According to the American Psychological Association, one out of every four adults in the United States needs mental health services but only 13% get treatment. The rise of online therapy has given many people the chance to get the treatment that they may not have had when limited to visiting a therapist in a physical location.
This translates to higher numbers of people receiving psychological care than in the past and a better understanding of the process and benefits of psychotherapy among people otherwise unfamiliar with treatment.
While the impact can’t be disputed of the effects of COVID-19 on our mental health and the privilege to treatment that online therapy provided during that time- there are many other factors that continue to contribute to the growing popularity of online therapy.
The Benefits of Online Therapy
Online therapy has a wide range of benefits for those who choose to pursue it.
While much of the stigma formerly attached to mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD has largely been removed, there are still some conditions that cause hesitation regarding therapy. Many are still uncomfortable with discussing sensitive topics including, but not limited to, drug addiction or sexual abuse with another person.
These concerns are largely eliminated with online therapy, as the location of sessions is at the patient’s discretion. There is no need to be physically present in an office or other location. This can be very helpful for individuals who experience difficult conditions such as borderline personality disorder or PTSD.
For some patients, it isn’t easy or even possible to attend weekly therapy sessions in an office environment. The potential reasons for this are many and may include work scheduling or difficulty traveling.
Also, people who live with depression, PTSD, or anxiety disorders may find it challenging to find the energy or motivation to attend in-person therapy. They may find it difficult to get out of bed on some days, let alone get in the car and drive to an in-office therapy appointment across town. This is one of the most common reasons why people who need therapy end up not getting the help they need. Being able to get therapy from the comfort of your own home in the form of online therapy is a big benefit for those people.
Additionally, online therapy services with a licensed counselor may help to give you the help and guidance you need to make positive progress. After an initial consultation, your behavioral health professional will employ cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, psychodynamic therapy, and other behavioral health methods based on your unique needs.
Online therapy provides face-to-face contact between therapist and client via video sessions. If the client prefers, they can communicate with the therapist via live messaging and phone calls at any time from anywhere with an internet connection or cell phone service.
A therapist working out of an office practice typically has a more limited amount of time to schedule patients. Add wasted productivity due to canceled appointments and time lost for reviewing client notes to prepare for sessions, and this limits a therapist’s time that they could be potentially seeing clients- and earning money. This sometimes translates to a rate hike for clients.
In contrast, an online counselor offering therapy via instant message can potentially work with several patients simultaneously. Some patients doubt the therapeutic benefits of such an arrangement, but studies show that it has been proven as an effective therapeutic modality for treating many mental health issues. Since email or messaging chat does not necessarily require real-time responses, online therapists can take their time reviewing their notes and previous conversations before composing an answer.
Furthermore, a professional working out of a therapy office often must pay rent, utilities, insurance, and sometimes staff. These costs are often passed on to the clients. Online therapists do not need to rent commercial space, while counselors who are semi-retired or otherwise prefer to work part-time can continue to practice.
All these factors combine to lower online therapy cost for those who choose to switch therapists and speak to a mental health counselor online.
Does Health Insurance Cover This Therapy?
As it grows more popular, more insurance companies may begin to cover online therapy. In the US, health insurance providers may cover part, or in rare cases, all of your mental health care, but insurance coverage usually does not cover online therapy. You may have to check with your insurance company to find out.
Even so, because online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person therapy that accepts insurance, many people prefer to pay out of pocket. This is an easier and sometimes cheaper option than paying through health insurance because the cost of online therapy is sometimes less expensive than the average copay.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Many published studies report that patients who work with an online licensed therapist for disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and more have broad improvements in their mental health and well-being. Online therapy options include couples therapy, sessions with a family therapist, and other therapy services.
If you are ready to take the first step toward better mental health but find that there are barriers preventing you from seeking treatment, choosing online therapy may be an excellent solution. Here are some reviews of licensed therapists from patients enjoying the benefits of online therapy:
BetterHelp Online Therapy Reviews
“I've been working with Jennifer Evans for a few months now dealing with anxiety-related issues and addressing long-standing negative coping mechanisms. I've made amazing progress in identifying underlying issues and establishing techniques to overcome my anxiety. Jennifer uses a variety of methods and tailors therapy based on feedback. She is quick to respond, extremely caring, and always insightful. I truly believe she has been integral to the progress I’ve made in a fairly short amount of time. I highly recommend this therapist and am encouraged by how effective online therapy can be.”
“Brittany has been my therapist for just a few short weeks now. She has been excellent in getting to know me and finding out what I want from her so far. She has a way with words that seem to explain things very well to me which in turn has helped me have great strides in my life. I don’t think any of this would be possible without Brittany or BetterHelp. I’m now excited for my future in ways I didn’t know how to achieve, I still have a lot to accomplish but I’m confident I’m going to keep getting the help I need.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Can online therapists prescribe medication?
Most licensed, internet-based mental health professionals can provide services like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many clients combine virtual therapy with offline medication management services for a total mental health solution. Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any new medication options. A physician may be able to help you find the best medication given your medical history and symptoms.
Is BetterHelp online therapy legit?
Yes, BetterHelp is a legitimate online therapy provider. BetterHelp works with licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and psychologists. The licensed mental health professionals at BetterHelp provide the same high-quality standards of care as in-person mental health providers—often at a lower cost. People using BetterHelp.com establish a relationship that builds trust and resolves chronic mental health issues.
Is Talkspace or BetterHelp better?
When it comes to finding a mental health provider for establishing a therapeutic relationship, Talkspace and BetterHelp are two leading mental health options. Both platforms offer similar types of therapy. The main differences are the costs of services for unlimited messaging, phone sessions, and sessions with individual and group therapists (like family therapists).
Can you see a therapist online?
Therapy services like BetterHelp offer the option for you to establish a therapeutic relationship with an online therapist. When you register for your mental health account, select the option to remain unknown to use this feature. There are also other niche-based therapy options available.
Does online therapy work?
Online mental health help is an effective component of a holistic approach. Internet-based counseling comes with different modalities, cost models, and customizable options, which can create a unique experience and space for you to seek guidance and advice. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology showed that internet-based social therapy had over a 90% retention rate among its participants and that these participants reported significant reductions in symptoms related to their diagnosed mental health disorders.
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