What You Should Know About Telephone Counseling Therapy (And Who it’s Good For)

Updated June 16, 2020

Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC

Introduction

If you've been putting off taking care of your mental health-related needs because you don't have time to make an appointment, let alone visit a therapist's office. Luckily, there are still alternative options to take care of these important needs. Today's options for taking part in therapy sessions have gone digital, and mental health clients have more options than ever before for taking part in distance therapy.

Wondering If Telephone Counseling Is The Right For You?
Ask A Licensed Mental Health Professional.

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Many people realize the concept of attending therapy counseling sessions online. Another popular component of online therapy (also known as distance therapy) is telephone counseling services. In this article, we talk about how free telephone counseling hotlines and subscription-based phone counseling services are closing the therapy gap for today's mental health clients.

Who Provides Free Telephone Counseling Services?

You might wonder "who provides telephone counseling services or where to find telephone counseling jobs. There are several ways that clients seeking phone support can get telephone counseling services. Free telephone counseling services are often provided by national hotlines and other public service organizations.

An example of two well-known free phone counseling hotlines are those operated by the National Suicide Hotline Lifeline that provides advice, resource, and referral for troubled users. Another popular example is the Domestic Violence Hotline that provides support, resources, and referrals for domestic violence victims and abuse survivors.

The National Suicide Lifeline and the Domestic Violence Hotline provide critical services to individuals in crisis who aren't sure of what next steps to take and may feel like they have nowhere else to turn. They staff these public service hotlines with expert support professionals 24 hours a day proficient at providing mental health-related advice and referral for people who are experiencing a crisis.

The goal of free counseling services is to help members of the community who are suffering from domestic violence or mental health-related issues to find support and learn how to gain access to support resources in their local area. National support hotlines and crisis hotlines are typically available by phone 24 hours a day.

Popular online counseling services that provide free listeners and expert coaches are 7 Cups of Tea and similar services that provide free 24-hour online support for people in crisis who need a helping hand.

Counseling services by phone are typically available anywhere you have a phone connection at any time of day or night. Telephone counseling services provide mental health clients with another avenue to reach licensed therapists and expert coaches from the privacy of their home or office. A quick Google search can help professionals find telephone counseling jobs.

Subscription-Based Phone Counseling and Therapy

Another option for getting telephone counseling is to use a subscription-based online therapy service. You may have already heard of popular online therapy services like BetterHelp.com and ReGain.US. Subscription-based therapy services like these provide access to critical mental health counseling and other related support services for a set fee that is charged by the week, month, or different designated time frame.

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The fees charged for subscription-based therapy are substantially lower than traditional in-office therapy sessions. For example, in the United States, in-office therapy sessions typically range from $65.00 an hour to as high as $200.00 an hour. The rate is generally on the higher end of the spectrum for specialized sessions or in cities and states with high costs-of-living.

Locations that customarily have higher costs of living that transfer that costs into therapy bills through reasonable and customary therapy fees. Online therapy sessions are substantially less than in-office therapy and range from $35.00 a week to $99.00 a week for unlimited messaging sessions with licensed and board-certified sessions.

When you compare the time spent in online therapy to the cost of in-office therapy, the financial benefits are obvious. Time savings are clear, as appointments are available twenty-four hours a day. Cost savings are clear in weekly payments and savings on gas and other expenses that relate to an in-office therapy commute.

While some benefits of phone counseling and online therapy are apparent, there has been some debate about whether phone counseling or online therapy sessions can standalone or if a combination of in-office therapy with online solutions will yield the best results.

Subscription-based therapy services provide clients with access to expert coaches and licensed counselors who are board-certified to practice within their state of residence. There is a difference in the level of guidance and support that coaching and niche-based experts can provide, versus the services that licensed professionals can provide through distance therapy.

Understanding Distance Therapy

Distance therapy is a therapy that involves virtual contact to get services like counseling and other telehealth services in a virtual contact environment instead of the usual in-person contact. Phone counseling is one form of virtual contact therapy for mental health clients and licensed therapy providers to engage in virtual counseling sessions. Other forms of distance therapy include audio sessions via therapy platform or phone, SMS messaging, and video chat.

