a good point. For me, I totally respect those people for whom meaning has been an open and ongoing question. I just am not that person. I don't want to spend my life trying to find something that only seems to make me more and more miserable. I'd much rather put these questions to bed so I can go on to the things that I'd rather be doing and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.

  47. Silicon Valley employees have it easy because they're rich. They don't deserve our sympathy.

  48. OMG, give me a break!!!!!!!

  49. As a "tech worker" myself, let me tell you that therapy alone will not solve the crisis of purpose & faith that they are going through. Therapy is valuable in its own right. To find the "cure" though will require seeking even further past the current bounds of therapy. It's not just tech workers. So many people today are facing a sense of utter fear and internal crisis as they look at the insane world the news paints for them. Most news today seems to be Fear Porn. When you let go of the fear and look around you with love then you will see the world of peace, love, and joy that everyone is entitled to and deserves.

  50. Typical TechBro response to problem: Make a pile of money on poorly designed psychotherapy apps to make themselves feel better. Too bad their apps won't provide the insight they are so sorely lacking. In a better headspace of self actualization, these Silicon Valley dumb-dumbs could be helping the people they have made worse off by taking political action to support the democracy and general welfare of the country, if not the world.

  51. You are all going to die and notching you did here will really matter. That will be 6k and here are some pills. Good luck.

  52. I would be surprised if even a single tech worker in the Bay Area *wasn't* going to therapy. I mean, look at the average workday out there: -Wake up stupidly early for a 1-2 hour commute including across vast bridges which would crumble like styrofoam the instant the Hayward Fault wakes up, or... -Wake up in a tiny apartment that costs more per year than tuition at the average private college in the United States that you rent to live closer to your job, while carefully sidestepping discarded heroin needles and the occasional pile of human excrement, and either way... -Work 10-, 12-, 14-hour days because the era of "8 hours work, 8 hours sleep, 8 hours what-have-you" was your grandpa's economy and the hyper-competitive heart of technology stops beating for no one. Gotta earn those options you're working so hard for. Speaking of... -Skip the artisan burrito food truck outside for lunch because somehow making six figures still puts you barely above the lower middle class while counting the years until your options can start vesting so that someday you can afford a 500sq 1-bed house for a scant $2 million. -Read the news. No further explanation necessary. -Go home to binge Netflix while occasionally reading about all the fun the people who made money in the 90's get to have before you pass out to start it all over again. -Find mental salvation in a mobile app. Wonder frustratingly why technology alone fails to solve problems created by more than just technology.

  53. @Nikko - I live in the Bay Area. I work 40 hrs a week, make $1 a minute, have retirement and live one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

  54. @Nikko This is simply untrue. Not to brag but I have a fantastic life living as a normal tech worker in San Francisco. I live in the Mission which is very walkable. My commute is 15 minutes by bus. I pay $1400/month for my half of the rent and my partner who also works in tech pays the other half. My work week is generally 40-50 hours, and some of that is at home. We have saved up nearly seven figures over the last decade while also going out regularly, doing wine tasting weekends in Napa, eating only organic and local food, etc. I pretty much never sleep less than 8 hours, and have only worked on a weekend once in the last year. My biggest concern is about how other people are living, not how us tech workers living in San Francisco, which is actually really quite wonderful and a higher quality of life than most of the rest of America.

  55. @Nikko Ironically, what you're describing more accurately fits a Toronto tech worker.

  56. Well, well. The just graduated from college kids who demanded wall-less offices with skateboards and foosball tables in order to be productive workers are now realizing that their 'disruption' has turned out poorly. What? Those Google nap pods aren't helping to bliss you out? The irony here is that these disillusioned tech workers aren't looking to fix the damage they and their companies have done. Holding true to the self-important mindset that all too often defines them, they are whining about their own problems and creating apps for each other. That's like using duct tape to fix a tear in masking tape. “They come in and say, ‘I feel like I’m floating in this vast universe, alone, with no purpose,’” Ms. Bartlett said. “And there’s a lot of this existential dread.” Gosh, maybe if you spent less time in a virtual world of social media and didn't rely on apps to fix everything you'd be a healthier person. Perhaps the NYT Book Review Editor, summed it up best in an article some months ago: "In general, when I hear the phrase "There's an app for that," my first question is, 'Done there need to be?"

  57. @B Dawson "The just graduated from college kids who demanded wall-less offices with skateboards and foosball tables" This was in full swing 20 years ago when I was in the Bay Area. Sour grapes to blame it on the "kids". "There's an an app for that" is a 15-year-old marketing phrase. You might as well be saying "where's the beef". Do try to keep up.

  58. "In the Kip system, notes quickly turn into data. Weeks of therapy are broken down with quizzes to determine exactly how happiness and anxiety levels are progressing, and how quickly." You're doing it wrong.

  59. As someone working in big tech in the Bay Area, this is soooo far from my lived experience. I'm beginning to realize how different the narratives online are from actual day to day living. If you read the news, you'd think there's a huge crisis in big tech, especially around privacy. And yet millions - literally, millions - of always-on smart speakers are selling throughout the US. The application of technology is becoming broader and broader, getting more and more investment, and revolutionizing all sorts of industries. The backlash exists only in online media, and a tiny percentage of the population, and it's not reality. Look at what people do, not what people say. Can a journalist identify some silly applications of technology? Well, of course. Does the influx of cash and talent around here lead to some overblown ideas? Definitely. In companies with tens, or even hundreds of thousands of employees, are some people unhappy and stressed? Yup. But is tech as a whole having a crisis? A lot of people online seem to want it to, but I think you'd be hard pressed to prove it beyond a collection of random anecdotes.

