Online Therapy Services: Are they Legit?
By: Marie Miguel
Updated November 20, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Traci Ball, LLC
Mental health therapy services are now available online. Online therapy is regularly something people consider when they need help. After all, online counseling services are readily available. Mental health online counseling sessions are usually a fraction of the cost of in-office therapy sessions. But are online therapy services legit?
Check out these online therapy platform reviews that can help you decide if online therapy services are for you.
What is Online Therapy?
Online therapy is mental health therapy where you attend sessions with licensed and experienced therapists online. Therapy providers with hours of experience are licensed to discuss mental health issues online. Online therapy sessions are conducted with mental health professionals via text, video, or phone chat sessions. Therapy by text, online video, and chat sessions now replace in-office therapy sessions with licensed practitioners.
Many e-counseling reviews say that getting therapy by text with licensed psychologists is incredibly convenient. In a world where we have a lot going on, getting professional therapy to relieve depression, stress, and anxiety is becoming the solution to many people's mental health and relationship problems.
What can online therapy services counseling reviews tell you? They explain how you can get the best online counseling help and marriage counseling services based on mobile apps user reviews. Many positive reviews of online therapy platforms are based on the fact that online counseling services are typically a fraction of the cost of in-office therapy services.
There is a lot to be learned from reviews about online counseling and therapy services. Therapists provide sessions for mental health-related issues ranging from depression, anxiety, and other serious conditions. While some online counseling providers are unable to prescribe medicine, they assist with helping to cope with real-world issues by providing the best online therapy services accessible via a mobile app.
Online Therapy Comparison: Does It Hold up to Traditional Therapy?
So how does online therapy with a licensed and experienced mental health counselor compare to an in-office therapy session? Online therapy sessions are conducted from a location where you feel comfortable chatting. During your online counseling sessions, you'll have private discussions with a licensed and experienced therapist. Confidential online counseling will allow you to express concerns about your mental health issues with a HIPAA-compliant mental health professional.
You do save money. Traditional therapy costs are sometimes double that of what you pay for online therapy. Online therapy also has packages in place that can be purchased, enabling unlimited communication with therapists.
The cost of online therapy services is typically less than in-office therapy with a licensed and experienced professional holding similar credentials. In some cases, you can find a therapist via your health insurance provider's behavioral health program. More health insurance providers are beginning to provide coverage for online mental health services as distance therapy services and online counseling become the norm.
Top online counseling and e-therapy reviews state that you get more communication and contact with your therapist when you participate in counseling sessions online. The best online therapy services provide unlimited counseling options for clients to chat multiple times a day or every day, depending on your choice of plan. What that means for those clients that need someone to talk to is that they'll always have a professional with whom to converse.
Free counseling sessions act as a bridge for continuing to receive paid online therapy. More in-depth sessions are required for chronic and ongoing mental health issues. Mental illness-related services are provided by licensed professionals.
Therapy with Convenience
Not properly attending to mental health can have a negative effect over time. This is one of the primary reasons that licensed psychologists and other mental health professionals have joined forces in providing therapy online. Having access to online counseling sessions via chat and video eliminates driving to sessions with in-office therapy providers.
After much research, major insurance plans are recognizing the value of online counseling services like video therapy and chat sessions. This is especially true when services are provided by licensed and experienced mental health providers that are already HIPAA compliant.
An online counseling service offers life-changing results for people who live in rural areas with no access to HIPAA-compliant therapists. These rural-based clients now have the option of resolving important life issues via live chat and video. They can participate in mental health counseling, marriage counseling, and teen services. Rural clients obtain peace of mind of knowing their online therapists are licensed to provide online counseling with the same level of quality as in-office therapy.
For many of us who have busy lives, it's no wonder we want something a little more convenient when it comes to counseling services. Experienced therapists and clients often struggle with meeting up in an effective way. Online counseling services via chat, video, and text with HIPAA-compliant therapists bridge this gap.
Online therapists and other counseling providers are licensed to provide the same mental health standard of care as their offline counterparts. Attending online counseling sessions via chat, video, and text makes it easier for clients and licensed and experienced therapists to connect.
When you choose online counseling sessions, you don't need to worry about schedule changes, how to change therapists if things don't work out, or long commutes. While you do need to set time aside for your sessions that include video chat therapy, text therapy is an online counseling service that doesn't always require an appointment.
Many people find it easier to communicate their feelings via text. The great news is that online counseling sessions can be attended in this comfortable and familiar format. This is especially great news for clients who participate in teen counseling or marriage counseling sessions where face-to-face contact can feel intimidating. The best online counseling sessions are often held via text, phone, and message boards.
One other aspect that e-counseling reviews discuss is the fact that self-expression is much more possible through text. That might sound ironic, but many people struggle with saying what they mean. With text, you can mull over and think about what you want to say before you say it.