Typical distance therapy sessions can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to one-hour sessions. The number of sessions and the duration of sessions are up to the discretion of the client and the therapist. Distance therapy sessions are highly flexible, with board-certified therapists available online and by phone24 hours a day. This makes scheduling phone therapy sessions a breeze for clients who keep odd hours or who work non-traditional shifts.

Phone counselors intend telephone therapy services to act as non-emergency services only. People are in the midst of dangerous situations, having suicidal thoughts or in danger of other types of imminent harm should contact their local authorities or visit their local emergency room to get immediate support.

Who is Distance Therapy Good For?

Now that you understand that distance therapy isn't intended for emergency use, you may wonder who distance therapy can benefit. The following is a breakdown of who uses distance therapy and how they benefit from attending therapy from the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

Individuals in Crisis

People who are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and aren't sure where to turn often reach out to free or subscription-based counseling services to get support. Most times, people are just looking for another point of view or human contact with another person to reassure them they can resolve the issues that are facing.

Individuals use free phone counseling and subscription-based therapy to gain insights into personal behaviors, relationships, and to learn about other support options and services that they can use to mitigate their mental health-related issues.

Wondering If Telephone Counseling Is The Right For You?
Ask A Licensed Mental Health Professional.

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People who are suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other chronic mental health-related conditions often reach out for phone support during times of crisis, confusion, or overwhelm to get advice or reminders on how to regain their composure in-between therapy sessions or other medical appointments.

Dating and Married Couples

Couples in crisis often reach breaking points in their relationships that can benefit from the confidential discretion and guidance of a neutral third-party. As individuals, couples can contact phone therapists to have sessions that help them keep their lives and their relationships on track.

Today's couples don't have to leave home to learn how to deal with the stress of heated arguments, financial disagreements, or to learn better communication skills. Thanks to distance therapy options like telephone counseling therapy, couples can get support from the comfort of their own homes for solving everyday life and relationship challenges.

Families in Distress

Many people don't think of families as the first thought when it comes to phone therapy or online therapy. Today's distributed families can now login or call into online therapy platforms and gain professional advice and insight into family issues and learn how to resolve family dramas from afar.

Families can now call in (or login) using conference-based audio, video, and phone systems to connect with relatives across the country and solve great family dramas - in a healthy way. Family members also have the option to take part in individual therapy sessions to gain deeper access to their behaviors and outcomes to improve the quality of their lives.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the basics of how telephone counseling services work feel more confident when deciding to pick up the phone and reach out for help. Remember that you are not alone, and online phone counseling sessions aren't always limited by income. There are options for free and reduced cost phone counseling sessions online. A quick Google search will probably yield the best results.

For those seeking subscription-based counseling services for ongoing sessions, leading therapy providers for individual and relationship therapy like ReGain.US offer reasonable and affordable therapy options that start as low as $40.00 per week for unlimited sessions. Unlimited therapy options provide real-time communication with licensed and board-certified therapists via email, chat, SMS messaging, and video options.

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FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

How can telephone counseling help your mental health?

It's essential to speak to a therapist to maintain your mental health. Healthcare in this country doesn't necessarily offer many options for affordable therapy. However, telephone counseling is a great way to receive treatment for many conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. You can access telephone counseling in many different ways, and one of them is on mobile apps. With telephone counseling, you get access to an online therapist via phone. It's also a form of internet counseling or online counseling. In between telephone sessions, you have unlimited messaging with your online therapist, and they must keep your information completely confidential due to the privacy policy held by the therapy website they work with. The privacy policy with telephone counseling is quite strict; a privacy policy is implemented to ensure that you feel safe in your therapeutic relationship. So, whatever you say to your therapist is confidential unless you intend to harm yourself or others.