  60. @RLL It seems to me only a certain percentage of people working in tech have the capability to reflect meaningfully on life, since tech mainly employs young males with privileged upper-middle class backgrounds and engineering degrees who need to believe in a "system", and that they are "makers". However, part of being a self-aware (maybe just 'aware'?) individual is to see outside an imposed system, and awake to the richness of life. You should advocate for those people who are courageous enough to need more than what the tech life offers... I find it interesting that tech barons here, once they have children of school age, send their kids to schools where screen time is intentionally limited to almost NONE. I wonder why??

  61. Wow the comments here are so callous. This article perfectly describes me as a millennial San Franciscan- over a year ago I quit my startup job in the city due to intense burnout. I was beginning to develop health problems from the stress and was definitely experiencing existential dread. Around that time I sought out therapy through the “traditional” routes getting a referral from my PCP, searching online going through my insurance. I was denied by 4 different practices, all too full to see me. I gave up my search for several more months before I decided earlier this year to check out 2 chairs, one of the mental health startups mentioned in this article. Within 5 weeks I was seeing my therapist who I’ve seen weekly for 3 months now and she has made a huge impact, for the better, on my health. I shared with my baby boomer parents how therapy has helped me with my anxiety and depression and their response was “what did we do wrong that our child needs counseling?” Baby boomers caused most of the problems that our generation is dealing with but they offer none of the solutions, and even stigmatize them. If an app or a mental health startup can improve someone’s health then it’s part of the solution. I am so grateful that there are people in my community that are working on these problems because they are very real to us- real people despite the prejudices presented and some of the comments here.

  62. @Laura Hey, give the baby boomers a break. Their parents went to war and sacrificed, came home and wanted the best for their children. The country got to rebuild, take world leadership. They could easily get a job and go to college for next to nothing and only the unlucky ones had to go to Vietnam. It gets very difficult to sustain a world like that much over 1 or 2 generations. Stuff happens. If you blame your baby boomer parents for your problems, who do they get to blame?

  63. Get a good job easily!?! I remember applying for jobs in the late 70s and 80s where I was one of 200 applicants. There were just so many of us. I had more than one employer whose attitude was go a head and quit, there are 20 other people who I could hire today to replace you. I learned a long time ago that I worked to be able to afford the rest of my life. And those employers that I gave all those long hours, worked weekends for back then probably wouldn't remember me and if they did, it would be as a sucker. Maybe your boomer parents had an easy time of it but most people I know who are my age were struggling then and are still today.

  64. @Laura Glad it worked for you - but did you try asking friends for referrals, talking to people face to face to find a therapist? Also a little tired of the Baby Boomer -bashing (and I'm a Millennial). The Millenials (on the younger side) came to a workforce desperate to hire and offer perks, and almost everyone I know in this generation has a trust fund or gets financial help from their parents. I believe the Baby Boomers fought a war, lived through incredibly racist/sexist times and fought for abortion rights and civil rights -- and yes, things were cheaper, but they also made do with much less.

  65. When the focus is on efficiency and productivity and requires more time spent looking at screens and less time with people and out in nature, I think the benefits of these new "apps" will be limited. Fostering a sane work life balance, and focusing entrepreneurial energy of challenges of understanding climate change and identifying solutions, or trying to use technology to provide clean water to everyone around the world...those are the areas where the energy and creativity of Silicon Valley could have a meaningful impact.

  66. Never felt like that Loved the work. Figuring out things. Did it not for the money, nor for improving the world, but because it was interesting . I could do stuff no one had done before.

  67. “The goal is to move from a sense of abject terror and paralysis,” Dr. Schneider said, “to a gradual sense of intrigue and eventual wonder.” Intrigue and wonder is a start, but what about moving to positive action? How can we seize this new awareness and get more people to dedicate their work to directly improving the world?

  68. These NYTimes articles about Silicon Valley are so completely out of touch. I have been working in tech companies for the last decade and I have yet to see the trends that are discussed in this article. Most of us never thought we were changing the world, and knew that was just marketing. On the other hand, I still strongly believe that tech is more ethical than Wall Street or working for Coca Cola or GM -- Wall Street, Coca Cola and GM are inherently bad for the planet and ordinary people, whereas tech has done both good and bad. The bad aspects of tech are a result of capitalism, not technology. This is pure nonsense.

  69. @Claudia Gold, the sources for the article are likely alumni from the Harvard rowing team who thought going into 'tech' was a good career move. So no, it doesn't represent real life, probably not even in silicon valley.

  70. When I knew Silicon Valley in the 80's, it was a place where people struggled to get the next tech idea off the ground. Money was hard to get, expenses were high, talent was hard to get, you had to work out of your garage or moonlight to get something going. Like the rest of America, the flood of easy money since 2008 has changed the Valley into a playground for the greedy and unethical, where the end (riches) justify the means. This shift brought us Facebook, Uber, Lyft, and all the other valley startups that profit from surveillance, apps for unskilled work, and advertising.

  71. @kramnot the people have changed too. Now it's the children of the rich, mostly, in SCV. I was there for Unix training in the late 90s after college - all the rich kids were told to go into finance back then, now the rich kids think they are tech kids, and bring their entitlement here. Thus, this result.

  72. Quoting life coaches alongside licensed mental health providers is akin to quoting aroma therapists alongside physicians. If I can’t trust the New York Times to check sources, I really can’t trust the New York Times for much of anything.

  73. Lets be clear here. Silicon Valley is not different from Wall Street. The ultimate trophy is an IPO that enriches the founders and the investors. The proof is all over the streets of San Francisco, a tech utopia littered with garbage and homelessness. That's not saving the world.

  74. And they’ve ruined San Francisco for the rest of us non-tech people who actually care about the city and the community.

