Speaking With An Online Psychologist Is Your Key To Better Mental Health
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated December 17, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Erika Schad, LCP, CWLC
When was the last time you spoke with someone about your feelings or the thoughts on your mind? In our busy world, people often put other tasks and other people before their own physical and mental health. Many of us do not have time to schedule an in-person appointment with a therapist, go to the appointment, and speak to someone for an hour. Luckily, the world of therapy has moved online to make prioritizing your mental health easier.
The Benefits of Better Mental Health
Improving your mental health has greaterlasting benefits than just the ones you might immediately gain from a therapy session. If you are struggling with anxiety or stress, seeing a therapist has been shown to reduce long-term medical costs associated with heart problems or viral illnesses.
Also, many mental health issuesare made more severe by substance use, such as drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs. Speaking with someone about these issues may reduce reliance on substance use.Whether you have a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, engage in substance use, or just find yourself in need of extra emotional support, you deserve to make your mental wellbeing a priority in your life. You also might see that working on your mental health can brighten other aspects of your life, such as your relationships, your career, and your physical health.
What Stops People FromGetting The Help They Need
Many people who would benefit from seeing a therapist are notreceiving the help they need. These are some common reasons people give for not seeking therapy:
- They don't think their problems are bad enough. Many people think therapy is only for people experiencing severe mental health conditions, such as psychosis. They don't realize that therapistsare equipped to help with a full range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and just “feeling down.” A person who doesn’t think their problem is serious enough may want to avoid the cost and hassle of scheduling an in-person appointment.
- They don't want others to know they are getting help. Unfortunately, persistent stigma surrounding mental health issues often prevents people from even speaking about them, let alone pursuing help. Instead of relying on trusted friends and family to understand, some people feel embarrassment or shame about having a personal “problem” and avoid asking for help.
- They have a tight schedule. Some people might want to get help but aren't sure how to fit it into their day-to-day lives. They may have challenging work schedules, struggle with finding or paying for childcare, or have other family or community obligations that make finding spare time difficult.
- It's expensive. The cost of in-person therapy is not often covered by health insurance. Appointments can be expensive, and since more than one appointment is almost always necessary to make progress, the cost can dissuade many people from even getting started.
The good news is that in-person therapy is not the only way to look after your mental health. With the new technology, you can receive help from a licensed therapist in a way that works best for you.
Online therapy is a flexible solution for mental healthcare. It often takes the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a common approach that empowers a person to consider and reframe their own challenges and negative thoughts, with the guidance of a mental health professional. CBT focuses on finding your own strengths and building your resiliency to new challenges, and it can be completed in a virtual setting just as well as in person. Online therapy has been widely researched and judged effective; a recent study of over 1,100 participants in online CBT found that 89 percent of the participants would recommend online therapy to others.
You might wonder what makes online therapy so different. In fact, it has several advantages over in-person therapy: accessibility, convenience, privacy, and cost, to name a few. Online therapy can be arranged around your life, on a schedule that suits yours. With no need for transportation to an appointment, you can save time and hassle. The discretion of online therapy also means that you don’t need to share your mental healthcare plans with anyone, and it comes at a much lower financial cost than face-to-face therapy, too.A professor of psychiatryat the University of California-Davis recently compared online therapy to the old-fashioned “house calls” that medical doctors made decades ago: “We’re seeing people in their own environments…It actually improves the relationships we have with them.” These reviews from BetterHelp users also show what makes online therapy different:
Krista is exceptionally helpful and thoughtful in her role as a counselor. I appreciate her insights, how promptly she responds, and that she provides helpful exercises and videos based on the current issues we are going over. I was skeptical before, but Krista has made me a believer in online therapy!
Lauren is a wonderful therapist! This is my first time using online therapy and she has made me feel so comfortable and confident about this process. We use a mixture of chat and phone calls which works great for me. She is so easy to talk to, understanding and supportive. I feel very thankful to have been matched with her.
What Can An Online Psychologist Help Me With?
It’s a common misconception that speaking with a licensed therapist is only for people with free time and money or who have severe mental illness. However, you do not need to have been diagnosed with a mental disorder to feel the need to speak with someone.
Often, we do not want to burden our friends or family with our thoughts.After all, some personal issues can actually be easier to talk about with someone outside your social circle. When you talk with a therapist instead of a friend, you can address your personal situations in a safe space and then enjoy your time with friends.
An online psychologist is someone you can speak to about anything on your mind. If you are stressed at work, have lost a loved one or a pet, are having a difficult time connecting with a partner or children, or experiencing any other struggles, you may find that speaking with a licensed mental health professional helps. Although people often wait to seek help until problems become unbearable, online therapy is a quick and easy way to talk with someone about your thoughts and feelings while they are more manageable.
Why An Online Psychologist May Be The Right Fit For You
Online therapy sessions can help address many issues that often keep people from seeking help from a licensed professional.
Access to online appointments is much more convenient. You can talk to a professional about your mental health or personal situation from anywhere with internet access: you can meet for an appointment with a child napping in the next room, on a lunch break, or even on the commute. Online therapy is all about finding a solution that workswith your life.
Online therapy also neutralizes the stigma that keeps many people from seeking help with their mental health. Because you control the schedule and location of each appointment, you can also keep your use of therapy as private as you wish.
Also, the affordability of online therapymakes it possible for more people to attend to their mental health. If you don’t have to go anywhere or spend as much as you would for an in-person appointment, it is easier to address mental health issues that you might otherwise try to ignore until they worsen.
Do I Need to Speak with An Online Psychologist?
Many people rely on online therapy to deal with difficult times or personal struggles. You may experience a life event or changeand feel you need to speak with someone about it, or you may deal with a long-term condition like depression, post-traumatic stress, or anxiety. Try to keep in mind that a mental health professional can provide you with an objective assessment of your mental health, as well as tools and support to improve your wellbeing. If you believe you need someone to talk to, online therapy may be your key to better mental health. You can start today.
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