Online Therapists And Psychologists: Are They For Real? | Find The Best Online Therapist | 2020

By: Sarah Fader

Updated August 20, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Sonya Bruner

 

 

 

As online therapy and online counseling are becoming more popular, you may be wondering: are online therapists and psychologists real people? When you have relationship issues or behavioral health issues, you may prefer to share your feelings with a human being, not a robot, and that's understandable.

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Are Online Therapists And Psychologists for Real?

The short answer to this question is: yes. Online Psychologists are real human beings who went to graduate school for Psychology. Mental health care professionals and psychologists that you find online are often some of the same professionals and psychologists that you may encounter offline. Offline mental health professionals are also using the power of technology to take their practices online, become internet-based, and stay just as effective with the use of live chat and video sessions. Online mental health professionals have the same credentials as offline practitioners. Reputable online therapists and psychologists share the same licenses and credentials as traditional, in-person counselors and psychologists. Both online and offline mental health professionals provide therapeutic support for people with various concerns and common issues such as:

  • Personality Disorders
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Women's Issues
  • Relationship Issues
  • Behavioral Health Issues

Online mental health practitioners are passionate about helping people like you with your life challenges. Maybe you're living with mental illness like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression, and you need to see a therapist or psychologist. You want to talk to a real person and feel like they empathize with your feelings. An online psychologist cares and wants to help you with whatever your life struggles are, and they're a real person who cares about their clients.

The following types of therapy are available online:

  • couples therapy and marriage counseling
  • cognitive therapy
  • play therapy
  • sex therapy
  • family therapy
  • dialectical behavioral therapy
  • psychoanalytic therapy

According to a study noted from The National Institutes of Health, patients noted a significant benefit from online therapy. The benefits of online therapy emerge for several reasons, one being the expertise of online mental health professionals.

Why Should I See an Online Psychologist?

Online psychologists can do the same things that traditional face-to-face psychologists can do, just in an online environment. People have solved many problems using online counseling to heal relationships issues or overcome behavioral health challenges. If you're skeptical about online therapy, know that many people like you have benefited from online therapy, whether they're living with anxiety, depression or going through a life challenge, such as a divorce or a death in the family. Many of today's online therapy clients are taking advantage of using popular therapy modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to change negative thinking into positive outcomes. Online therapy like cognitive therapy and (CBT) genuinely helps people with their problems, and has a track record of success. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, patients noted a significant improvement in their symptoms of anxiety and depression after using online mental health care services. Online therapy is a viable way to deal with your problems whether they are individual concerns related to your behavioral health -- or more complex relationship issues or ones that affect specific groups of people, such as the LGBTQ community.

For some people, any interaction on the internet, from ordering a pair of shoes to booking a vacation, is a little more suspect than doing the same thing in real life. It's good to be cautious when online, especially where less than respectable websites are involved. It's crucial to question the credibility of websites advertising online psychologists' services.

There are many reasons someone in need of a little help and perspective might prefer to seek a therapist online, from the convenience to the affordability of services. Your health matters, whether mental or physical. Unfortunately, although the qualification and licensing requirements for calling yourself a mental health counselor or psychologist are rigorous in the United States, it may be difficult to verify someone's mental health credentials in the online world.

Where to Find Qualified and Licensed Therapists Online

There are a few red flags to know of when looking for an online psychologist. A poorly written or designed website may or may not be legitimate, but it only costs a mouse click to avoid this risk.

A website that only accepts a non-secured, untraceable payment method, doesn't list contact information such as a phone number and physical address, or offers suspiciously low rates probably is not viable for mental health treatment. Learn the difference between online counseling sites -- which can staff licensed or unlicensed providers, and online therapy sites like BetterHelp.com that provide you with access to board-certified therapists and psychologists. If you're skeptical of a site, an online service such as ScamGuard can help you.

Not all online therapy services are a scam. There are a number of reputable sites that offer online counseling. There are some websites that offer affordable online therapy by qualified mental health providers, typically not employing psychologists themselves but acting as a kind of a clearinghouse that connects licensed therapists and patients. One aspect that makes these legitimate sites stand out is a clear and comprehensive privacy policy, which will be of particular importance to anyone looking for anonymous online therapy.

Major insurance providers like Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and other major insurance carriers that provide mental health services as a part of your health plan can point you in the right direction to find a reputable online provider.