  75. "'Silicon Valley Workers Are Finally Admitting They Have a Problem' - Bummed out by the world and their role in it, tech workers are going to therapy - and founding some start-ups along the way." This was not the article I was expecting to read. I was expecting to hear about more organizations like the Center for Technology & Democracy, or Tech For Good; investments in sustainability; corporate giving; volunteering; communities and social events outside of work, and the fight against the 80-hour work week; green tech; medical tech; education tech and mentoring programs; Hack-a-thons for nonprofit causes; and yes, a little bit of mental health tech. In America, we frequently run into problems with capitalism's failure to meet all our needs, which include being contributing members of society, making social connection, and feeling like we are basically good. We tend to scoff if people have material goods but still want something not material. I tend to think it's OK if people feel unmoored. At least that means they're going somewhere. I'm glad those who are considered successful are looking beyond material goods, and I hope the realization helps them turn away from themselves towards helping others.

  76. Living here in Seattle we are awash in a sea of techies. I have observed that many of them have as their number one priority, money, compensation, fringe benefits, toys, prestige. The average stint at anyone company is 18 months or less and they then they hopefully move on to the next better job again with hopefully more pay. Here in the city proper they flood the cafes and restaurants in South Lake Union, sit in small groups at tables with there security name tags all with their individual focus on their cell phones. Hardly a word is spoken in conversation except to draw someone's attention to something on their cell phone. They will even text each other across the table. They have become more robotic and less human, how depressing. Their answer to this is some form of digital EST in a phone app or they shed their clothes and their BMW's for a few days at burning man do some drugs and return home. One of the secrets to a happy life is balance and I think that many of these techies need to learn to unplug. Leave work, leave it behind and lock the door. Have dinner with friends and leave your cellphone in the car. Recognize that you are not saving the world but in many ways you have enslaved it.

  77. I am sure it is always a bit depressing to find out that you are evil. One must be somewhat gullible and probably quite unintelligent to believe that "tech" companies are not working to enslave people and destroy our government. Of course the destruction of our country was going to come through corporations.

  78. Reading about these therapy methods stresses me out

  79. I got my first job in the technical end of computers in 1978. By 1992, this already was clear to me. In the same way the tech revolution from the mid 1910's to the late 1920's transformed America and sifted all the money to the ruling class, I was sure this would happen again. And in the bargain, we get the surveillance state. Some of the tech workers might want to study the attitudes the public had to engineers in the 1970's, during the Vietnam War ("baby killers"). You didn't major in engineering in any major college without receiving a significant amount of scorn. Yes, you are part of the problem. And you're nothing more than the obsequious entourage of unregistered foreign agents like Mark Zuckerberg.

  80. The inner world can't be "hacked." Good luck trying.

  81. It’s all about the data.

  82. Unplug and go outside occasionally. It might help you feel better. I find all those calmness apps just annoying.....

  83. A very common condition in tech industry - been around for decades - is the "I'm smarter than everybody in the room" syndrome. It's almost like this arrogance is formally taught in engineering school. Here, confronted with the inadequacies of its culture, tech workers are trying to solve the problem with the problem. Hilarious, really. As long as an app-with-a-monthly-cost is seen as a solution, the patient still don't see the problem. Nice to know tho, that somebody's making a profit off their ignorance...the way the techies have been doing to millions of others for so long.

  84. Dear members of Silicon Valley, As a thirty-year veteran of said valley, I would recommend that the best thing to do is to get a Life and not an app. Doing therapy is a fantastic start at getting a Life. We all deserve to have a Life (that life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness thing). Back in the day, Silicon Valley Life included good pay, nice stock options, four weeks vacation and a well-earned sabbatical after five years of work. Also, Life was affordable. You could buy a house and raise a family. There was even time for a hobby. I know that this is not the case today. I think your generation needs to ask, what happened? Why can't we have a Life? And what do we need to do to get one? Believe me, you deserve it. And I know you are smart enough and brave enough to figure this out.

  85. @Econfix I agree with the implied unionization message, but the housing situation is largely the fault of your cohort, who threw tantrums any time anyone suggested putting dense housing or improved public transportation in Palo Alto or Cupertino lest the "charm" of the area be ruined.

  86. @T. Warren, Another thought is that if we can off-shore to China and India, why not to the rest of the United States? In this age of advanced communications, you can work anywhere. And there are a lot of cool places to live that could use smart people and companies. It is a matter of creativity, imagination, and will.

  87. @Econfix I mean, that's already happening to a limited extent, especially to places like Portland, Denver, Raleigh, Austin, etc. And those places are suffering the same problem with housing shortages for largely the same reasons (populace reluctant to deal with the problem besides burying their heads in the sand and hoping it's just an economic fad that'll blow over eventually). Even with the release valve that is outsourcing, the housing problem won't go away and will remain as long as we don't drastically overhaul housing construction and zoning in California.

  88. I’m glad for the focus on these issues. But Big Tech, the industry that has knowingly screwed over this country on the grandest scale since Big Tobacco, is not going to solve these issues using the same alienating and invasive technologies that are wrecking a two-century experiment in democracy, ending the right to privacy, exposing the world to cybersecurity disasters, and worming into the deepest places of the human psyche to exploit hardwired vulnerabilities for one thing only: corporate profit profit. If these very smart, very narrow minded Stanford wunderkids had the sense of purpose that they are now so anxious about (the loss of glamor in their jobs! Please help us!), they might actually leave these industries, but where would they get their blood-money stock options? If we wanted to tackle mental health in this country, we could all go throw our iPhones in the river.