Telephone counseling can help with your mental health because it's an easy way to see a therapist without actually "seeing" them. It's flexible, and you can build it around your busy schedule. You can speak with a telephone counselor from your home or on a work break, and you know that you can rely on that person. They'll be on the other side of the phone listening to you, and knowing that someone is listening and cares can help your mental health.

FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

How can telephone counseling help your mental health?

It's essential to speak to a therapist to maintain your mental health. Healthcare in this country doesn't necessarily offer many options for affordable therapy. However, telephone counseling is a great way to receive treatment for many conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. You can access telephone counseling in many different ways, and one of them is on mobile apps. With telephone counseling, you get access to an online therapist via phone. It's also a form of internet counseling or online counseling. In between telephone sessions, you have unlimited messaging with your online therapist, and they must keep your information completely confidential due to the privacy policy held by the therapy website they work with. The privacy policy with telephone counseling is quite strict; a privacy policy is implemented to ensure that you feel safe in your therapeutic relationship. So, whatever you say to your therapist is confidential unless you intend to harm yourself or others.

Telephone counseling can help with your mental health because it's an easy way to see a therapist without actually "seeing" them. It's flexible, and you can build it around your busy schedule. You can speak with a telephone counselor from your home or on a work break, and you know that you can rely on that person. They'll be on the other side of the phone listening to you, and knowing that someone is listening and cares can help your mental health.

Is telephone counseling effective?

According to the American Psychological Association study shows, studies are showing that telephone counseling can significantly improve people's health. Specifically, their mental health. There have been many studies that indicate that it is indeed valid. One of the reasons that telephone therapy is effective is because of the component of unlimited messaging; you talk to them on the phone at scheduled times, but in between sessions, you can contact them. Unlimited messaging is an incredible resource because you don't feel disconnected from your provider and can express yourself at any time. With online counseling, the health services you receive are quality, and you'll be able to use unlimited messaging to touch base with your counselor exactly when you need it. That's why it's so effective; it's not just during one session, and you can use it throughout your therapeutic relationship. In online therapy, one of how you receive treatment is ongoing, as opposed to just during the session.

How do you know when you need to talk to a therapist?

One of the signs that you need to talk to an online therapist or counselor is that your emotional state impacts your quality of life, and you can't function optimally. It could be that you're struggling with a mental health condition like anxiety and are having symptoms like panic attacks, or it could only be that there are life issues that you can't seem to work through yourself. Talking to a telephone counselor can help you navigate through any issues that arise in your life. You don't have to go through the hard stuff alone. It's important to reach out and talk to someone, and an online counselor can help. You don't need to be in a crisis to receive counseling. Sometimes, it could be that you want to vent. If you need someone to vent to, a telephone counselor is a great person to have. If you're interested in seeing a professional remotely, it doesn't necessarily have to be on the phone. There are many forms of online therapy you can receive, and telephone counseling is just one of them.

What can telephone counseling help you within your life?

You can talk to a telephone counselor about relationships, depression, anxiety, trauma history, coping with executive functioning issues, stressors at work or school, parenting struggles, and more. You can use your counseling sessions for whatever you need; it all depends on you and what you'd like to accomplish.

How many sessions of telephone counseling do you need?

According to a study from the APA, four sessions of telephone counseling were enough to help people. But like with any therapeutic relationship, you can decide on how long you want to be in counseling for depending on your needs. So, figure out what works for you and see a counselor.

Contact a ReGain.us professional to learn how to get started with affordable telephone counseling services or online therapy options.

Is therapy over the phone effective?

While therapy over the phone is not for people who find themselves in emergencies, it can be a great way to have therapy delivered to wherever you are. Just like in traditional therapy, phone therapy is done by licensed therapists. These therapists are licensed to provide therapy in general and often receive extra and ongoing training in order to offer therapy over the phone.

While face-to-face therapy may seem like the most trusted way to receive psychotherapy or cognitive behavior therapy, phone therapy is becoming more and more popular. People realize that phone therapy works for their busy lives, and allows them the time and resources to continue seeing the best therapist for them, despite distance and time constraints.

