How Does Therapy Chat Work, And Is It Effective?
By: Angela W. McShan
Updated May 27, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock
Chat therapy delivers convenient and new-age counseling services where people need it most on their digital devices. In today's day and age, almost every facet of life has digital accessibility. It only makes sense that the mental health industry would access counseling services available and accessible to those who need them.
An increasing number of professional services are offering access via digital means. This is extremely important in the counseling industry, as almost 20% of adults in the United States face behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. Online therapy chat services make it possible for people to receive counseling when dealing with emotional or mental stressors in life.
Relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and clinically defined conditions can be addressed through online therapy boards. People choose digital counseling for a variety of reasons. These platforms make the therapy process convenient, non-intimidating, and helpful for individuals facing small or life-changing obstacles.
Advantages Of Therapy Chat
Some people may be reluctant to try chat therapy, as they may feel that it doesn't allow a personal connection between client and counselor. Therapy platforms provided online may make it easier for people to express themselves and describe the issues they are facing. Some may choose to complement traditional counseling with chat therapy to achieve maximum results from counseling altogether. There are a few advantages linked to therapy chat, such as:
- Cost-efficient. The cost of in-office therapy can range from $150-200 per session for professional counseling. Those with insurance covering counseling are still left with a co-payment of approximately $40-$50 per visit. These charges could amount to a monthly cost range of $600-$800 without insurance or $160-$200 with insurance. Cost alone may make it less feasible for people to take advantage of regular in-office therapy.
- No location restrictions: It can be challenging to find a quality therapist that is nearby or convenient in location. With chat therapy, location doesn't matter. Through available online chats, a professional and experienced therapist is as close as your fingertips, and with Skype therapy, you can experience a face-to-face session when necessary.
- Private and discrete sessions. Online chat sessions offer discretion and privacy that clients can trust. There are laws to ensure that chat therapists are governed by firm local, state, and federal guidelines and laws. All counseling sessions are protected under HIPPA. Because the sessions are online, there are encryption services in place to ensure safe and secure accessibility.
- Immediate communication access. Clients participating in chat therapy have the option and convenience to open an app, log in, or send a message to start or request a session. This outweighs the inconvenience of waiting days or weeks for a scheduled in-office session. Also, if a client feels the need to talk through a critical situation such as relationship issues or other obstacles, chat therapy can be immediately accessed.
- Time-efficient. Life, school, career, and social activities take a great amount of time from a person's day. It may sometimes be difficult to schedule a counseling session that fits a busy schedule. Couples experiencing relationship problems shouldn't be forced to delay therapy because it's challenging to find a time that fits the schedule of both individuals. Relationship chat therapy is time-efficient because it allows couples to receive counseling services at times convenient for both at any time and any place.
- The embarrassment or stigma linked to mental illness can be as debilitating as the condition itself. It prevents people from seeking effective methods of treatment. Many times, individuals refrain from scheduling therapy session appointments due to embarrassment. They allow the stigma associated with therapy to force them to live with their disorder or other issues in life. In other cases, people may schedule a session with good intentions, but the stigma forces them to miss or cancel the session. Chat therapy removes the concept of stigma and allows individuals to chat with a professional therapist that can help them work through their issues.
What To Look For In Therapy Chat Sessions
If you are dealing with stress, mental or emotional disorders, or relationship issues, chat therapy could be an option you should consider. When seeking online therapy options, be certain that you are connected to a reputable source. Just as it's important to do thorough research before choosing a traditional therapist, you should take the same approach with therapy chat professionals.
It is important to ensure that you are working with a certified therapist with experience in the area in which you need counseling. Research info can reveal important information. If you have a gender preference in counselors, make sure that you have the option to specify. There is an increased level of comfort in therapy chat to be experienced, but a positive outcome is most important. Online sessions aligned with clients' beliefs and needs are most likely to produce positive results.
Keep in mind that the overall objective of chat therapy is for individuals to receive the help and guidance they need in overcoming issues or disorders. If the current option isn't achieving this goal, seek an option that works better for you. If office therapy sessions don't seem to be effective for you, something as convenient and simple as therapy chat could make a difference in getting you help that works.
