Online Therapy for Depression

Updated November 29, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Depression is a serious mental illness that may present a wide variety of symptoms. These symptoms can make it challenging to handle daily responsibilities or make it difficult to find the energy to go throughout your day. However, there is help available. Online therapy is one effective way to manage depression symptoms, and it is a convenient option for many people living with depression. Learn more about the benefits of online therapy for depression as well as how you can get started.

Are You Finding It Challenging To Manage Depression Symptoms?

What Is Depression?

While sadness and low energy are a normal part of life, sometimes these feelings become an unceasing part of our lives. If you find that you’re experiencing a constantly depressed mood or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, it is possible you are experiencing depression.

Depression can make you feel alone, but it’s important to remember that depression is something many people experience. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that just over 8% of adults in the United States experience a depressive episode each year. 

The symptoms of depression can vary between individuals, but the DSM-5 reports that one hallmark of depression is two weeks of depressed mood or a loss of interest in activities. Other symptoms of depression may include trouble sleeping or excessive sleep, weight loss or weight gain, feelings of excessive guilt, and trouble concentrating or making decisions.

Due to depression symptoms, it can be difficult to find the energy or motivation to seek help. However, it’s important to realize that help is available, and your symptoms can improve.

Why Seek Online Help for Depression?

Psychotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for major depressive disorder. While this therapy used to be conducted in person, online therapy options have become more readily available in the past decade. Not only can online therapy provide similar treatment methods as in-person therapy, but it also offers a variety of other advantages to those living with depression.

Virtual Support

Receiving online mental health services for depression gives a wider variety of licensed providers, since you are no longer limited to providers in your geographical area. That means you can search for and select a provider who specializes in specific issues or find a therapist who you can strongly connect with.

Once you find a suitable counselor, you will be able to benefit from the diverse support options that online therapy offers. When you obtain online therapy through BetterHelp, you can connect with your therapist via live chat, in-app messaging, phone calls, and video conferences. These options can make it easier to obtain the help you need in a way that works for you.

Confidentiality

Therapists who work via online platforms are held to the same level of confidentiality as therapists in traditional practices. The platforms you use are safe.

Convenience

Finding the time to travel to an office for therapy can be difficult, and the low energy that comes with depression can make traveling even more of a hurdle. Online therapy allows you to meet with your therapist from anywhere with a strong and stable internet connection. That means you may be able to complete appointments from your home, office, or wherever else is convenient.

What Kinds Of Online Therapy Can Help With Depression?

Just like with in-person therapy, online therapy for depression may utilize numerous therapeutic approaches. Your licensed therapist can work with you to find a treatment option that is best for you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps people reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. This reframing can lead to more positive emotions and healthier behaviors as well. CBT is considered a front-line therapy for even the most acute depression

Research suggests that online CBT (iCBT) for depression can be an effective alternative to in-person CBT. One recent study found no significant differences at a three-month follow-up between the depressive symptoms of those who received face-to-face CBT and internet CBT. Another study suggests that individuals who work with a therapist for an extended period of time are more likely to experience a decrease in depression symptoms than those who attend one to two therapy sessions. 

Problem-Solving Therapy

Another type of therapy that online therapists may use to treat symptoms of depression is problem-solving therapy (PST), which aims to help individuals increase their abilities to handle challenging life events and emotions. One study reported that both online CBT and online PST led to similar reductions in depression symptoms. Results show that both types of therapy increased feelings of control while decreasing dysfunction and worry.

Why Should I Seek Support?

Seeking help for depression can help you learn how to manage your symptoms. Additionally, working with a therapist allows you to connect with an understanding and non-judgemental person. As you talk with your therapist, you may realize you feel less alone. 

As far as when you should seek support, research suggests that the sooner in a depressive episode someone engages in treatment, the more quickly they may see a change in depression symptoms. Therefore, the sooner you seek treatment, the better.

Reaching out to a stranger can be intimidating, and professional therapists understand these difficulties. These professionals will not judge your worries or doubts, but rather seek to help you manage your individual symptoms and face life challenges.

Are You Finding It Challenging To Manage Depression Symptoms?

What To Look for When Seeking Online Help

If you decide you would like to get started with online therapy, it’s important to know what to look for. You should consider factors including a therapist’s credentials, communication options, cost, and contracts. 

All therapists should be licensed by professional organizations—some credentials to look for include licensed social worker (LSW), licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

You should also investigate communication options. For example, if you would like to meet with your therapist in the evening, ensure evening appointments are available. And if you prefer the ability to chat or email with your therapist, ask if this is an option.

Finally, look at cost. Some online therapy providers charge per appointment fees while others offer packages. Think about the type and amount of services you will likely use and figure out how much this will cost.

How To Get Started With Online Therapy

If you have never been in a counseling session before, it is normal to feel nervous or unsure about reaching out for help. One benefit to speaking with a professional is that they are trained to help you feel safe and comfortable talking about whatever concerns you. A therapist may also provide you with the emotional support that you require in order for you to feel more comfortable working with them.

As mentioned above, depression can sometimes make it difficult to find the energy to leave the house or travel to an office. In these instances, online therapy can make it easier to receive the help you need since it allows you to connect with a therapist from anywhere with a stable internet connection.

Research suggests that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective way to help those with depression manage their symptoms. Therapist-led online CBT offered stronger results, but individual-led online CBT also provided a reduction in symptoms.

Takeaway

Depression may make you feel alone or hopeless, but it’s important to realize there is help available. Online therapy has been shown to be an effective way to manage depression symptoms, and it’s often more convenient than in-person therapy.

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