Online Counseling Service Studies: What Conditions Can Be Helped

Updated October 8, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

An online counseling service obviously offers benefits from a traditional therapy setting. Right away, the patient can see advantages in not having to drive, which would be ideal for someone who doesn't have a car or lives away from the city. Certain disorders make it difficult for people to get out of the house such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and major depression. When a person can’t get to therapy services, choosing online therapy services or phone therapy may be just what is needed.

The patient may also feel more comfortable in a text/chat environment and may not be as forthright in confessing their private thoughts in person. In office therapy simply isn’t for everyone.

Promising Studies

Learn more about online counseling service studies and how they help people living with mental illness.

While in-person therapy and online therapy have pros and cons, what's truly significant is that it's an alternative form of counseling. Another study by John Suler demonstrated that so-called cybertherapy promoted interaction between client and therapist using more than one pathway. While in-person therapy and online therapy obviously have pros and cons, what's truly significant is that it's an alternative form of counseling and one that helps a lot of people, considering that for some, it's the only feasible option.

A meta analysis by Ephrem Fernandez et al showed that video therapy is popular, convenient, and effective. A meta analysis is a subset of systematic reviews that combine quantitative and qualitative data from multiple studies. A meta analysis gives researchers a more well-rounded view of the topic of study.

According to another survey, upwards of 50 percent of all Americans believe therapy for mental health conditions is too difficult to get, which is why they avoid in-office visits. One of the biggest advantages that an online counseling service offers is the ability to send messages to a therapist on your schedule and find a match that has live appointment online therapy times convenient for you.

What Conditions Can an Online Counseling Service Help With?

Online therapy sessions are currently being studied for severe mental illness in the hopes of discovering the best online therapy, but at this time, major psychosis, suicidal ideation, and serious antisocial disorders are still best left to in-person sessions-perhaps even inpatient therapy. These classifications of disorders typically require a more intensive therapeutic service and the ability to do quicker crisis management when urgent situations occur.

Issues a virtual counseling service can help with are mental disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, sleeping or eating problems, and PTSD.

Depression is classified as a depressed mood or loss of interest that lasts more than two weeks, and that was not caused by a significant loss or negative event in someone’s life. Child and adult depression affect about 14 million Americans which is around 6% of the population. This depression has to be severe enough that it causes you to have impaired functioning in several areas of your life including social, work or school, sleep, concentration, and activity. Online counseling can be helpful with this illness by teaching you to adopt a more positive perspective on life using tools like gratitude and mindfulness, as well as helping you learn healthy coping skills to use when you have depressive episodes.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety. That's about 18% of the population in the USA! Anxiety can manifest as constant or excessive worry that is very difficult to control and often doesn't have a real trigger that set it off. It may include such physical symptoms as restlessness, fatigue, irritability, nausea, and panic attacks. We see more people with anxiety than any other disorder in the online counseling world as it is highly effective for treatment. Your mental health counselor can help you learn how to rewire your brain by changing your thought patterns and challenging the anxious thoughts that are controlling your life, as well as help you learn some more of those healthy coping skills I mentioned in the last paragraph!

Learn more about online counseling service studies and how they help people living with mental illness.

Bipolar Disorder is a less common mental health disorder but still affects a significant portion of the population, coming in at about 2%. Bipolar disorder is classified as episodes of extreme mood disturbances that include periods of depression and mania. Depression we have already discussed, but mania includes symptoms such as impulsive behaviors, decreased need for sleep, increased sex drive, increased spending, extreme energy, and restlessness/irritability. Online counseling can be helpful here for many of the same reasons that have already been mentioned: changing thought patterns and learning healthy and effective coping skills to deal with symptoms. Your counselor can also help you come up with a plan that works for you to feel most equipped to handle your illness.

Addictions affect 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 and are another of the top reasons that people seek therapy. There are many types of addictions including drugs, alcohol, sex, technology, and virtually any other vice that meets the criteria of addiction. Some of the criteria include needing an increased amount over time to feel satisfied; going to great lengths of time and resources to obtain the materials needed to engage in the addiction and engaging a great deal of your time doing the addictive activity. All of these are to the point that they are disrupting your daily life and functioning. This category of disorders can be helped with online therapy through things like connecting the problems you are experiencing with the addiction, learning how to step-down use and replace it with more positive coping skills, and learning about how to prevent relapse. Sometimes all that is needed is the support you get from your therapist and other mental health professionals!

PTSD, affecting about 6% of Americans in any given year, is another mental health disorder that can be greatly helped by virtual therapy. You may be experiencing PTSD if you have been through a traumatic event or series of events and it has continued to affect your life severely. Symptoms include but are not limited to flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, hypersensitivity or hypervigilance, panic attacks, and a change in sleep patterns or appetite. Your online counselor can help you work through the event(s) that triggered the condition as well as aid you in learning coping skills that work for you to control the symptoms you are experiencing.

Additionally, there are many factors that individuals experience in any given period that lead them to seek therapy services, and that can be very effectively dealt with in an online therapy platform. Some of these life issues include stress, employment issues, relationship issues, LGBT issues, parenting issues, life transitions, grief/loss, divorce, family conflict, and self-esteem. One of the most valuable things about online therapy platforms is that you can write in real-time as you are experiencing something, and your therapist can read what you were going through at the moment. Your counselor can help you through any of these issues and can also be one person in your support team who is there to listen and encourage you even though they are not there in person. Clients can count on their therapy sessions being private.

BetterHelp.com is a counseling service company that offers sessions with highly educated and experienced counselors who provide mental health care online. They have earned master's degrees (or Doctorate Degrees) and have passed all licensing and certification tests. These therapists have the expertise needed to help you make serious changes in your life via an online therapy program. Why not give it a try if in person therapy has not worked well for you?

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