Teletherapy - How It Can Treat Mental Health
Teletherapy is the mental health treatment of the future. Thanks to technology in counseling it's now a possibility. Once upon a time, to get therapy, we needed to go to a physical office location. For people with social anxiety, it was extremely challenging to go the distance at times. Leaving the house was a battle of its own, but with the advent of the internet, going to therapy has become possible without going anywhere at all. If you're socially anxious, you can remain in the privacy of your own home while talking to your online therapist.
It's not easy to develop a trusting relationship with a mental health professional, particularly if you have anxiety. You might be fearful of opening up to your therapist because you're scared of being judged. Maybe you think your thoughts are weird. Perhaps you think you're strange. It's not unheard of to feel misunderstood, and that's why we're sometimes afraid of opening up with others, and, instead put up barriers.
However, to develop a bond with anyone, you have to learn to trust them. Trust is one of the most foundational elements of the relationship between a client and a therapist. If you believe your therapist, you can speak freely and start to change problematic behaviors. If you don't trust your therapist, you're less likely to be able to grow emotionally. You won't be candid with them, and they won't see your vulnerability. Learning to form trust and a bond with your mental health professional takes time, and it can happen in teletherapy or online therapy. The bond between you and your teletherapist may even occur faster than you believed was possible. Let's dive deeper into the pros and cons of online therapy.
Trust is something that evolves. Whether you're learning to trust a friend or an intimate partner, it doesn't happen overnight. In the same way, trusting a therapist is something that may take a bit of time, but the healthy communication that occurs because of that trust is worth it. The act of trusting a mental health professional isn't instantaneous. It is a process. When you're talking to teletherapists in the privacy of a place where you feel safe, it makes a world of difference. Teletherapy is advantageous for someone with anxiety or paranoia, or even people with busy schedules, like students. You're on your turf with the flexibility to make an appointment when it is convenient for you. You're talking to somebody where you feel like you can be yourself and have an open conversation, and that's something unique about online counseling.
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What's Unique About Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is unique from traditional therapy in a variety of ways. There are many examples of why this is the case. One of the best things about it is that you can communicate with your therapist in a way that makes sense for you. You might want to talk to them via text or video chat on a screen. You can even discuss options for what the best way for you to talk about your feelings is with your therapist!
In teletherapy, the goal is to make you (the client) comfortable with your meetings. It's unique in the sense that you don't have to be restricted to just talking via voice. If you communicate best through writing, teletherapy gives users the option to message their therapist, whereas, in a traditional therapy office, you're confined to their set of rules and may feel obligated to speak verbally. Teletherapy apps are versatile, and that's pretty cool! If you're thinking about different ways to get mental health treatment that don't necessarily involve traditional face-to-face talk therapy, teletherapy might be the best option for you.
On top of that, you won't have to factor in the commute time to get there! Getting to therapy can be draining in and of itself. You might get stuck in traffic in your car or have to rely on public transportation, which isn't entirely reliable. With teletherapy, you don't have to worry about commuting; you can meet with your therapist wherever there's a secure internet connection.
In addition to all of these practical benefits, research, in most cases, is on the side of remote therapy as well. The New York Times recently discussed teletherapy and how it has grown in demand and popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Peer-reviewed studies, to date, have shown that online therapy is typically just as effective as traditional therapy when treating common issues such as post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, and anxiety. And a silver lining of the pandemic might be that online therapy is more common than ever.
This article is full of reasons to try online therapy. Some others to consider are that online therapy is often less expensive than traditional therapy, and while you may have to go on a wait list to see a traditional therapist, most people are matched with a counselor on BetterHelp within 24 hours. See below for more tips and tricks regarding starting online therapy, but please note that online therapy is currently not recommended for children.
“I was very skeptical of the idea of counseling in general but online counseling was an option I felt more comfortable with. Jennifer McLucas is an amazing counselor who provides a comfortable environment (even if it is online) for me. ... She provides achievable and practical solutions to help me work through what I am feeling! Definitely one of the best decisions I have made!”
