by Katherine Dee
Friday, 12
November 2021
Debate
14:44

Travis Scott’s therapy app won’t heal your trauma

After the Astroworld crush the last thing people need is BetterHelp
by Katherine Dee
Would you buy a therapy app this man tried to sell you? (Photo by: Avalon/PYMCA/Gonzales Photo/Lasse Lagoni/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A crush at Astroworld, the Houston music festival hosted by rapper Travis Scott, ended up killing eight people last week. In the aftermath of the tragedy, theories have taken root online that it may have been a satanic ritual. These accusations have been fuelled by the stage design, complete with an inverted cross, and the staff’s seeming nonchalance as they were informed again and again that people were being crushed in the audience. The darkness of this was compounded as it came to light that staff were instructed to refer to deceased concert goers as “smurfs.”

Then the affair became even more peculiar. Travis Scott took a long time to apologise for his role in these events. And when that apology finally came? It included a promotion: a month’s free therapy via the app BetterHelp. But don’t worry, his people reassured the sceptical, there’s no brand partnership between Travis Scott and BetterHelp.

Most of the criticism levelled at Scott focused on his ostensible desire to shirk accountability. But this is reflective of a wider problem in our culture: heartfelt apologies and human-to-human comfort are seen as inadequate when compared to professionally administered therapy. Travis Scott promoting BetterHelp might be monstrous in the face of the incredible tragedy concertgoers endured, but it also points to how reliant we have become on the get-out clause: “Maybe you should see a therapist?”

It’s not that therapy doesn’t serve a useful purpose. In the case of Astroworld, many of the attendees may well have a lot of psychological baggage that would be better unpacked with a professional. Screenshots of advice from BetterHelp’s therapists, though, don’t suggest that Travis’ fans are getting a top quality service:

It seems unlikely that the pain these victims are suffering would be assuaged by a compassionate and sincere apology from Travis Scott, a total stranger. But the society-wide acceptance that all complicated emotions must be medicalised and offloaded to a doctor is even more alienating than experiencing this kind of pain to begin with.

This kind of response is arguably even worse than simply repressing bad feelings. It says that experiences like grief are problems: to be meticulously labeled, contained to medical offices, and God willing, solved with talk therapy or medication.

Join the discussion


  • Somewhere in this there is a need to understand, and agree, who is responsible for what. I was brought up to be independent which meant being responsible for looking after myself. It was graded with all handouts stopping when I was sixteen and food and lodging when I went to university. Parental control reduced as independence increased so I could have what I wanted, go where I wanted and do what I wanted provided I earned enough to pay for it. With independence I took responsibility for my mental and physical wellbeing. The health service, sport, education were all available to help me do that but it was my responsibility to negotiate my way through it.  Since then the help that is available has increased massively, from parents, the health service, sports associations, schools, universities and employers and I have no problem with that. I do though think that it is still the responsibility of the individual to negotiate the help he needs and to look after himself. It makes no sense to pass that responsibility to those providing the help. You cannot seek independence, to be grown up, and still hold others responsible for you. Your responsibility surely includes your safety and negotiating your way through grief.

  • Pretty Satanic stuff. Like Netflix, Prime, and the rest of ‘Entertainment’ today is either degenerate, destructive, or demonic. Where are the good guys, the positive, the Nobel, Kind, dedicated, admirable, ones who build up rather than tear down.

    The second and third link (third link complete with an inverted cross, ) pretty much say it all….

  • It’s everywhere; you are not exaggerating. I can’t even play the radio with children in the car because every other song has a lewd reference. Usually I do not notice until they ask for an explanation.

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