  89. of course they could just quit these soul sucking mean to the world jobs, but oh no, the solution is another app band-aid to make possible more days n years at work...... tech workers, in my city san fran, are clueless money addicts..... tech has made san francisco a cold heartless city that only cares about money.... tech workers take families apartments blindly, pay triple high rent, do not have time for art or community.... tech is all about greed in the name of "progress"..... having facebook does not make up for being evicted.... born n raised in sf but now gone because of insane rent that only tech workers r ok with... what a mess.

  90. Yep. I’m about to learn San Francisco—my home for several decades and a place I once loved—for the very same reason. The tech industry is like locusts—they swarm in and eat up special places and cultures, leaving only a soulless money driven upscale shell behind.

  91. Nice - Silicon Valley, where I live, already boxed, shipped the 'life 'and monetized the 'liberty' , now is on to streaming apps for the ^pursuit of happiness ^

  92. I work in the tech industry and have seen this. Human connection is what we need. Helping others, reaching out, giving, receiving. There is joy in connecting in person. We seem to easily forget this in the digital age. Also, therapy is hard work, and can take years. We are not something to be "fixed" or "optimized," except in the sense that we as people should strive to better ourselves when possible. And often that comes through adversity and working through problems. It's life-long work and life-long learning. We are onions, and after you pull back one layer, there is always another. The work never ends, we shouldn't want it to.

  93. If any of these young techies really cared about making the world around them better, they would get involved in civic action, straight up Ralph Nader style, and not by building an app. That's something they could be proud of. Buuuuuttt, they're motivated by the totally unrealistic illusion of becoming a billionaire, which will obviously never happen. Their refusal to acknowledge this exposes a truth about Silicon Valley in that the sole pursuit of money ain't altruistic and working endless hours for someone making 500x what these workers make isn't particularly fun or cool. It's Wall Street without a dress code, plain and simple.

  94. @N The good things that have come out of high tech have had far more of an impact than Ralph Nader as a political organizer. Indeed, Ralph Nader as a writer made the world better in a way he failed to manage via civic action. That’s not to defend those solely pursuing money, but many in Silicon Valley manage some sort of balance.

  95. Unionize, unionize, unionize. Then create a political platform based on doing good, as teachers have done, and you will have real hope for the future. I am a union rep in my 50s, and although I am working hard and some of my colleagues are burning out, I have a fulfilling life because I am trying to create a better future for our younger teachers. Be strong and fight for a decent life and the world (and jobs) you want to see for your children.

  96. @Jack Frost I wish American public education had improved as much in effectiveness as computers, but it seems to have gone in the other direction.

  97. Until people slow down, pull their faces out of tiny screens, interact with other people, and find beauty in the world, they are going to be mentally messed up and in therapy (if they can afford it). I started out as an engineer in Silicon Valley back in the 70s. It's always been a greed and money driven culture on a short fuse. Nothing changes except every incoming wave of naive youth who buy into the myth. Wise up!

  98. @PJD Agreed, except I was a programmer in the 90s in Colorado. And my son was in network security until last year, when he realized how horrible things are. The industry never thinks about what it is doing or why, doesn't care about employees, and is only about greed.

  99. @PJD Every wave of naive youth think their generation is more clever than anyone who came before and won't fall into the same traps. I can't count the number of people who think there will be no end to the current boom because "we know better now". Granted, the period of strong growth has gone on for a good deal longer than before, but the second the economy really starts to slow down, a lot of these smug pointless startups being kept alive by the VC gravy train are going to vanish.

  100. @tcm It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't pretend so hard that they were helping humanity or care about anything but the bottom line. I'm glad fewer people are drinking the Kool-Aid these days.

  101. I am so disappointed that the entire article is about another app. Another app or startup to make the founders and investors wealthy. This time, it promises to take care of your ,metal health. How about just turning all the lights and devices off once the sunsets? Lie in the dark, watch the sky, listen to the crickets, relaxing with no thoughts drifting into sleep? For two hours, relax, unwind, be with yourself, the natural rhythm of the universe, and nature. Cost? Free. Will improve your mental health by 100%. Money back guaranteed. One day, we will all revolt, or some of us will be be early adapters to detest consumer tech ad much as we once did for TV. Remember when TV came on board, when everybody wanted one and watched. Then decades later, it became apparent that TV is nothing more than pre-fabricated entertainment and carefully siphoned news. And then, It was cool to say, no, I don’t watch TV because I don’t have one! One day, I hope someone will untether technology for business and facts finding (essential), from marketing/entertaining/passive consumption (non essential). I’d love access to such an ad free internet, without incessant links to more pages. It would be something I would pay for. Freedom.

  102. Great post. However, your observations have probably set some entrepreneur on the path to develop a "revolt" app for just this purpose. The "revolt" app will provide the user with a series of questions to determine the user's personality type and revolt tendencies within a predefined revolt matrix to assist the user to identify a cause to revolt against. Using an algorithm drawn from data from revolts throughout history - political, cultural, philosophical - the app will then provide the user with strategies for successfully revolting. The $59.00 ad-free version will use a Facebook plug-in and Google geographic data to assist the user to link with other revolutionaries with similar causes.

  103. @Joanna Or fix you mental health the old fashioned way, by having a good stiff drink every day at 5 PM. As the line in Animal House goes "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily"

  104. @Hugh G Alcohol is not the answer. And alcoholism is a disease that no one is immune to. The Santa Clara Valley, which includes Silicon Valley, offers over 550 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week. Coincidence? I think not.

  105. The last thing I would do is to share my most personal thoughts and feelings via an app. This data will get hacked, it’s not if, but when. This would have an impact far greater than your credit card info being stolen if it gets into the wrong hands.