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Benefits of Online Psychologists

One of the most valuable benefits of online counseling is that your therapist is available from anywhere you can access the internet in the United States. If your job doesn't permit you to take an hour off for unspecified reasons whenever you want to, you can take advantage of shorter online counseling sessions during breaks or lunches. Being able to resolve painful relationship issues or to take part in cognitive therapy from anywhere you are in the United States offers a significant advantage over therapy in a traditional setting.

Even for people who have more control over their own schedule, the lower costs online therapy offers can be significant.

Finally, since the stigma attached to mental health issues remains to some extent, online therapy options allow people who would otherwise be hesitant to seek help from their smartphones or tablets. This is especially true for survivors of domestic violence or sexual abuse with limited therapy options. With many people suffering from mental afflictions in their lives at some point, it's difficult to understate this factor's effect.

What to Expect from an Online Therapist

Online therapy is much like traditional therapy in many ways. When you see a counselor in their office, you will spend a set amount of time engaging with them about the events that go on in your daily life; this is the cast with an online therapist as well. You are free to discuss any problems or challenges you're having. You speak openly with your therapist about a wide range of topics ranging from relationship issues to career challenges, to weight loss concerns. Your therapist is there to guide you through life transitions and help you examine your thoughts and behaviors and learn how to improve your mental health.

A reputable online therapist will use sound psychological methods and positive psychology practices like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, solution-focused therapy, and any of the many therapy modalities recognized as beneficial by the mental health professional community. When you choose an online therapist from a reputable site, they are committed to keeping your information private and secure. Sessions between you and your therapist are always private, so you never have to worry about someone finding out about your relationship issues (or any other confidential information that you share with your therapist). Although you may remain anonymous, during your therapy sessions, it's important to note that you will need to provide general information. You'll need to provide your email address for communication with your therapist regarding your individual health treatment plan. Some insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield pay for (or reimburse) online therapy sessions under your behavioral health plan. If you want to use your health plan to cover the cost of your sessions, you'll need to provide your health plan information. Contact your health plan provider to find out if your health plan has behavioral health benefits like those offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield. This is still an important consideration since most people don't want to share their personal struggles freely with others. You can confidently know what you reveal in therapy sessions will never be divulged to others in any way.

Online therapists and psychologists who work through reputable online therapy sites have qualifications you would expect from a traditional therapist. They should list their certifications and experience on their profile, which you can view before you choose your counselor. You can choose your therapist based on the type of therapy they provide. For example, if you think you'd like to learn more about cognitive-behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy -- choose a licensed therapist that specializes in these fields. Psychologists practice a wide variety of modalities that include forensic psychology, rational emotive behavior, support for women's issues, and even assistance for everyday common issues. These therapists hold themselves to the same strict standards as therapists do for in-person counseling. In fact, most online psychologists also have a local practice where they see patients in their offices. That the therapy takes place online does not diminish the therapist's ability to understand your issues and help you move through them successfully.

What Are Online Sessions Like?

During the first session, you're getting to know your therapist. They will probably ask you questions about yourself and your current situation to get a better idea of how they can help you. As you work through multiple sessions, you will have time to explore your feelings about the situation, identify your healthy and unhealthy behaviors relating to it, and decide how you want to respond.

The therapist typically asks you questions to guide you to deeper insights about the problems you are facing. They might teach you techniques for recognizing and responding to your emotions, and help you understand how to choose the behaviors that will benefit you throughout your daily life. Sessions often end with an assignment, which might be a behavior to notice in yourself or others or a technique to try in everyday situations.

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Other Services and Perks

Online therapy often comes with extra perks you don't get when you see a counselor in person. These perks are available to all therapy subscribers even if they don't have insurance like Blue Cross Blue Shield. Therapy platforms like BetterHelp provide you with a 24-hour mental health net. For example, your therapist will give you a private chat room where you can go to leave messages for your therapist at any time. This service is especially helpful when you want to describe your thoughts and feelings at the moment they are happening. Your mental health net includes always-on chat to your therapist about personal issues and relationship issues as they are happening. Couples who get therapy together can talk directly to the therapist about their relationship issues. The counselor checks the chat room periodically and can leave brief replies or other messages. Your counselor will directly address your concerns with relationship issues, family issues, and personal issues via your secure chat room. Another benefit to online therapy is when you have your next session with them, they can see notes from when you last visited with them.