Meeting with a certified therapist online should deliver the same or better quality results you receive by visiting an office for counseling sessions. Ask questions and get the answers you need to make you feel comfortable when talking to a therapist. It's an investment of yourself and your time that could help you find relief and rediscover a place of happiness and contentment in life. However, you must be dedicated to the process during chat therapy, just as traditional sessions require.
Preparing For Therapy Chat
Therapy chat counselors are certified and experienced professionals. When an online therapist is selected, you can be certain to experience the quality of professionalism available with in-person sessions. However, with chat options such as Skype therapy, there are a few considerations:
- Connect with the therapist that feels like a good match. It's important to connect with a therapist that matches your personality. This makes it easier to open up and discuss the most intimate details of whatever issues you're facing. Research the network of professional advisors or counselors to find one experienced in dealing with your current issues. This ensures that you are matched with a therapist with the training and skills to help you work through whatever issues you have.
- Consider and set goals. Therapists utilize a variety of methods and approaches to help clients work through their issues. A practical approach may lead you to deal with past, current, and future issues. While another approach could lead you to deal with events of the past that may be a pressing factor in your current issues when considering or consulting with chat therapists, ask questions about their preferred treatment method or approach, be open and clear about your goals and what you wish to achieve through therapy. To discuss or clarify your goals, you must first set them yourself.
- Make the most of your time. Just as you prepare for a visit with your medical doctor by compiling a list of any medications and dosage if applicable, revealing your ailments or complaints and most recent hospital stays, it's essential to be equally prepared for chat therapy. Write out any questions or concerns before the consultation. Proper preparation permits you to maximize the results of your consultation. Here are a few questions to consider:
- How do you decide which approach works best for me?
- What will you do to help me achieve my goals?
- What should I expect during our sessions?
- Should I expect assignments to complete at home?
- What is the counseling frequency and duration?
- How much will chat therapy cost me?
- Is this a long or short-term approach?
- Prepare for technical interference. Although digital therapy offers a category of conveniences, you should prepare for technical interruptions that may occur. Talk with the therapist about the plan of action should you be disconnected during a session. Power outages, internet connectivity problems, and other digital factors could interfere with or prevent a session from being completed. Plan ahead of time to ensure that you still receive the counseling you need in the event of an interruption.
Ensure that your chat therapy sessions are secure to make you feel better about receiving help online. There are several measures for you to take to heighten the level of security for your sessions. In addition to safety tools recommended by online therapists, consider these options:
- Remember to log completely out of each session, especially when using a public computer or browser.
- When possible, use your laptop or computer
- Ensure that all methods of payment are secure
- Set passcode protection on all digital devices
- Use a unique passcode for therapy chat sessions and change it often
- Retreat to a quiet, private room or space during therapy chat sessions and use headphones or earbuds for added privacy.
Is Chat Therapy The Right Option For You?
If convenience and comfort are important to you, then chat therapy could be beneficial for you. It offers a sense of freedom that allows you to chat with your therapist during times that are most convenient for you. This removes any limitations or delays in working through issues as they arise. Chat therapists can usually be reached immediately and offer immediate responses to your situation. Most importantly, the anxiety of an in-person session is removed.
In many chat therapy sessions, audio measures are available. This approach allows for asynchronous communications to be interchanged. This is an ideal option for individuals who feel the need to express themselves by venting. Audio messages allow you to be reassured and guided by the voice of your therapist without sitting through a lengthy session.
Individuals have different needs regarding their therapy sessions, and some benefit from the body language projected by their therapist. Skype therapy makes it possible to experience a full-body reaction or face-to-face sessions. Whether you need to hear the voice or see the face of your therapist, chat therapy offers options that work best for you.
Therapy chat removes the office, couch, and the need to travel to an appointment. Your sessions are held wherever there is internet connectivity. Connect with a chat therapist wherever and whenever you feel the need to do so. Some chat therapy sessions are available for even more convenience through apps that permit you to have your therapist at your fingertips even while traveling.
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