Situations Where Counseling Online Can Help You
By Sarah Fader
Updated May 09, 2019
Reviewer Avia James
If you're struggling with stress, relationships, emotional problems, or other major life challenges, you can likely benefit from working with a therapist. However, for many people, actually going to a therapist or counselor in person is impractical or intimidating. Luckily, there are now plenty of companies that provide online counseling services. BetterHelp.com is a website that offers services from certified professional counselors and therapists. There are many situations where it makes more sense to work with an online counselor than seeing one in person - here's when and why you should consider giving it a try.
You have a packed work or school schedule.
If you have a busy schedule, you may not have time to see a therapist in person. For many hardworking employees or students, the idea of taking time off to see a therapist is very stressful and counterproductive. By choosing to counsel online instead, you can talk to your therapist during your downtime when it is convenient for you. Online counseling allows you to message your therapist whenever you need in a format that is convenient for you (chat messaging, phone call or video messaging), so you can talk about what's on your mind whenever you need it.
You travel frequently.
For individuals who frequently travel for work and may be on the road for days or weeks at a time, a more traditional therapy structure (i.e., face-to-face at a set time, every week) may be difficult to maintain. Online counseling can provide individuals with frequently variable schedules with a therapy modality that they can be consistent with. Since online counseling is not dependent on physical meetings, therapy can travel along with you. Also, the flexible nature of online counseling can help individuals with variable schedules stick to the therapy process without having to commit to a rigid or set therapy schedule.
You find the idea of talking to someone in person stressful or intimidating.
Many people know they need therapy, but they don't go because they don't like the idea of talking to someone in person about their problems. If this feeling sounds familiar to you, you will likely feel much more comfortable with online counseling. Online therapy takes away some of the intimidation factors because you can type out your responses and you don't need to have any face-to-face interaction if you don't want to. Without the pressure of seeing a therapist in person, you'll get more out of the therapy, because you'll be able to relax and talk more openly about what's on your mind. This can be particularly helpful for individuals struggling with anxiety or are especially apprehensive about talking to someone they don't know. The different communication modalities available in an online counseling platform can enable an individual to begin with a form of communication they are most comfortable with (e.g., chat messaging) and progress to a more direct form of communication (i.e., phone chat or video conference) when they feel ready. Since online therapy is not reliant on direct contact immediately, this can help anxious individual ease to therapy at a pace comfortable for them.
You benefit from regular check-ins and immediate support.
Online counseling is a good option for individuals who benefit from more frequent check-ins with a mental health professional. In traditional therapy settings, an individual would typically need to wait until their next session to discuss or process experiences with their therapist (unless it is an emergency). However, with online therapy, an individual is welcome to message their therapist at any time to vent or express their thoughts and feelings at any time of day. However, it is important to note that despite the convenient and accessible nature of online counseling, if you are in a true crisis, the best modality is to contact emergency or crisis services near you to access immediate help.
You live in a remote area that doesn't have easy access to a professional counselor.
If you can't get to a therapist in person because you reside in a remote or rural area, online counseling can be a great alternative to engage in mental health services. If you have access to an internet connection, you can still talk with very talented counselors who are certified professionals. Instead of driving long distances to see a counselor, which can be very expensive and time-consuming, you can schedule online sessions that are convenient for you without the travel.
You have limited access to transportation.
Some people may be discouraged about beginning therapy due to lack of transportation. Even if an individual has access to public transportation, living in areas with changing climate may make traveling during certain times of year difficult (e.g., snow storms). The remote nature of online counseling provides individuals with a modality that will enable them to consistently engage in sessions without having to rely on access to transportation. Sessions can be conducted conveniently anywhere.
You are homebound due to some reasons.
Some individuals may be homebound due to physical limitations from an illness, disability, or particular life situation. Many individuals in these situations wish to engage in therapy, but leaving home is not an option. Online counseling can be done at home and is not reliant on physical sessions in an office or clinic setting, so this is a feasible option for many homebound individuals.
You're on a budget and can't afford a traditional therapist.
Therapy can be very expensive, particularly if you don't have insurance. Unfortunately, the cost of therapy often holds people back from getting the help that they need. While there are still fees associated with counseling online, they are usually much lower than what you would pay for in-person counseling. Many insurance providers are now also choosing to cover online therapy so you can get the help you need without sacrificing your budget.
You want an opportunity to browse and select from many practitioners.
While ease of accessibility and convenience are some top reasons, people may prefer online counseling, the ability to browse and select a professional that best fits one's needs is another. Online platforms like BetterHelp have personal sites for each therapist that enables a potential client to learn more about them before potentially working with them. Also, reviews from current and previous clients in the form of videos and notes can help aid one's decision in selecting a therapist.
Determining whether or not online counseling is right for you may feel like a daunting task given the different types of counseling services available out there. Telecounseling is a new modality that may feel foreign or intimidating to many people. However, it can be a convenient and accessible option for many individuals looking to start therapy or need a more flexible therapy option. BetterHelp is a trusted online therapy platform that enables you to access licensed mental health professionals conveniently in the comfort of your home and schedule.