  106. News flash for the Silicon Valley workers: You're worried that what you're doing isn't "making a difference"? It's not. You work in a factory. Same as the folks in Detroit. What you make is a product. Period. The only people who think Google is awesome are people who work at Google. Same with any other tech company. Silicon Valley is physically gross, financially stupid, and takes itself way to seriously.

  107. Agree with everything except the financially stupid part. one thing these companies know how to do is make money

  108. Once again the NYT is writing about a problem with the tech industry - its favorite target - 3000 miles away. Why not write, for a change, about the culture of the NY financial industry or the famously overworked NY legal industry? Or are the industries that NY is famous for immune to stress?

  109. None of this is all that surprising. In Silicon Valley, you have a hyper-concentration of smart, ambitious people surrounded by money, power, greed, and hubris. Some of these people are going to have an internal crisis of purpose, ethics, and identity. What is surprising is that so many of them are willing to reassess their lives in open and critical ways. Some of this is rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area's culture of self-reflection and social critique that is sometimes ridiculed but in other times galvanized real social change. Can the readers of the New York Times imagine Wall Street financiers and stockbrokers having this type of crisis of the conscience at this scale in 2008? Apart from couple of individuals, the culture of "Wolves of Wall Street" never waivered. If Silicon Valley is a play of naive but idealistic young people trying to figure out a better way, much of the economic centers in the rest of America (Wall Street in NY, energy corridor in Houston, commodity exchanges in Chicago, Hollywood in Los Angeles, K-Street in Washington DC) are filled with cynical people who could not feel an ethical or an existential crisis if it bit them on their behinds.

  110. @UC Graduate Well stated! Most of the commentators fall under one or all of the following categories: cynics, jealous, do-nothingers, depressed, non-reflective, and just plain mean. Ever try to grow then you’ll realize how hard it can get and admire these young adults for even starting however imperfectly.

  111. “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” Why do you people always frame everything as wars of domination and conquering and laying waste? What is wrong with you people, give it up. Humanity is only a meaningless speck in the cosmos so show some humility already.

  112. When New York boomed and then busted a bit, all the artsies went into therapy because they at least had some money to pay for it. Now the bloom is off the rose, at least as far as some people in tech are concerned (I do not use the term "techie". Lot's of people in tech companies wouldn't know one end of a cable from the other). And so the next phase ensues: trade lucre for self-love.

  113. This is just tech assaulting you one more way - monetizing the pain created by their industries - a truly hypocritical approach. Good economics - vertical integration. Do their kids get a discount?

  114. If they were still with us Kurt Vonnegut and George Carlin would know what to do with this material. It's ego warfare 101, bright kids whose parents forgot to give them the tools needed to deal with their fellow humans and a conscience to navigate through a world filled with fools and scoundrels. The result is a fiercely competitive individual who's out to slay dragons, only to find that the dragon is inside gnawing away at what's left of his own humanity...

  115. @Tribal Elder Eloquent and accurate.

  116. @Tribal Elder Accurate.

  117. I’m a therapist in San Francisco. The therapy tech apps are often created by 24 year olds who do not understand therapy (or really people) at all. They promise things that just are not realistic. I worked briefly with one and was sold an alluring promise of clients who are a good fit for my style and expertise being sent to me seamlessly, matched in sophisticated ways (at a lower rate of pay for me of course.) In reality, the matching seemed completely random and clunky. Yelp would have been better. Many of the matching services work on a system that exploits therapists and mental health workers—paying us a ridiculously low rate for this market (or any market). Some of them plan to create robot therapists to replace highly trained human professionals. Robots treating humans for human issues? How cynical is that. We do have a mental health crisis and we do need to make therapy (and finding the right therapist) much more accessible. Generally though these apps provide a cheap substitute for the real thing, promising what they cannot deliver.

  118. @Renee Dean Meh, the principles of Cognitive, or Cognitive Behavioral or Rational Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Albert Ellis is one of my heros) are pretty straight forward and very effective. It can easily be conveyed by a book (Rational Living by Ellis) or an app. BUT, like reading about tennis, you won't actually learn the game until you get out there and actually practice. It is perfectly possible for many people to rid themselves of deep or lasting depression or anxiety and in fact make themselves very resiliant to future episodes. I speak from experience. I'm a tech worker/euntreprenure in Silicon Valley and needed a quicker pace and more facts than most therapists could provide, so I just taught myself -- going way further, for instance getting rid of my lifelong fear of heights (not easy). Therapists can useful to many, especially if they help people practice and internalize rational thinking but they are extremely expensive and most don't even try to take insurance. So, apps and books are a great way to scale this training in how to use one's brain. Indeed, it was key in overcoming my own anxious temperament and starting companies w/o too much stress.

  119. @BarryG The therapeutic effect of books and apps would depend entirely on the "quality" of the book or app, on its scope and pretensions. Some issues are so deeply seeded that reading a book or consulting an app of the appropriate quality might just begin to scratch the surface. Just as in the rest of medicine there is the emergency room and long term care, and the two are not interchangeable, only complementary. One size does not fit all.

  120. @Renee Dean Yes, most of these apps (in fact, nearly all apps in general) operate on a business model of taking something that's largely working already and trying to insert themselves in as a middle man, while paying less to the service provider and charging more to the customer. This "convenience charge" is always said to be backed up by data, analysis, they've screened and vetted people for you, etc - but never live up to the promise and are just a way to justify taking that middle-man fee.

  121. I’m always confused by this mythology of tech workers being visionaries and life-transforming gurus. The reality is that tech workers have backgrounds in computer science, engineering and math. They are highly analytical, practical people. That’s why there are actual workshops at incubators to teach startups how to create a narrative for their startup idea (aka make up an origin story that sounds good). It’s not a natural thing. Sounds like these people took that workshop seriously. Also, the idea that tech workers are just now waking up to the less savoury parts of social and business domination is silly. If you took a poll at Facebook of how many of their tech employees have a personal active account, I would not be shocked if it’s quite low. I would also not be surprised if tech workers has the lowest engagement with social media and apps among all groups. That’s my anecdotal experience.