In addition, you may schedule additional sessions during a crisis. This depends on the therapist's workload and schedule. Not only can you interact with the therapist more often most times, but you can do it from anywhere you have internet access. You can bring your therapist along with you on vacation, while you're away on family business, or when you move to a different home. Imagine how much easier the readjustment process can be when you don't have to find and get to know a new therapist after you move!

Services include:

  • Mobile App Communication 

There is always an app for that, and therapy online tends to use a mobile app to communicate. A therapist online uses a mobile app that is encrypted, so all of your precious information is kept safe. The mobile app can also have other resources, such as ways to cope with depression, anxiety, and other problems that you may have.

  • A Licensed Online Therapist

There have been many studies proving the effectiveness of online health care, and this is because it's a licensed therapist, and not someone calling themselves one.

A licensed therapist or licensed psychologists have years of experience. These years of experience show, and the therapist will use all their years of experience to help you.

  • Text Therapy 

Another form of communication is text therapy. This uses mobile phones, smartphone, tablet, or any other device capable of messaging. Texting a therapist on your mobile phone allows you to communicate with them anywhere. Often, you text on a mobile phone during a commute or in a place where you're quiet. You have a mobile phone all the time; why not use it for therapy? Mobile phones have their share of health concerns, but they can be used for good, too. While not a complete substitute for face-to-face therapy, texting can still be a worthy way of communicating.

Do Health Insurance Plans Accept Online Therapy?

Health insurance plans can differ in providing services for little money. Some insurance companies have caught on to the effectiveness of online therapy and will cover the treatment, while others still haven't accepted its usefulness or are uncertain if it’s just as effective as in-person therapy, despite emerging research which shows the effectiveness of online therapy. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers mental health plans for getting therapy online. If you're a Blue Cross Blue Shield subscriber and you have questions about online therapy insurance coverage -- contact Blue Cross Blue Shield for more details about behavioral health options. If you have different insurance, contact your provider to ask if therapy is covered.

Luckily, many online therapists and psychologists offer services that are affordable. With no therapy office, many online therapists and psychologists work at home and offer home psychology for much less. Communicating through mobile apps means you will be charged less, changing people's lives for the better.

  • Video Chat Online

Online psychotherapy works, but many prefer the face-to-face therapy a therapist or psychologist has to offer, and don't like the idea of communicating through a site or app. Besides a site or app, online therapists or an online psychologist also offer live video conferencing, which can give you an authentic way of communication.

  • Filtering By What You Need

Another reason why online therapy is so nice is that you can find a therapist who can help you with your needs. It's important you find a psychologist online who specializes in what you need help for. Finding a substance abuse psychologist online, for example, increases your likelihood of recovery.

Some sites and apps will offer different needs. Some offer support for eating disorders, while some offer support groups where entire groups of clients can gather and talk about their problems. Support groups may include family therapy as well.

  • Less Worry

Another reason why online therapy is so nice is that it's less of a hassle to commute. When you have a stress disorder, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorder, it can feel like a chore to commute to a health center. If you're dealing with the loss of a loved one, making it to a mental health center seems like an impossible task.

By offering ways to cope, online therapy hopes to get you outside. You may be able to seek the help of treatment centers and primary care physicians in addition to online therapy.

  • Changing Therapists Online

Once you've found a licensed therapist, whether at your local mental health clinic or online, you have just begun the process of bettering your mental health. Seeing their qualifications, experience and other information about them is a good starting point. However, you can't know whether you and the therapist will work together to solve your issues until you start therapy.

After therapy begins, you might decide that you would like to try another counselor. There's nothing at all wrong with that. If you feel strongly that your personalities don't mesh well, you can always look for another counselor. If you're looking locally, this could be a long process. Find a therapist who doesn't have a full schedule already and who deals with your types of issues. Then, meet them and go through the process of trying them out.

This process is much simpler online. You can see which therapists and psychologists are taking new patients. You can learn about them from their profile and set up an appointment relatively quickly. It makes sense to give them a chance to get to know you, but you don't have to feel committed to long-term therapy before you even know them and how they work.

