Reasons To Try E-Counseling

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Erban, LMFT, IMH-E
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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Electronic counseling, often called e-counseling, or online therapy service, is a therapy method where clients and mental health professionals interact online through live messaging, online chat, or phone calls. Many therapists who provide cyber counseling also work in traditional therapy or face-to-face counseling settings. Online counseling services offer several benefits, particularly for those who have experienced barriers to mental health care in their city.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
With online therapy, help is available

Benefits of e-counseling

There are many benefits of e-counseling for both the patients and the counselor:

Convenience 

Busy schedules can be standard in American society, as many businesses run from nine to five. With online therapy, you do not have to worry about setting appointments to work around your schedule or taking time off work. You may be able to have counselor availability through email or text any time of the day, any day of the week. Additionally, depending on your counselor's availability, you might be able to sign up for a late-night or early-morning appointment. 

Depending on the particular service you select, your therapist may respond to emails or messages within 24 hours. You can also schedule appointments to call, live chat, or video chat with your therapist on many e-counseling platforms. You might schedule appointments during your lunch break, on weekends, or at other convenient times.

Availability for many 

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People who live in rural areas or have difficulties commuting may reduce challenges in getting to a therapist's office if they use electronic counseling. With online therapy, you can use any electronic device, like a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, to talk to a therapist from the comfort of your own home. 

For some, mental health problems or physical conditions could keep them from being able to attend therapy sessions or traditional counseling. Online therapy platforms can allow you to attend mental health counseling in a location that feels safe and comfortable such as your own home, without sacrificing your health. 

Affordability 

One of the benefits of online counseling is its affordability. E-counseling is often a fraction of the cost of traditional face-to-face therapy through an insurance company. The average price of e-counseling may be close to $50 to $90 per week rather than the average of $100-$250 per session for traditional in-person therapy. Because your counselor does not have to pay for an office, utility bills, and transportation, your costs for treatment may be lower. 

Options  

Mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disordermay have roots in an adverse traumatic experience or substance use. A primary care physician may refer a patient to other mental health professionals or specialists in a traditional setting. However, with e-counseling services, experts in any field may all work under the same umbrella organization that refers therapists for you. 

With the patient's permission, two or more online therapy providers may collaborate in approaching a solution, or the patient may choose to see an online counselor with a particular skill set. Patients might have the option to switch therapists or find a therapist of a specific gender or background, like a minority counselor with experience in counseling for the LGBTQIA+ community or treating serious mental health problems such as trauma disorders. 

Wider reach

Online mental health services may offer therapy anytime, anywhere an internet connection is possible. It is also often available in multiple states and countries. If someone from a particular state cannot find options under their insurance plan, they might be able to find a counselor online from another state that can offer the care they seek. 

Cons of e-counseling

Some people may not benefit from online counseling in every situation. For example, if you are having thoughts of suicide, are in active crisis, are looking for medication management, or want a diagnosis, counseling via an online platform may not benefit you. 

Online counseling may not take insurance coverage

Many insurance companies do not cover online therapy. However, as the popularity of e-counseling continues to rise, insurers may join the group of companies that offer it. Health insurers do not cover services on some platforms, like BetterHelp. However, BetterHelp offers affordable pricing plans comparable with most insurance plans' co-pays or less. Financial aid may be available upon contacting customer service. 

Lack of nonverbal communication

With online therapy services, your therapist may not see your body language as they could if you were in a traditional face-to-face therapy session. Counseling sessions through video chat may eliminate this problem to an extent. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
With online therapy, help is available

E-counseling options

There are several online counseling options available. Additionally, studies show that certain types of online therapy, like mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are effective for treating conditions like anxiety or depression and similar symptoms. If you're interested in trying e-counseling, consider a platform such as BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples, or teen counseling.

Takeaway

Therapy online with e-counseling can be a beneficial choice for many. It often offers attainability and flexibility and reduces barriers for those seeking professional counseling support. If you're interested in getting started, consider reaching out to a counselor to find out how online therapy might benefit you. 
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