  122. Therapy is just a palliative. The reason tech workers are so bothered is because they are feeling tremendous guilt. The problem was they all eagerly touted the benefits to humanity that all the new tech could bring about but totally REFUSED TO LISTEN when non-techies tried to point out potential harmful effects. They mostly got defensive, self-righteous, and accused critics of being luddites. Case in point, the corrosive and quite often deadly effect of unregulated mass communication and broadcasting that social media enables. I call Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter the number one enablers of the breakdown of informed democracy and civility the world over. Is the tech industry doing anything about it other than happy talk and toothless remedies? I'd say no. And yes it's still mostly greed that's stopping them.

  123. @RH. Yikes, how knowledgeable were you about a job's impact and the world when you were in your late teens and 20s? How young so many of them are seems to be glossed over in what you've written. Most aren't forty-year-olds having a mid-life crisis.

  124. @RH That some of us in high tech believed that there would be “benefits to humanity… [from] unregulated mass communication” does not mean that we “REFUSED TO LISTEN,” nor that we were “the number one enablers of the breakdown of informed democracy and civility the world over.” Giving people tools always has a downside in a fallen world. Perhaps you and the luddites are correct, and perhaps censorship is better than freedom, but some of us genuinely believe that it would have been even worse. Not that I am denying the appeal of the generous salary and equity I have received, but it is possible (though by no means universal) to try to do good while being well paid.

  125. @Flash Sheridan See, that's the problem. You think in terms of censorship or freedom. Black and white. That's what I mean by REFUSING TO LISTEN. Somebody says there are some problems with unregulated online speech and your response is Luddites pushing for Censorship! Evil! Stop them! Nobody with any sense ever said blanket censorship was the solution. My suggested solution is to treat Facebook et al as publishers not platforms. Make them responsible for their content, just like TV networks. The tech industry is filled with very smart people. But their smarts are in abstract, symbolic reasoning. There's another kind of smarts that resides on the opposite end of the spectrum, the kind that allows one to see human relations and society more clearly and better understand the effects, both personal and societal, of massive changes like new technologies. This is the kind of smarts that Silicon Valley sorely lacks. Society needs both kinds to function properly.

  126. If I came into an industry assuming that that one industry could "change the world," I would also be depressed and even despairing when I discovered what a lie I had been told. Solution: stop believing the lie. Stop worshipping at the temple of technology, and you will have only the same concerns that the rest of the First World has.

  127. @calleefornia We did change the world. We didn’t foresee the worst of the downside, e.g. the backlash to the Arab Spring, smartphone-assisted ethnic cleansing in Burma, and Chinese anger against dissidents. On the third hand, we know about the downside largely due to technology, which means that perhaps we can do something about it.

  128. @Flash Sheridan "Knowing about the downside" reaches much further than whatever political concerns seem to matter most to you. You seem to have missed the underlying problems with the worship of tech, which the article and merely living in the SV with open eyes and ears, would reveal.

  129. @Flash Sheridan Such as?

  130. So ends the euphoria stage of tech adoption but as long as there is money to be made there will be snake oil salesmen in Silicon Valley.

  131. This is precisely why tying your sense of self worth to work alone is a bad idea. I work in big tech and help make a product that hundreds of millions use but it’s not who I AM. People take themselves way too seriously in the valley.

  132. Engineers (INTJs, you know who you are and you know what I'm talking about) love systems. They especially love systems that remove the human element from the messy, unorganized humanities stuff. If you can demonstrate for them a system that approaches those things logically, they'll pay for it, rub their hands together, clap, throw them up, and think, "OK, that's taken care of." But here's the problem. You still have to think emotionally about messy emotional human stuff, about whether a system is being correctly applied, or if it is even applicable to the messy situation at hand. In other words, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem has to be solvable by pounding. An app won't solve every problem.

  133. Oh brother, Nellie really thrive on sensationalism. Online therapy is a quick fix but not a long term solution. Online therapy cannot prescribe medications. I live right in the heart of Silicon Valley and know lots of people still using "normal" in-person therapy. Silicon Valley isn't near as maverick as you make it to be in your columns.

  134. How do I describe all the wrong things in this article? Let me count the ways...

  135. mention of changing careers.....

  136. This article offers interesting information with an understandably satirical edge. However, I wish it weren’t quite so snarky and didn’t have such a self-congratulatory tone.

  137. Let us get clear about certain facts concerning the computer revolution. It is not first and foremost an industrial revolution; it is and was, for the last 500 years or so, a cognitive revolution as computers are a model of mind that is computational and representational. The profound changes this means for humans, exceeds any approach to the problem as another tech revolution that the greedy money folks will use to cheat us. NO! This cognitive revolution has done more to advance our well being than ten different technical revolutions put together. Do not let social scientists, politicians of any stripe, mess this up with their regulative impulses.

  138. @Timothy holmes. When you claim that allowing a person to instantly broadcast messages to an audience of millions **without any regulation at all**, then you are also saying that it is perfectly fine for a person to falsely shout "Fire!" in a crowded cinema.