BetterHelp Online Therapists Want to Support You

The online therapists and psychologists at BetterHelp want to support you in getting the best possible care for your mental health. They are real people who have studied psychology and human behavior. They've encountered all kinds of clients, some of whom are skeptical about online therapy. If you're unsure of whether online therapy is going to work for you, it's okay to talk to your counselor about this and get their perspective, and maybe you can decide on the pros and cons of online therapy for yourself. The only way you're going to know is if you give it a try. Let the online therapists at BetterHelp help you and provide the emotional support that you need. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors.

Counselor Reviews

“I was skeptical about this type of counseling but Leah made me feel confident from the beginning with her straight forward profile, thoughtful questions, and rapid responses. I feel that she truly sympathizes with my situation but also holds me accountable for finding solutions.”

"Carlos was a blessing during the several months of therapy. I am beyond grateful that he was kind and understanding. We followed a structured plan to help me cope with my complex PTSD and anxiety. I now have new strategies that I can use everyday. I would highly recommend Carlos to any person who wants a reliable and kind therapist."

Conclusion

Online therapy is for real. If your family and friends, or other family members, deny its effectiveness, show them. Online therapy offers many types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, which have been proven to work, and there are different methods in which you can take advantage of, such as live chat, unlimited messaging, and video sessions. Besides the types of therapy, they are licensed. They are qualified by the Mental Health Association in the United States and may serve community mental health needs. They are published in the Journal of Psychiatry, and other reputable journals. They are just as real as any other therapist and their services are just as effective as in-person ones.

So tell your family and friends and your other family members that there is no shame in seeking online therapy and finding emotional support today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How Can a Therapy Mobile App Help My Mental Health?

Many people, especially during self-isolation, are turning to online therapy to help with their mental health problems. Technology can indeed help those who need therapy, and here's how.

  • Goal-setting therapy apps. This mobile app allows you to make a goal and stick to it. Apps like these give you reminders and help you to break down your goal into smaller steps. Sticking to a goal is important for one's mental health, but due to depression, anxiety, or other factors, it can be hard for you to set goals. An app can help.
  • A mobile app can help you by giving you ways to calm down. There are apps such as Headspace that teach you meditation sessions that improve your mental health. Some apps play soothing sounds, guided imagery, and white noise to help you fall asleep when you feel like the world is keeping you up.
  • Finally, we have therapy apps. A therapy mobile app can help you improve your overall mental health by letting you speak to a licensed therapist through unlimited messaging through text, video, and email. This is what is known as messaging therapy. A licensed therapist is someone who has been through all the training and education, so you can get help from a mental health professional through the comfort of your own home. You can even try a service like 7 Cups of Tea, where you can be matched with a volunteer who is trained to listen to your problems. It’s important to note that the volunteers on 7 Cups of Tea are generally not licensed therapists, but are trained listeners.

  • Can An Online Psychologist Help With Eating Disorders? What Can an Online Psychologist do to help?

An online psychologist may be able to help you if you are experiencing an eating disorder of some type. In some cases, traditional mental health services aren’t available in your area, and you must take advantage of other methods to get the therapy service that you need. In some cases, a therapist may utilize real time phone, video services to speak with you, which is one option to be aware of when you are considering taking advantage of online therapy. Research shows that online therapy can be effective in reducing and eliminating eating disorder symptoms. 

  • Can An Online Therapist Provide Couples Therapy Online?

If you're having an argument with your spouse, an online therapist can help. Everyone gets into a fight on occasion, but when you don't know how to handle it, the fight can escalate and soon, you're left with a broken marriage or relationship.

Luckily, online therapy for relationships is effective, and it can help those who are having arguments by providing therapy at the moment. A therapist can work wonders because they are people who can act as the middleman when two partners are having a hard time reaching common ground.

  • Is an Online Therapist Good for Depression, Anxiety, or Bipolar Disorder?

One of the biggest threats to your mental health sometimes comes from within. Online therapy helps with any mental health problem you have, especially depression. When you're depressed, you may feel so unmotivated that you can't leave your house. Sometimes, you just want to lie in bed and be on your phone, and a therapy app is perfect for this situation, where you can still find emotional support. A good app to check out is 7 Cups of Tea, or you may want to look into messaging therapy like BetterHelp.

Generally speaking, online therapy can help with your mental health when you have anxiety, too. When you're experiencing a panic attack or a burst of anxiety, talking to a therapist at the moment can allow you to calm down. They can help with your mental health as well by giving you ways to identify any triggers, too.

