Best Online Chat Therapy: Accessible, Convenient Therapy

By Nicole Beasley |Updated June 22, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

Technology has changed every aspect of life, including the way psychotherapy is practiced. 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.

Online Therapy Accessibility

online therapy - woman on her laptop smiling and waving

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. Sessions with an online therapist are easily accessible with a stable internet connection and a mobile device. Access to therapy might be hampered by a lack of funds, physical location, or lifestyle, but chatting online neatly circumvents all of these challenges.

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.

Some people would like to get help from counseling but they either don’t have any options near them (e.g. in rural areas) or they just might not have the ability to go. 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. Sessions online with 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 some cases, major health insurance providers may cover therapy online with licensed therapists that are HIPPA compliant.

In addition, it provides a much 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 Fighting The 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 an appointment. 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.

 

Here are questions commonly asked about online therapy chat:

Online Therapy And Working With Therapists

woman on the phone

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
  • 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. For those that are experiencing major depressive disorder or other disorders that impact their ability to function daily, this immediate access to care can make all the difference.

If your issue is an emergency, or a friend or family member 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 To Look For In Chat 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. 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 Chat Therapy

therapy with betterhelp online

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.

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