Can you do therapy over the phone?

In a word, yes. Just like ‘normal’ therapy phone therapy is mostly based on talking to licensed therapists about your problems. You can call your therapist based anywhere in the world and complete your sessions over the phone! This is a great option for people who may live far away from their preferred therapist, or for people seeking couples therapy when both they and their partner have a busy schedule.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be talking. There are also a lot of options for text therapy. This is often referred to as unlimited messaging therapy since you communicate with your therapist via text message. Unlike traditional therapy, unlimited messaging therapy allows your communication to be entirely written and reviewable. Unlimited messaged therapy is great for people who may feel shy when they speak, and who may be more comfortable writing out their feelings and ideas.

What is the best therapy?

When it comes to identifying the best type of therapy, there will be several possible answers. Of course, the best therapy for any given situation will be largely based on the patient’s needs and specific circumstances.

But if you’re looking for a general answer, then look no further than cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is the most widely used and most deeply researched form of psychotherapy. This type of therapy revolves around understanding the patient’s thought processes and decision-making models in order to promote better behavior. Basically, cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to draw connections between the patient’s thought process and actions in order to help them identify and solve problems in their life.

Does insurance cover phone therapy?

The simple answer is that in most states, yes, insurance covers phone therapy. However, since the parity laws that govern mental health services aren’t well-enforced, you might have a difficult time getting the insurance company to pay for it. Also, these laws only require that insurance companies cover distance therapy with the same rates as in-person therapy, so the answer will be different from policy to policy and provider to provider. Also, please note that some insurance providers require that distance therapy has a video element, so a simple phone call won’t suffice.

The only way to get a clear and binding answer is to check directly with your insurance provider about your specific policy. Remember that you, as the patient, always have the opportunity to appeal the decision of the insurance company.

How do you get therapy if you can't afford it?

If you find yourself in a place seeking therapy with no budget, there are a couple of ways that you can get help even if you can’t afford it.

The first step is to check with your insurance provider. Your insurance plan can give you a list of therapists who are covered by their plan, and you might end up paying only a small co-pay. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover therapy, check to see if they cover services provided by social workers, and then check with local social services to see what therapy services are provided. Community mental health centers are great places to look for these local social services.

You can also check out training clinics, which usually use a sliding scale model to charge for services. This means that if you have a low income, you’ll pay a lot less for therapy. Even though you’ll be working with a therapist-in-training, these training clinics are regulated and overseen by professionals in the field.

You can also attend support groups or seek help from a religious leader. The leaders of these support groups and many religious leaders undergo professional training in counseling and offer these services for free. Or, you can try checking out self-help books and podcasts about mental health. These are really cheap ways to get educated about mental health so that you can take steps towards improving your mental health without spending a dime!

Does online therapy really work?

The first question you’re probably asking if you’re considering choosing online therapy is whether or not it’s effective. It can be great for couples therapy or individual sessions, especially if you live in an area where it may be difficult to find a licensed therapist located near you.

Online therapy works well for people who have a stable internet connection but may not have reliable transportation or time in their busy schedule to go out and do face-to-face therapy regularly. They can simply log in and meet with their online therapist from wherever they happen to be. This can also allow a patient to work with the best therapist for them, despite any distance or constraints on resources.

Many people have reported that online therapy helped them in a difficult time. Choosing online therapy is a great way to get therapy for depression or anxiety since the act of leaving the house and going to the therapist’s office won’t add to the stress that is already weighing a patient down. Many people might consider choosing online therapy for couples therapy since it allows for flexibility when it comes to working sessions into two people’s busy schedules.

And online therapy doesn’t necessarily involve talking to a therapist over video chat. It can also be via unlimited messaging therapy. This approach is pretty much exactly how it sounds: the patient communicates with the therapist via a messaging app. Unlimited messaging therapy is popular for people who are struggling with ongoing issues that may require support from a therapist at any time of day or night.