Finally, therapy can help with other mental health issues including bipolar disorder. An online therapist can keep track of your mood swings and can help you be mindful of your decisions. This is especially important in the mania phase, where you might make self-destructive decisions that can do more than damage your mental health. You may spend more than you have, for example.

  • Why Is There a Stigma Towards Mental Health?

The stigma towards mental health is improving, but many people still have it. Often, we have a hard time understanding what we can't see, and mental health can be invisible, especially if someone is good at “faking it.” If not, some people may believe that they are exaggerating or doing it for attention.

Other people may have a stigma towards mental health due to gender-based beliefs. For men, they may be told that they should be strong and not express their feelings. For women, they may be told that they are too emotional. This can also apply to the LGBTQ community as well, and it can cause people not to seek help.

Finally, there is a stigma towards mental health treatment due to the belief that the only people who can have a mental health plan are those who have money. In reality, you can find cheap or even free therapy in many places, including online and more than a million people can start getting the help they need by knowing this. For example, you can get health services through apps such as 7 Cups of Tea, and by utilizing support groups. 

  • Is there an online psychologist or online therapist?

Online therapy (another word for online psychotherapy, or working with online psychologists) is gradually becoming popular when it comes to providing online mental health services and supporting mental health. The flexible nature of online mental health services as well as its affordable pricing when compared with the offline mental health services continues to make it a preferable option for many. This online therapy is not too different from traditional therapy or the in-person therapy involving real time activities, which engages the therapy services of licensed therapist and a psychologist who provides virtual support for their clients.

Online and in-person therapy both serve as an avenue where a licensed therapist can give their professional assistance as they address the mental health challenges in the lives of their clients, whether clinical (e.g. anxiety, panic disorder or depression), circumstantial, (marriage problems, relationship issues, or problems of getting a new job) or an individual’s life challenges by providing online therapy, counseling services, cognitive behavioral therapy, online marriage counseling, etc. Psychologists are required to possess the same licenses, certifications, and credentials irrespective of the location to be able to provide needed therapeutic and emotional support.

Online psychologists are just like any psychologist you would meet in an office and possesses a degree in psychology as well as the professional training and the skills required to help individuals cope with random life challenges and mental health issues. They are not different from offline psychologist in qualifications or the services rendered, but in the means by which their services are provided. They are the same type of mental health professional you would see if you were utilizing in-person therapy techniques. 

Hence, the existence of online psychologists and the online therapeutic services they render remain undebatable. Their professional assistance is internet based and are easy to be accessed when compared to the traditional office-based psychologist. Their internet-based service can be accessed wherever it is needed and at whatever time is selected at the comfort of the client request.

Online psychologists are of great resource to anyone that is able to benefit from the traditional in-person therapy obtained in an office. Its services (which are internet-based) involve virtual therapy sessions that entail a licensed therapist providing emotional support, which can also be carried out by support groups coordinated by the therapist, and advice via online unlimited real-time messaging, online chat rooms, voice, and video messaging, as well as live video sessions. Whether the therapeutic conversation occurs in real-time, such as live video conferencing and online chat rooms, or in a less immediate format such as email or unlimited messaging, both online therapy and counseling will provide individuals with quick and convenient access to psychologists. In many cases, you can get your insurance cover it, so you may want to check with them to see if they do. Then, you can determine if online services (including services that utilize things like real time live video) are for you, or you would prefer traditional in-person therapy. There are benefits to both types. You can do online research to learn more about these topics, but be sure to remember that many sites have privacy protection (including rights reserved) so be sure to read the fine print if you want to share them on social media or print them out to read later. 

  • Does online therapy really work? How does online therapy work?

There is a lot going on the internet about the effectiveness of online therapy in today’s world. There are apps developed for easy interaction with a therapist such as Talkspace, and there are many other online therapy sites like 7 Cups of Tea, some of whom offer services and emotional support such as support groups, as well as subscription plans where regular video appointments with a therapist can be scheduled. Moreover, many others offer services, such as unlimited messaging, online video sessions and email communication, which can be accessed easily. 