“Melissa is wonderful. So happy to be working with her, especially because I was so hesitant to do online counseling in the first place. Really grateful for BetterHelp and the experience I've had!”
What are you waiting for? Try teletherapy! Has this article made you curious about the world of therapy? If you're starting to wonder about teletherapy, you can take a chance and try it for yourself. Don't listen to the assumptions of people's who haven't tried online therapy themselves. Some individuals who have only been to therapy in a traditional in-person setting might not see the value of teletherapy or understand how it works. To make an accurate judgment on teletherapy, you have to try it for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between telehealth and teletherapy?
The main difference between telehealth and teletherapy is the services they provide. Teletherapy services (also called telemental health services) involve treatment for mental health concerns and mental health care, while telehealth services cover a wider variety of areas and supporting a number of health concerns. Most insurance companies cover telehealth and teletherapy services, however, it is important to check with your specific insurance company to see if these online healthcare providers services are covered.
How is it done?
How teletherapy is conducted depends on what you seek treatment for, the teletherapy provider you use, and what your preferences are. Some teletherapy providers allow for both on the phone therapy and online chats so you can message with licensed therapists. Therapy sessions conducted through teletherapy are almost identical to those conducted in person; however, the patient can receive treatment and have therapy from anywhere at any time, in some cases, even group therapy.
What can I expect?
Teletherapy treatment is very similar to in person treatment, where an individual can receive mental health counseling from licensed professionals for mental illnesses, mental health conditions, chronic stress, anxiety, and more, from the comfort of their own home or chosen location.
Can online therapy be just as effective as traditional face to face therapy?
This is a question that anyone considering online therapy should ask. Many wonder whether therapy sessions done with video conferencing would be just as effective as traditional face to face therapy. It is appropriate to want to verify the authenticity of a type of therapy that is still considerably underutilized compared to traditional face to face therapy. However, there is a substantial amount of evidence that proves the effectiveness of online therapy.
A study in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare showed that after just a month of treatment, most individuals who used online therapy services reported improved mental health. They also reported levels of overall satisfaction and comfort that are similar to those reported by individuals who make use of face to face therapy.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders reported that online cognitive behavioral therapy is “effective, acceptable and practical healthcare.”
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found online therapy to be equally as effective as in person therapy in treating depression.
Online therapy has been proven to be as effective in the treatment of anxiety as face to face therapy. One of the benefits of teletherapy is that it can also be used to treat complex mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and addiction adhd.
What is online therapy called?
Online therapy is referred to by several names. These include:
- Online clinical psychology
- eMental health
- mobile health
- internet therapy
- video therapy
- virtual therapy
All these names point to the fact that online therapy uses online tools and electronic devices to deliver health therapy.
Is online therapy as good as in person?
There is a lot of evidence that shows that online therapy is just as effective as in person therapy. It is highly effective in the treatment of a range of mental health disorders, including:
- Eating disorders
- Addiction adhd
- Bipolar disorder etc.
It also facilitates the use of types of clinical psychology based therapy such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
And other forms of health therapy.
What are some possible advantages and disadvantages to online therapy?
The advantages include:
- It is convenient and more affordable than face to face therapy. This empowers people who normally won’t be able to afford therapy to find a therapist.
- During a state of emergency such as the Coronavirus pandemic, therapists and patients who can’t hold face to face therapy sessions can maintain a therapeutic relationship using online therapy.
- Providing mental healthcare for people who don’t have health insurance is one of the benefits.
Disadvantages of online therapy include:
- Insurance companies may not cover it
- Some states do not allow out of state health providers
- If you do not use a trustworthy platform, your confidentiality and privacy may be at risk
- Your sessions are at the mercy of electricity and technology. This can be disadvantageous for people undergoing action based treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Is online therapy expensive?
Online therapy is much more affordable than face to face therapy. The fees depend on the company you choose as well as the details of your plan.
Unlimited messaging typically costs around $40 per week. Therapists usually charge between $90 and $120 for a video conference. This is very affordable when you compare it to face to face therapy, which costs around $75 and $150 an hour. This is because online therapy is home based, and therapists don’t have to pay for office space, allowing them to charge more affordable rates.