In short, with all of these options and possibilities for online therapy, you will probably be able to find a method and model that caters exactly to your needs.

How do I prepare for a therapy session?

If you’re preparing for your first therapy session, whether it’s online or in-person, there are a few things you should do to prepare. First, choose a therapist that’s good for you. You shouldn’t feel too intimidated around them, although it’s okay to feel a bit shy or reserved at your first session.

Then, make sure that you have clearly defined your goals for therapy. Make your goals specific and achievable. It will probably help to write out these goals and bring them with you to the session so that you can share them openly and honestly with your new therapist. If you’ve been in therapy before, you can also make notes of what worked well (and what didn’t) with your last therapist.

You might also establish a little bit of communication with your therapist, like a brief phone call or short email exchange, before you have your first session. This will take a bit of the edge off of your first meeting and help to break the ice a bit.

You should make a list of what you’d like to talk about in the first session, along with any questions you may have for the therapist. This will help keep things flowing and relieve any pressure you may feel to “fill the time.” Most importantly, make sure that you get in the habit of respecting the time of the session. This means turning off your phone, letting people know that you’ll be out of touch during that time, and devoting your attention to the session.

Is online therapy cheaper?

One of the main reasons lots of people these days are choosing online therapy is because it is usually cheaper than face-to-face therapy. Even if therapy online isn’t much cheaper than in-person therapy in terms of cost per session, you can save a lot of money by meeting with your therapist online. This is because you don’t have to spend the time and resources to travel to your therapist’s office, which is a huge saving considering how many therapy sessions you’re likely to have over the course of treatment.

So, because of the often lower base rate and the ability to do therapy sessions from home, choosing online therapy is almost always cheaper than traditional in-person therapy.

Is online therapy safe?

If your online therapy provider is adhering to the HIPPA laws (the laws that govern patient privacy), and they’re using compliant encryption methods, then online therapy is safe. Be sure to ask specifically about any online therapy provider’s HIPPA compliance and their encryption methods before you decide to do online therapy.

What are the four types of talk therapy?

Talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, can fall into four types. They are:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of talk therapy involves working towards goals while assessing the patient’s problem-solving and decision-making processes. The aim is to alter the way that people see or think about certain situations in order to also change their reactions and behaviors in response to those situations.
  2. Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT): This is another type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thinking patterns in order to create changes in the patient’s behavior in the long-term.
  3. Psychodynamic therapies: This includes insight-oriented therapies, which look at unconscious brain activity as the cause of a person’s actions. The goal is to boost the patient’s self-awareness and help them understand the influence of their past on their present.
  4. Humanistic therapies: This therapy is focused on helping the patient become their true self so that they can lead the best version of their life. The driving idea is that each person has their own unique perspective, and this view is the biggest factor when it comes to processing thoughts and feelings. So, it’s also the basis by which people act and make decisions.

What are the three types of therapy?

In general, therapy can fall into three categories. They are:

  1. Psychotherapy / Talk Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on the patient talking through their thoughts and problems with a therapist. The therapist often asks guiding or probing questions, which are aimed at getting the patient to look more critically at their own thought processes, decisions, and resulting actions.
  2. Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT): This type of therapy encourages the patient to move their body as a way of expressing and processing their feelings and experiences. Then, the therapist interprets and draws conclusions based on patterns in the patient’s movements. This is a great way to promote self-esteem, self-expression, and muscular health.
  3. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR): In this type of therapy, the patient is exposed to bilateral stimulation so that they can process any unresolved memories or traumatic experiences. EMDR sessions follow a strict order and sequence of phases. This type of therapy is often used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related problems.

Can you get Counselling for free?

If you’re looking for free counseling, you should check out your local community center. Many of these centers have mental health professionals on staff. While you may not be able to get free one-on-one therapy, you will likely be able to join a support group or mental health class for free. Always be sure to keep your eyes, ears, and options open when it comes to finding counseling. Other resources, like books or podcasts, are also great ways to get more information and learn new skills for keeping your mental health in top shape.

 


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