How effective online therapy is (such as the one provided by 7 Cups of Tea) depends on so many factors, most of which are related to the process of which online therapy is accessed. To be able to ascertain if online therapy really works, one has to understand the pros and cons of online therapy counseling. Online therapy is a good option for remote areas, provides easy accessibility for all, especially individuals with physical limitations, affordability, and is convenient. It will be unfair also not to consider the cons of this means of counseling. Some of the risks and major disadvantages of online therapy include the issue of privacy, confidentiality, and unreliable technology, the uncertainty of insurance coverage, especially in the United States, differences in licensing across states for online therapy, counseling, and medication management. These pros and cons must be properly considered when evaluating the effectiveness of an online therapy service.

Receiving prescription drugs for mental health concerns requires the consultation of a doctor or a psychiatrist who can assist you with medication management, which is typically done in-person, but online options are available with some limitations, such as not being able to receive prescription medications that are controlled substances (i.e, certain anxiety and sleep medications).

One of the biggest concerns of online therapy such as the one provided by 7 Cups of Tea is that therapists don’t have an opportunity to observe the patient, the effectiveness of interventions taken such as support groups, which are very vital and essential parts of assessment and diagnosis. The tone of voice, body language, and overall demeanor helps to give insight to the state of an individual. One major component of effective therapy involves the relationship between the therapist and the patient but because of the medium of access related to online therapy, this relationship is sometimes weakened. There are also speculations as to how far digital communication can help in terms of the healing power physical presence of face to face interaction between therapist and clients provides. It is necessary to consider all of your options before you determine what type of mental health professional you would like to speak to. 

Despite these concerns, research consistently shows that online treatment can be very effective for many mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and many more.  Research published in 2014 in the Journal of Affective Disorders reported that online treatment was just as effective as in-person, face-to-face treatment for depression. Another study in 2018 published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective, acceptable, and practical health care. This study showed that online cognitive behavioral therapy was just as effective as in-person therapy for generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is utilized for many different mental health issues, and involves learning how to think differently about certain situations, to then have different, healthier behaviors.

  • How do I find an online therapist? What criteria should I use to choose an online therapist?

To find the right type of online therapist, and to save time, energy, and cost, it is advised you follow these simple steps below:

1. Know Who and What you want in an Online therapy experience

You must understand who you need to see when going for online therapy. Clients usually don’t receive a diagnosis until the first session, but you can get an idea of what condition you are struggling with by researching your symptoms. If it looks like depression, you should go for the therapist who specializes in depression. It might also be relationship issues or life challenges, there are online therapists who can be of help in such cases.

2. Decide the Length and Frequency of sessions

One of the benefits of online therapy is you don’t need to disturb yourself about the sessions scheduling, considering it can be shorter and also can be scheduled at your convenience. It is very client-friendly. There are apps and site such as 7 Cups of Tea and Talkspace that provides service such as emotional support, which may be via support groups and also provide a medium of texting a therapist whenever necessary, only charging weekly or monthly rather than per session. So, you can decide the duration of your therapy sessions and how frequent you want it to be. The 7 Cups of Tea service has different services that you can investigate, to determine if one is right for you. There are other online therapy services out there as well, so be sure to do your due diligence when you are researching this topic. 

3. Determine the Cost of Online therapy

Using an online therapy network such as 7 Cups of Tea, Talkspace, BetterHelp, etc. is generally directed towards saving money. It is wise to factor your expenses into your budget like an electricity bill and plan your expenses. In general, online therapy is less expensive than face-to-face therapy.

4. Check Your Health Insurance Coverage

Most online therapy comes at a low cost and is quite cost-effective, so circumventing health insurance coverage is often cheaper. Nonetheless, some providers of health insurance cover online therapy, and you should actually consider if health insurance might affect the quality of online counseling services given.

5. Choosing your therapist by gender

As a client, having a gender preference especially in significant situations such as online marriage counseling or couples therapy is not a problem, and most therapy networks or therapists avail you the option of selecting by gender. Also, matching agents in therapy networks will ask you about gender preferences as well.

Other steps you will need to consider are the most common forms of psychotherapy available on online platforms, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy,  or Psychodynamic therapy, as well as the kind of mediums of communication that you will prefer (e.g. live video conversations, online chatting, text messaging or email, etc.). Some people may want to take advantage of live video, while others may favor support groups. This is something that you will need to decide for yourself. It’s perfectly okay if you do not know what kind of therapy you want; your therapist will help you decide by talking through each method.

  • Is there any free psychologists or free online psychologists?

