Best Online Chat Therapy: Convenient Therapy

Updated October 17, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Technology has changed every aspect of life, including the way psychotherapy and therapy sessions are carried out. While some traditionalists may look down on online chat therapy as a therapeutic tool, research has shown that chat is indeed an effective way of treating a large range of mental health issues and, in fact, produces results comparable to traditional therapy. If you're wondering what the top places to chat online with a therapist are, keep reading!

Online Therapy

Online Therapy No Longer Has The Stigma It Used To Have

Providing healthcare for mental issues via the internet brings effective treatment within reach for a wide spectrum of people who would otherwise have been left with few good options (crisis helplines, peer support chat rooms, community forums with active listeners, etc.).

Traditional in-person sessions are often more expensive than sessions with an online therapist. There are people out there who know that they could benefit from talking to a therapist but they just can’t come up with the funds to make it happen. So, instead, they don’t see any type of treatment. Online sessions thus provides people with more affordable options compared to in-office sessions.

For example, someone living in a rural area that experiences mental illness may not have a car that they can drive to get to their session, or they may have young children at home that they aren’t able to leave and don’t want to bring them along to a session. Mental health therapy sessions online with experienced licensed therapists eliminate the need for in-office visits and bring talk therapy to you via the methods below:

  • Video chat
  • Audio messaging
  • App-based messaging
  • Unlimited messaging options

Sessions will typically be conducted once per week or more often depending on your treatment plan and the therapeutic relationship you establish with your therapist.

In addition, online therapy can provide a higher level of discretion than the in-office sessions of the past. Particularly if a mental health problem is associated with feelings of guilt or shame, some patients will certainly feel more comfortable discussing their feelings and experiences in an anonymous setting with an online therapist.

Online Therapy Helps Fight Mental Health Stigma

Some people that could benefit from treatment decide not to seek the help they need because they are concerned about what others will think. They don’t want the chance that someone notices they were walking into the therapist’s office and then feel they need to explain why they had a therapy session. The shame that some people experience from needing to get help is enough to keep some people from doing anything. Online clients can breathe a sigh of relief when they discover that in-office sessions aren’t the only way to treat chronic symptoms of mental illness.

When you get help instead of giving in to the stigma cycle you can continue making progress instead of staying stuck in it.

Online Therapy As A Complementary Therapeutic Measure

In the past, internet-based and other computerized psychological treatments haven’t been taken seriously. Telemental health has evolved, and now even major health insurance providers are covering online consultations along with in-office sessions.

Finding a therapist has become as easy as clicking a button. Search for covered online therapists via your health insurance provider’s website by name or license number.

BetterHelp offers individual online therapy chat sessions that adhere to the standards set by the American Psychological Association. Clients can schedule sessions with therapists to learn more about psychological treatments for adult depression.

Sessions with your online therapist are conducted via video chat with the option to add audio or therapist texting. BetterHelp offers:

  • Couples counseling
  • Veterans’ affairs
  • Family counseling
  • Relationship counseling
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • App-based messaging

Online therapists provide a full spectrum of mental health-related services including treatments for adult depression. When you begin, you’ll find that it is very similar to in-office therapy.

Some things are simply not possible with online therapy: prescribing medication or physically assessing a patient’s state of health being perhaps being the most significant. Even so, the unmatched level of availability it offers means that it can certainly help to flesh out more traditional techniques.

Patients with conditions such as anxiety or addiction can now seek immediate help or at least verbalize the problems they may be facing from moment to moment. This is simply not possible with an office-bound therapist yet becomes quite easy using a smartphone. The patient no longer has to wait until their weekly or monthly appointment to be able to address their concerns. When you are experiencing a very trying time in your life then waiting until the next appointment to ask questions, seek advice, and get help can seem like too long. 

If your issue is an emergency, or a friend or family is in immediate physical danger—please visit your nearest emergency room. If you’re unable to get to an emergency room, make an emergency call to The National Suicide Prevention Helpline to speak with a specialist immediately: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

What You Should Look For In Therapy

If you are going to try out chat therapy, you want to make sure that you find a reputable platform that has licensed therapists. Sessions with an online therapist are more cost-efficient in most cases than in-office sessions.

