Sessions with online therapists are not intended to replace emergency services if your issue is an emergency. If you feel that you or someone near you is in immediate physical danger visit your nearest emergency room to get help. You can also make an emergency call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a specialist 24-hours a day.
Now that you understand the basics of how sessions with online therapists work, you're ready to move on to the next steps. Once you are matched with your licensed online therapist, you can expect to receive treatment that is similar to in-person therapy, including the use of in-office therapy methods, techniques, and strategies.
Your online therapist will use the same techniques as traditional in-office therapy, with the added benefit of being able to receive treatment anonymously and without having to leave your home. As mentioned earlier, the convenience of being able to schedule therapy sessions online is especially helpful for people who live in remote areas with no close access to in-person therapy services, or people who may have physical limitations that make traveling to appointments difficult.
Online therapists can help with a variety of mental health-related concerns including individual online counseling, couples therapy, and veterans affairs. You can even have a trusted friend or family member attend sessions to provide moral support.
In some cases, online therapists have found that clients appear to open up more quickly and experience relief of symptoms more quickly due to the client being present within the safety of one's home, the physical distance from the therapist, and the sense of anonymity. For most clients, there is an unconscious desire to be liked by the therapist or please the therapist, which can lead to self-censorship, the omission of important information, or avoiding talking about important issues.
However, during sessions with online therapists, many clients feel a greater sense of freedom to open up and talk about what is most important to them. Most people fear being judged, especially when they are revealing sensitive information or vulnerabilities about themselves. With this sense of safety, physical distance, anonymity, as well as different communication options (video, phone, or webchat), most clients are able to break through these barriers that prevent honest discussion with greater ease.
One other benefit of online therapy is that it is usually more affordable when compared to face-to-face counseling in cases where health insurance doesn't cover sessions with online therapists. Out of pocket sessions for in-office therapy people can cost you upwards of $150/hour -- even with health insurance. Counseling sessions with online therapists average about $60.00 an hour.
When health insurance does cover therapy for in-office sessions, health insurance deductibles can be equal to the cost of online therapy sessions. It also allows you the freedom to schedule appointments when it's most convenient for you since your therapist is able to offer treatment remotely and doesn't need to be in a specific location to offer assistance.
However, there are certain instances where online counseling may not be appropriate. This may be your individual choice or the therapist may recommend face-to-face counseling if you have had a recent suicide attempt, severe trauma, or suffer from a severe, persistent mental health diagnosis. If this is the case, your therapist can also help guide you to further treatment in your area to help you find the support that is right for you.
If you think you could benefit from an online therapy site, most sites, such as BetterHelp.com online counseling is convenient and begins your journey towards balance, self-discovery, and healing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Many people often wonder if an online therapy platform is as effective and safe as in-person therapy. A study from 2014 in ScienceDirect found that online therapy was just as effective as in-person therapy. The therapy style, whether cognitive behavioral therapy or another type, did not matter. Online therapy services can be a convenient and effective alternative to in-person therapy for anybody seeking teen counseling, family therapy, behavioral therapy, messaging therapy, or anything else. Online therapists can also recommend the same strategies as in-person therapists, such as health fitness recommendations, so there is no downside in that regard.
Should I try online therapy?
While online therapy is certainly proven to be effective, professional counseling in an online format is not for everyone. Research has shown that it is beneficial, but video chat therapy, whether live chat or delayed, or unlimited messaging therapy simply may not be for everyone. Providing online therapy is a path many sites offer, but some people prefer to build a health plan in person. Gauge your comfort level and which option you think would be most beneficial before seeking licensed therapists. Some types of therapy are also not as frequently offered virtually, so determine whether you are seeking teen counseling, relationship therapy, family therapy, or another type prior to thinking about online vs. in-person therapy.
What are the 3 types of therapy?
There are a number of different types of therapy that a licensed therapist may specialize in, but the main three types are cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. New clients often are aware what type of therapy they are signing up for, but it’s always best to double check to ensure that the private practice strategy being used is one you believe will be effective. Psychodynamic therapy typically focuses more on how the unconscious mind and your actions relate, behavioral therapy will look at adjusting reactions, and humanistic therapy will focus more on you as a person. Different people have different cups of tea and finding the right type of therapy will make your experience more effective.
Is online counseling safe?
Naturally, there is a concern as to whether or not online therapy services are safe and secure given that they occur over electronic devices potentially within a smart home or on storage tablet tvs. Topics such as teen counseling, family therapy, relationship therapy, and more can be sensitive and it’s only natural to wonder if your information is secure. If online therapy services are using validated up to date software, you typically don’t need to worry about speaking over video chat, live chat, storage tablet tvs, or text messaging. There is always a concern for data in the age of the smart home, but as long as protected software is being used there isn’t much to worry about. Counseling online typically uses secure video conferencing lines and text video platforms that don’t leak data. As with any online communication, there is always a risk for a data breach, but online therapy services are perfectly safe for the most part.
Which type of therapy is best?
There is no “one size fits all” for therapy and different types appeal to different people. Teen counseling, family therapy, relationship therapy, and any other type may require different treatment depending on the situations. Online vs. in-person therapy may depend on a person’s comfort level. Some who are familiar with technology and have a smart home may lean towards online, whereas others may not. Those without a smart home or affinity for technology may prefer the traditional therapy style. Mental health professionals will typically choose to use a strategy they either specialize in or a blend of multiple different types regardless, but the two most popular types of therapy are psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapy. Many online health care therapy platforms tell a user up front the type of therapy that is used, and a personal therapist will typically be forthcoming about their treatment strategy.
How do I choose a therapist?
Choosing a therapist can seem difficult when there are so many qualified health services professionals available. Your first order of business should be to determine if you would like to use video conferencing, phone sessions, and online therapy options, or in person. After choosing your type of therapy, visit the website if they have one and see if there are different therapist to choose from. A therapy site also offers descriptions of therapists and their experience which can be helpful in making a decision. Finding a high quality therapist is also about ensuring you enjoy the presence of the therapist, so getting on a live chat or video conferencing session prior to meeting them in person is always a smart idea. Many employee assistance options are also available that can recommend therapists who are partnered with your company as well. Finding a high quality therapist is about finding a health care professional who is experienced in your reasons for visiting a therapist, as well as being able to enjoy being around that person.
Do therapists hug their clients?
Different therapists have different lines of thinking surrounding hugging clients. In general, it isn’t recommended for therapists to hug their clients as there needs to be a professional barrier in place between a therapist and client. With that said, regardless of if it is teen counseling, family therapy, relationship therapy, or another type, some health care professionals will occasionally offer a friendly hug in extremely difficult conversations or situations. A therapist should always ask and check your comfort level if they wish to hug prior to doing so. As mentioned, though, it is not recommended for therapists to hug their clients. Simply being in person talking with another person is often seen as support enough for clients, which many feel is actually a slight downside of video conferencing.