One of the major factors that often determine whether individuals actively seek out therapy is the cost. Oftentimes, mental health is largely not recognized as an overall part of one’s well-being. More than a million people and insurance companies consider counseling online or therapy a luxury, not a necessity, so clients are often forced to pay out of their pockets. To get a low cost- or cost-free rate, community health services is a preferable option. They come at usually no fee or reduced cost-based programs and can provide the necessary care without you having to worry about the cost. Another option is to have a robust health insurance plan that can help cover most of the therapy expenses. Although the volunteers at 7 Cups of Tea are trained listeners (and generally not licensed therapists), this is a free service.

Major free and low-cost plan options available are for individuals who can formally show they need financial assistance which requires income requirements evidence and application processes. 
Getting a quality psychologist service often comes with a cost and getting a reduced cost or getting a free service often (but not always) demands foregoing quality for cost, or going through social services, non-profit organizations, or making use of locally available services.

  • Is online therapy or online counseling cheaper than in-person?

In general, online therapy is cheaper than in-person therapy. The cost of online therapy such as those provided by 7 Cups of Tea, Talkspace, BetterHelp, etc. depends on the type of services to be delivered and who is to deliver it. Most online therapy platforms offer their services at a cheaper rate in order to attracts clients at a comfortable schedule, while a few others have little or no difference in the amount charged for both online and in-person therapy. 

The cost of accessing online therapies across channels varies as well as that of in-person therapy. Most online therapy provides larger quantity services which are easily accessible compared to in-person therapy. Hence, the rate of charging for services on both online and in-person platforms varies across quality, professionalism, experience, and demand. Consider the effectiveness of both types of therapy, including sites like 7 Cups of Tea. Research the pros and cons of online therapy options, or an in-person therapist, to determine which one is the better value for your needs. For example, you may need to try both types to figure out which you like the best. 

  • What is the cheapest online therapy and online counseling? 

Taking a meta-analysis of different online therapy platforms, there are various online therapy platforms such as 7 Cups of Tea, Talkspace, My Therapist online, Pride Counseling, BetterHelp, etc. that offer different types of online therapy counseling, such as online marriage counseling and video sessions at affordable prices. You can access them and browse their inventory on the type of service rendered and the cost of each service. A good, advisable and affordable platform is BetterHelp, which offers online therapy service for individuals, couples, teens at reduced rate and charges around $40-$70 per week, billed on a monthly basis. At BetterHelp, there are many articles that you can read, which can give you helpful information about specific mental health issues and topics. Remember before giving any medical information to understand the website’s privacy policy and rights reserved policy. 

  • Why are online psychologists so expensive?

Psychologists are highly trained professionals, and charge fees commensurate with the training they have received. Also, if their services are at a high demand and of good quality, there will be an increase in price of service for as many individuals that can afford it and are willing to pay for their services. 

  • What can I expect at my first psychologist's appointment?

More than a million people are anxious and concerned about what they can expect on their first appointment with a psychologist, and they have emerged confident and grounded. Primarily, at your first appointment, you will be asked to come in five to ten minutes early to fill in some paperwork. At the appointment time, the psychologist will come out, meet you in the waiting room and introduce himself or herself to you. You will then be taken through the consulting room. Next, the psychologist will discuss confidentiality with you.

The first session is about getting to know about what has been happening to you recently and for the psychologist to construct a plan that is right and best for you. The psychologist will ask guiding questions to ensure that they get all the information that is needed.

  • Is online therapy and online counseling safe?

In these modern times where there has been an incredible revolution in computer technology, more than a million people continue to get solace from the easily accessible and the fast pace service made available by these technologies. Online therapy as a product of such a revolution has been able to provide easily accessible, safe, and effective internet-based psychotherapy for individuals who need them.

Nevertheless, this benefit is accompanied with its attendant risks and dangers. There is associated risk of impersonation, misunderstandings during communications, identity fraud for both client and therapist, information leakages, technological failure that may warrant cancellation of appointments, and many others.

It is better to be informed of the derivable benefits and associated risks and dangers of online therapy, to be able to make a better decision on whether to access online therapy, when and where it can be accessed, and how to access it. Be sure to check out all the resources at hand, as well as the ones mentioned above, such as BetterHelp, Talkspace, 7 Cups of Tea, and more, when you are planning your future therapy. 

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