  139. The NYC-based media, publishing, advertising, fashion, law, finance, theater, and arts businesses have been inducing these sorts of neuroses – and worse – in their job-market entrants and journeypersons, since there was money... And since before there was a television industry in New Jersey – let alone, a Si Valley... Get to the summit, and the view – and cocktail-party conversation – are singular... Further, you get free license to stomp and kick and crush all those who’d follow you up – for the impertinence of competing too vigorously... Occasionally, despite your and your clique’s best efforts, a few make it through... But you can’t let up too much – or all the therapists and divorce lawyers would decamp to LA... After which, of course, the Metropolis suicide rate would spike – downward... Conversely, if your snark sufficiently snide and sneering – SF gold-rush miners will actually reverse-migrate to the Big Apple, to buy you drinks at the bar... Or buy the whole bar, to impress you... No one plays harder to get, than the quintessential NY baroness... AOC spurned a whole restaurant row and yacht basin...

  140. So they’re feeling anxious and guilty in Silicon Valley? Sounds like an entirely appropriate response to me. Considering that Facebook helped Trump get elected, and that Twitter has helped Trump maintain power, I for one am glad they’re feeling existential dread. They should be.

  141. It will take a lot more then talk therapy to straighten up the harm caused by the tech giants. Maybe a little shock therapy would be better.

  142. Too many people who were taught they were exceptional and are going to make a dent in the universe - having to come to terms with the reality that they may not do so - then struggling to answer what then? What they need is not just therapy but spiritual enlightenment to understand that it is okay to live a fulfilled life and enjoy themselves as they go through the journey. Often the greatest positive impact they can have is on those around them and that can be as meaningful that trying to save the millions and billions of people with new apps.

  143. Regarding an app, how about an app for a new political party - the Millennial Party? If things are that bad in Silicon Valley (and I think they are), then get organized, build a vision, take action, build a team, build a movement. Don't wait for someone to do it for you. Think of it as an interesting hobby and a great way to meet like-minded people. It is your turn to make a difference.

  144. @Econfix This movement is happening. It’s called the Bernie Sanders campaign.

  145. @Econfix - IMHO if we got rid of words that classify people by their age, color of their skin, religion, political leaning, or anything else such as "millenial party" which is horribly non-inclusive and just thought of people as people it would help hugely.

  146. @Lucky Yes, those are dividecand conquer words, not “ winning” words. Notice Bernie Sanders talks about “ all”. No slice and dice for him.

  147. As an -ex Silicon Valley'r for 30 years... working for both public and private companies (read: 1-1-1: 1 IPO, 1-sold for VC money, 1 - bust) I've been at the forefront of technology in years' past and have experienced a lot. Solving the world's ills with (only) technology brings to mind the classic Einstein quote: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them". What is needed is not the traditional approaches shown in this article. They do work... they take a lot of time and money... but, the facts that I've seen time-and-time-again is that what people want and what they do are often contrary to their Soul's Purpose. It's an inner conflict. A bit too "woo-woo"?. No, tech is in an existential crisis when trying to help others, yet creating ways to enslave us by using that same technology because of bad actors. A catch 22, for sure. What is needed is for Silicon Valley humans: do a Soul Adventure in the best place on the planet that attracts true personal transformation - Sedona, Arizona. This is the place that most international guru's come to teach. This is the place that spiritual people from around the world have come to live and ply their trade of helping others. If you want true transformation of a persons' Soul, come to Sedona and do a Soul Adventure.

  148. I think the press just makes up memes and then reports on them. The main change in Silicon Valley is that Google and Facebook have become large companies and that work in them has become ... like work in a large company. That has sent more than a few into therapy as they can't bear to leave the large paychecks and perks for the bare room, lack of resources and money and uncertainty of most real startups. For myself, I've chosen a yet again new area where it's possible we can do something against global warming. Bootstrapping it because the investment models of most VCs don't fit this well.

  149. In other words, you have these tech employees who are anxious and depressed about the unfortunate state of the world and their contribution to the decline. And the solution is to get them to feel better about themselves so that they can continue to be productive and go on doing the same work that is contributing to the mess.

  150. @Robert Leone No, the solution is to bail out of this industry and get a real, not a virtual, life.

  151. The problem isn't "more tech can't solve the problem of tech!" Its "more speculative capitalism on steroids can't solve the failure of working in late capitalism." This is the midlife crisis of generations before but with a more obviously dysfunctional society for everyone (in the past society was still dysfunctional but out of mainstream sight, for minorities and other marginalized people)

  152. "He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior" but HE may also be a very tormented person. When we are our own enemy who must be "conquered" we are in for a rough ride through life. Isn't it the warrior and conquering mentality that has gotten the tech industry where it is?

  153. "They are trying to control the experience which is precisely the reason they need the therapy, and how they got the world into this mess, to begin with. Stop trying to control the experience and allow the experience, and therapy, to be a mirror and exploration." From a therapist friend (caveat: did not read article, reacted to headline, but seemed a worthy insight for your consideration)

  154. They who live by the sword, die by the sword. (equation: sword=tech)

  155. Blow up your t.v. throw away your paper Go to the country, build you a home Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches Try an find jesus on your own -John Prine

  156. @Lisa Sounds good -in theory. Except, for a person of color like me, moving to rural America may not end up so peachy. Renting a plot in an urban community garden on the other hand... :)

  157. Sounds like a good time to start listening to the blues. "The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B.King would be a good place to begin. Then there's Robert Johnson singing about "Love in Vain," with a "Hellhound On My Trail." There's also "Stormy Monday," but I hear Tuesday's just as bad.

  158. @Patricia Great comment! Listening to the Blues has helped me through many rough periods in my life. Somehow the Blues reach way down where nothing else can go. Nina Simone , Etta James, Robert Johnson, Thelonius Monk. And many more...but the thrill is gone directly applies here. Here’s hoping the tech workers continue to rebel against evil applications.

  159. @Patricia You should watch Jaws. There is a scene where the 3 main actors are sitting at the dining room table, having a glass of wine and actually having a conversation. No computers, no cell phones, no nothing. People have lost that art.