People who provide online therapy counseling reviews state that they like talking to their therapist via text. Clients can choose to bypass chat, video, or phone sessions to avoid feeling like they are on the spot. Using text therapy may prevent clients from providing knee-jerk responses during online sessions.
That's the draw of online therapy: the fact that you can say what you need to say when you need to say it. The best online therapy services provide a variety of options for receiving HIPAA-compliant online counseling.
The Top Online Therapy Companies
So which couples therapy and other online therapy providers are in the running for America's top service? Read below to learn about a few of online service platforms, where therapists are licensed to provide HIPPA compliant online therapy via chat, video, and text - and why they're so effective.
- BetterHelp: Considered the best one out there, you can participate in therapy sessions by phone, chats, video, and text messaging. All therapists are HIPAA compliant, and there is even a handy mobile app. For the price you're paying, it will save you some serious money.
- Regain: These relationship counseling therapists are licensed to provide relationship counseling services via phone, chat, video, and messaging. There is even a forum to talk to others. It's the same price as BetterHelp and all the therapists are licensed in disciplines such as marriage, couples, and relationship counseling.
- TalkSpace: This is another one of the top online therapy companies that you can utilize. All TalkSpace therapists are licensed and are required to complete a background check to provide therapy on the platform. They offer therapy via video, text, and audio, and are HIPAA compliant. They are BetterHelp's main competition but are a little pricier.
- Breakthrough: Finally, there is Breakthrough, which offers video and chat sessions. You will need to schedule appointments with this one also. They are about double the price of BetterHelp, so keep that in mind when you're researching platforms.
All of these companies score a minimum of 8.4 out of 10 in reviews. Currently, BetterHelp is the top online service for phone chat, text messaging, and video chat providers. They offer online therapy right at your fingertips, and you won't regret choosing them. They have many counselors, so when you're choosing someone to work with, they have many options for helping people recover.
The Effectiveness of Online Therapy
How effective is online therapy? It is quite effective, and there are many studies being done on different disorders. Therapy options such as cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy are very effective when using online therapy. It's just as good over a video feed or even just over the phone for many with mental health conditions that are mild. You can engage in sessions where the counselor will talk to you and provide the awareness that you need. From here, you can learn to respond to challenging situations.
Limited in Use
There are a few mental health conditions that are better handled in person. Severe disorders may benefit more from an in-person experience. The lack of contact between the person during the week may affect a person's actions.
There is also the fact that those who prefer more hands-on experiences for therapy may not benefit from online therapy. Exposure therapy to get over phobias, for example, may not be ideal online. Online therapy is incredibly effective and can be helpful for those who are struggling to overcome certain issues. For the more severe cases, this may not be optimal. If you require a more hands-on type of therapy, an in-person experience might benefit you more.
There can be a few downsides, and some e-therapy reviews have pointed out a few of these disadvantages.
- You may need in-person interaction. Sometimes you can't communicate what you want to say through messages, but, instead, need body language to help with this.
- It may not be good for severe mental health issues, especially those that make people a danger to others when a therapist can't step in immediately.
- The therapist won't be able to be on call, so if a depressed person does experience a crisis, they might not be able to receive instant advice.
- Art therapy, drama, EDMR, music, and play therapy are nearly impossible when using the online therapy route.
- There is the chance your counselor may not be a good fit for you. If it doesn't work out, you can always switch.
While online therapy is a wonderful option for some people, it may not be conducive for all. Some patience is required in finding the right fit.
Online therapy is here to stay, and it is wonderful for those who want to see a therapist for issues, but also don't want to spend the time, or the money sitting in an office with someone. With many online therapy companies accepting more insurance, there's proof that its popularity is growing.
With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, online therapy has become more widespread than ever. The New York Times has written more than one article detailing teletherapy’s spread. They make many of the points that we have here – that for common types of talk therapy to treat issues related to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, online therapy seems to be as effective as traditional therapy.
We know we’ve outlined a lot of benefits in this article, but here are some more to take with you: if you’re anxious about starting therapy or seeing a new counselor, being in your own space may make the transition easier and more comfortable. Additionally, while you might have to contend with a wait list to see a counselor in a traditional space, BetterHelp matches most people with a counselor within 24 hours. Here are some reviews from folks already using BetterHelp:
“Jennifer is so lovely. She is kind, personable, and knowledgeable. I particularly appreciate the times when she sympathizes and is able to reply empathetically, ensuring me that I'm not alone in the daunting expanse I call my mind. She is responsive, understanding, accommodating, and, for my first time in therapy, a really wonderful fit. I was so hesitant to begin therapy, and Jennifer has made it such a safe space that I'm no longer scared to enter.”
“Sandee is very thoughtful, supportive and helpful. She understands my concerns and offers relevant advice and perspective. This is my first time pursuing therapy and Sandee has made the experience comfortable and worthwhile. Highly recommend!”
If you've considered online therapy in the past, but weren't sure, hopefully this post helped you figure out the solution. There's a number of benefits; you just need to figure out for yourself whether or not online therapy is for you.
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