Today, I will be talking about my experience as a 7 Cups listener. 7 Cups is an online therapy platform. While they provide licensed therapists for a price, users can also chat with a listener for free.
If you are thinking of becoming a listener, here are a few things you may encounter:
- It will be awkward sometimes
- You will feel great after you receive good feedback
- Chats will sometimes last over two hours
- You can choose what subject you want to talk about
- It is good practice for future therapists
- You receive good training for a free service
- Sometimes you don’t help
- You will feel like you are doing something good
- 7 Cups provides a lot of support for listeners
One of the main reasons I wanted to do this review is that there are not many posts out there regarding the experience as a 7 Cups listener. One of the only posts I found was by Medium, which was titled “Illegitimate Online Therapy: My Experience as a 7 Cups Listener.”
While I completely sympathize with the author’s experience and realize that everybody will have a different experience, I couldn’t help but feel that the article was overly negative towards this service.
There were also a few things in the article that I wanted to clear up since the author missed some key details that would change someone’s perspective of the service.
To be honest, after I read that article on Medium, I did not want to join the program. It sounded sketchy, illegitimate and just not a fun time. However, I still joined, and I am glad I did.
Responding to Mediums Post About 7 Cups
Before we start, I want to address a few claims that Medium’s post made.
Medium’s Article: “People wanting only to be told what to do, supplemented by mild sexual harassment? Probably not that different from what some actual therapists experience in a typical day.”
My Response: This quote bothered me. First of all, I honestly do feel bad for the author – obviously, they got dealt a bad hand at first. But you need to go into this service with both eyes open. It is a free online service, obviously, you will run into things like this. But 7 Cups provides protection for their listeners. The author themselves said that listeners have the right to block anyone if users were abusing the service.
Furthermore, I have helped several people, and those who I have talked to do not only want to be told what to do. Some do, as the author mentions, but there are ways around it (7 Cups actually provides us with sentences we can copy and paste if people ask for advice).
Medium’s Article: “What did I want going into this? I wanted to be a compassionate, level-headed presence for anyone who was looking for it. Ultimately, I wanted to be helpful. Instead, I became quickly disillusioned at the implementation of the service itself.”
My Response: This is sad to hear. The author wanted to help people, and they just had a bad experience, which can happen. However, speaking from personal experience, there have been users where I have provided a compassionate and level-headed listening ear.
If you want to help people, you really can on 7 Cups! It just may take a few times to truly experience. Even though there may be people on the site abusing the platform, there are people on there that truly want help.
What Is 7 Cups?
7 Cups is an online emotional health service that is on-demand. Users can sign up for the free version or the paid version. In the free version, users can talk to listeners, who cannot provide advice but can listen and help them process hardships they are going through. If you pay for the service, you have access to licensed therapists.
7 Cups definition of a listener: “A 7 Cups listener doesn’t judge or try to solve problems and say what to do. Our listeners just listen. They understand. They give you the space you need to help you clear your head.”
As a listener, you chat (message – no phone calls) with users online through your phone or computer. You can do this by downloading the 7 Cups app, or by logging into the website online.
Here is a brief video explaining the platform.
Pros of Being a 7 Cups Listener
You Will Feel Great After You Receive Good Feedback
While it may take a while to get going, you will eventually receive good feedback if you care about what you are doing.
The first time I received good feedback was amazing! I honestly believed I was a crappy listener until the user said how much they appreciated the chat. They mentioned that even though I could not give advice, I helped them process their problem and feel relaxed for a bit. That one review made the entire experience worth it.
You Can Choose What Subject You Want To Talk About
When you first sign up to be a listener, you can choose what subjects you prefer. I honestly don’t think these preferences do much. However, when you are looking for a new chat, you can usually see what the user wants to talk about.
For example, say there is a user you are looking at named “PinkUnicorne.” Underneath their name, they might have a topic such as “anxiety” or “loneliness.” This feature is great because you can choose a topic that you are comfortable with.
Furthermore, if you get a topic you are not uncomfortable with, you can always refer them to another listener. You have to do this since some listeners do not specify what subject they want to talk about until you start a chat with them.
It Is Good Practice for Future Therapists
Your job as a listener does not replicate that of a therapist. You can’t give advice. However, I found that I became more comfortable talking and being supportive the more I chatted with users.
As a future therapist, I personally believe that being a 7 Cups listener is great practice. It helps you get over that fear of talking to someone new and builds your confidence as a supportive listening ear.
After a few chats, I felt excited to help more people since I was confident in my abilities.
You Receive Good Training for It Being a Free Service
Something else that bothered me about Medium’s article is the claims it made of the lack of training you receive.
First of all, people have to remember it is a free service. Trainers will not receive an enormous amount of training due to this reason, and I didn’t expect to.
However, I received more training than I thought I would. For the author of the Medium article, sure, it may have taken 10 minutes for them to complete the test. For me, it took over an hour.
I actually wrote three pages of notes with the information they gave to me. There was also a few video examples for us to watch and take notes from, which I found very helpful.
In conclusion, no, listeners do not receive tons of training. But they do receive some great information that is more than enough to shape a helpful listener.
You Will Feel Like You Are Doing Something Good
One of the best things about being a part of this program is that you will feel like you are doing something good. When you talk to someone, you genuinely feel like you are helping them (or at least trying to), and that is an amazing feeling.
7 Cups Provides a Lot of Support for Listeners
On top of the training that 7 cups provides, they also provide tons of great resources for listeners as well.
Here is a list of a few things they offer.
- Welcome committee. When you first sign up as a listener, you will receive a warm welcome from a fellow member. You can ask them any questions or concerns you have.
- Support groups. There are several support groups for different topics such as anxiety, eating disorders, relationships, etc. You can either post helpful comments or ask others for advice in these communities.
- Extra training courses. 7 Cups provides over 60 extra courses that listeners can take to master their skills.
- Chat rooms for listeners. You can actually talk to a listener yourself after you have a tough chat. They can provide some support for you to process the emotions.
Cons of Being a 7 Cups Listener
It Will Be Awkward Sometimes
One of the main things you will run into is feeling awkward. Sometimes you have no clue what to say. And that’s okay! It is to be expected because, let’s be honest – we are not trained professionals!
So if you are thinking of signing up, be prepared to feel awkward for the first few chats! Or perhaps you are one of those people who never feel awkward, in which I am envious!
Chats Will Sometimes Last Over Two Hours
This situation can be avoided. This con is mostly relevant to those people who find it hard to end a chat (like me).
As a people pleaser at heart, I find it hard to end chats when they just keep going. However, you get better at it.
At the same time, some problems are bigger than others, and sometimes users need a lot of attention. For this reason, be prepared for chats to last long.
While you totally have the right not to chat for over twenty minutes, for example, sometimes it is nice to give users a bit of your time.
For instance, my first chat lasted over two hours. It was a lot. However, I felt like I really helped the person I was talking to, and it was worth it.
Sometimes You Don’t Really Help
There will be a few chats where you just don’t click with the user. Sometimes after a chat, you may just think, “well, that didn’t go well.”
As a listener, you should expect to not help everybody. Everyone is different, and some users will work better with certain listeners.
I hoped you enjoyed my quick review of 7 cups from a listener’s perspective. I also encourage people wondering about the service to check out this post: “A Psychologist’s Honest Review of 7 Cups of Tea.”
I found this post to be a bit more neutral and informative. The author discusses everything good and bad about the service and gives readers an accurate and in-depth review of what it is like to be a listener.