  160. I’m a therapist in San Francisco, so this describes my life, my current clients. What the apps miss (and to some extent the article itself) is that the whole point of psychotherapy is connection—connection to self, intimacy with others. Whether my clients are struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma, existential terror, or any other misery-making things, feeling more connection to other humans, to meaningful action, even to me, helps them feel better. And when they feel better they can make choices to make their companies/lives/the planet better. This doesn’t happen through mindfulness or positive thinking (though those things can help). It happens through the strength of the therapeutic relationship, which happens in-person, in a comfy office, sometimes with tea. Any meaningful exploration of psychotherapy HAS to include the relationship. Otherwise it just perpetuates the isolating American individualism that’s making us miserable to begin with.

  161. Seems to me, for good or ill, this situation is like the Gold rush. Pretty miserable conditions for a possible financial bonanza. What bothers me is the total lack of ethics or regulation on the products. At almost age 80, I don’t have a television( the prescription drug ads were the final straw)don’t “ do” Facebook, can’t bear airbnb as it’s wrecking my town, never use Uber, use my phone for calls, texts, and taking photos, never use Amazon, etc. Instead I get Netflix dvds by mail, read books, listen to cds, walk by the ocean, and talk with my friends at the local coffee shops. I’m pretty content with the choices I have made.

  162. My parents grew up in the age before "Psychology Today." Their lives did not hinge on self-reflection. Mine did. It was the greatest cultural gap between us. As they aged, the job of growing a healthy sense of self was more and more threatening to them. They had successfully maneuvered the Great Depression, Wars, Dust Bowl and building a post war life. My point? Silicon Valley has to adopt a healthy sense of self as a goal. But be forewarned; because it's a Cultural will change you. It's not business model for keeping patients sick so you can build more hospitals. It's a business model for making people healthy so they have the capacity to get off drugs and on with their lives.

  163. Volunteer at a low-income school or shelter two hours a week. Eye to eye contact with people outside social circle who desperately need support. Helps both parties.

  164. I am a retired Employee Assistance professional who is a licensed mental health counselor. Many firms in Silicon Valley have Employee Assistance Programs and I highly recommend a troubled employee to use them. You can talk to a mental health professional on the phone about your concerns. It is absolutely confidential and you can be directed to available and qualified help for your problems e.g. depression, work stress, anxiety, addiction, family problems, etc. I really recommend seeing someone in person. Workers are not crazy and are most likely in a very difficult work situation and it will be a great relief to talk to someone who is skilled and experienced. It is very stressful to be in a job that earns you a living but at the same time conflicts with your values or has other problems like an abusive boss. Sometimes you have to do the brave thing and leave but not without skilled consultation.

  165. One way to feel better is to make someone else feel better.

  166. Some time ago I tried using one of those employee assistant phone numbers only to find out that the first thing they do is inform the employer which of course is the opposite of what they claim so no wonder many don't use them. Keep in mind our entire system is broken so often going for help is just useless thanks to our politics.

  167. @joe Hall Yes, so Joe, the solution to the problem is to do what citizenship requires: get involved in politics and, by SUSTAINED participation and effort, change the politics

  168. Psychology apps to fix problems caused by too much data, too much useless tech, and too many apps? Sounds circular.

  169. I have been reading how silicon valley has taken over things like Esalin and the once highly creative Burning Man and I have been wondering where the search for humanity is. My wife, who works with homeless and marginally homeless folk is a follower of Richard Rohr and was talking about finding God in the people she works with. I am not a particularly religious person, but it struck me that one of the things wrong with our society is that we need to see value and respect in every person. Sometimes, instead of revulsion or indifference, it is OK to say what can I do to help you brother.

  170. It must be depressing to realize that all your creative efforts are being used for the purpose of persuading people to spend money on things, things and more things, along with a lot of so-called services which are, at bottom, pathetic and silly.

  171. unplug. take a walk in nature. talk to a real person. in person. connect with something real in real time.

  172. The ugly secret is out, writing code causes mental illness. Your mind reacts when you don’t do anything of value. My father build bridges, when he died I found an album with a picture of every bridge he worked on. What has anyone in the tech industry to be proud of other than their pay check?

  173. Maybe if you have normal, decent communications with human beings you wouldn't have to depend on the pseudo science of apps. Turn off your electronic devices and for once look up to the sky and to other peoples faces.

  174. Thanks to Trump and the chaos and cruelty he produces, the general day-to-day level of anxiety and tension is incredibly high everywhere.. Many of us were in a state of genuine grief for months after the 2016 election, and that was before we knew how bad it would get. What this means is that when there is trouble in our personal or work lives, our levels of anxiety and depression go even higher--higher than if our political baseline was normal. It's like a storm coming during high tide: we are more easily flooded. It's certainly not just Silicon Valley.

  175. I have been what is now known as a "life coach" for almost 20 years. I have done extensive training, always had a coach of my own to support my own growth and development - your blind spots and limitations impede your clients - and have worked with dozens of men and women all across the U.S. and also in Canada... I was shocked by the level of illusion - and lack of common sense - in the content of this article; that the "start-ups" believe the solution to help and heal these tech professionals seeking support for their emotional and mental apps? That the coaches or mental health professionals quoted here are not vigorously advocating precisely what's missing for these people...more real life, without technology. I can guarantee you that help and healing is generated from a better balance of the physical, emotional, mental and is not included in this formula. Connection, cuddling, conversation, nature, sex, creative endeavors...these will help and heal, not more apps. Technology is missing the component critical to our well-being...our humanity. Or, if you'd like the existentialists view of the situation...what I do for me, I do for humanity. Sadly, the start-up folks don't get it, they are offering more of the same.