Make sure that you do a little research to find out what the qualifications are of the therapists that are working for the site to get matched with the online therapist that works best for you. You may also want to find an option that allows you to work with someone that has similar beliefs as you rather than being randomly assigned. Or, if you prefer to work with a male or female therapist, this should also be an option that you can specify.

Remember that the entire point of therapy is for you to get the help that you need. If in-office sessions aren’t working for you, consider attending exploring finding an online therapist or participating in app-based or chat therapy. You can ease into it by sending messages to online therapists to answer your questions.

If you’ve been attending in-person sessions for months and feel like you are still lacking something that could help you in your recovery process, it could be as simple as thinking outside of the in-office therapy box and logging in for sessions with online therapists that are licensed to assist you via texting therapy and other digital therapy means.

As long as you are working with a licensed and experienced therapist, you should be getting the same results that you would get from an in-person appointment. Be sure that you ask any questions before you get started to ensure that you are comfortable moving forward. It’s important to be comfortable when reaching out for help or else you aren’t going to invest in the chat sessions or appointments like you need to benefit properly.

Greater Flexibility With Your Sessions

There is no real reason, apart from the convenience of the therapists themselves, for scheduling therapy appointments in hour or half-hour blocks. Some clients will prefer shorter sessions or texting therapy, while others can benefit from longer online therapy sessions. Messaging sessions and full-length sessions can be easily scheduled online. Message exchanges can be sent back and forth at any time, allowing both parties time to think about their responses and review the history of their communication.

In addition, online counseling services can work with several specialists and refer a patient to appropriate help as needed, and you can switch therapists at any time if you don’t feel comfortable with your current one. In the real world, a patient with dual diagnosis-type problems, who might benefit from counselors experienced in both areas, might need to go through a lengthy process of referrals, selecting a new therapist and building rapport with him, while an online therapy environment provides this with a few clicks.

Parting Thoughts & Conclusion – Online Therapy Chat

Online Therapy No Longer Has The Stigma It Used To Have

While online chat therapy will never replace physically present counselors in, for example, an inpatient environment, its wider reach opens many avenues for the treatment of mental health issues. Online therapy is definitely here to stay. It’s time for a wider conversation on how online therapy benefits can be incorporated into other, more conventional courses of treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a number I can text to talk about my problems?

Here are crisis numbers to call or text. Keep in mind that crisis hotlines do not provide free online therapy; instead, they have trained volunteer listeners that can point you towards resources and offer limited emotional support.  

CDC National HIV and AIDS Hotline
(800) 232-4636

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
(800) 422-4453

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741

Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio
(888) 628-9454

National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-7233

National Grad Crisis Line
(877) 472-3457

National Sexual Assault Hotline
(800) 656-4673

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
988 
Chat online

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Options for Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988 
Chat online

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline
(800) 662-4357

Veterans Crisis Line
988, then PRESS 1 
Text 838255 
Chat online

Is BetterHelp really free?

BetterHelp is not free, however, it is one of the few online platforms that allows you to connect with a licensed therapist for a fraction of the cost of in-person therapy. When you get online therapy through BetterHelp, you have the option to speak with your counselor through video chat (live video sessions), phone calls, or unlimited messaging. Unlike traditional therapy, you can text your therapist for emotional support as often as you want, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they’re available. BetterHelp’s licensed professional therapists are trained to work and offer emotional support to people with all kinds of mental health issues and concerns, including mood and personality disorders, relationship problems, strained family dynamics, self-esteem issues, and more.

Are Online Therapy Conversations Right For You?

Online chat therapy can be a personal experience, and not everyone will go into online therapy seeking the same things. Keeping this in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of online chat therapy sessions, regardless of what your specific online therapy goals are. If you’re still wondering if online therapy is right for you, and how much online therapy costs, please contact us at contact@betterhelp.com.

BetterHelp specializes in chatting for online therapy to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you’re interested in individual online therapy, reach out today to get started. For more information about BetterHelp as a company and its online therapy offerings, please find us on:

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