Psychotherapy is a form of therapy that helps people with a range of emotional difficulties, stressful situations they are trying to manage, and mental illnesses. Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy helps to limit symptoms and control problematic issues. It is used to help improve a person’s overall well-being and cope with their daily life. Online psychotherapy is no different from traditional psychotherapy, except that you are not physically present with the counselor. All sessions are done online in a live, telehealth format.
There is a broad range of issues that online therapy can help individuals or couples manage. Some of these include:
What Do Online Therapy Sessions Look Like?
While all offices will have their own online sites and apps, the goal is to provide online therapy sessions to patients in a comfortable and open environment. For some people, their home is the best place to hold their initial sessions.
Often, online therapy and medications are used simultaneously to manage the disorder and treat any symptoms. This combination is recommended for many conditions by the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, and American Psychological Association.
When combining medication and online therapy, the patient needs to be honest with how the prescribed medicine makes them feel or act. Not all treatments are appropriate for all people, so it is critical to be upfront about any side effects.
Medication is often used in conjunction with online psychotherapy to improve the patient’s overall life, not challenging. Healthy lifestyle improvements, such as exercise, rejuvenating sleep, and proper nutrition, are also key elements of improving a person’s overall mental and physical health. Medications are not prescribed by the online counselor but rather by the patient’s psychiatrist or qualified family doctor.
For some individuals, attending psychotherapy online is a more suitable location than in-person psychotherapy services. This may be due to physical limitations, such as a disability limiting a patient’s ability to leave their house or a fear of leaving their home. Online therapy is designed to help the patient overall, regardless of circumstances.
In addition to location, therapy online is excellent because patients and their online therapists can be anywhere in the world and still have their sessions. If the patient travels for work but still needs their weekly online therapy session, they can have it from their phone or laptop. The hours that online therapy can take place can also extend past regular business hours. If your chosen online therapist has a home office, a session at an unusual hour can occur for those with an atypical work schedule or living situation.
The goal is to find an online therapy provider that you can trust and open up to; if you don’t feel comfortable around your counselor, it will not be effective. Finding the right psychotherapist online does not have to be any more challenging than finding the right in-person counselor.
In fact, finding a psychotherapist online may actually be easier because you will not spend time driving from office to office find a counselor that you connect with and can trust. While most people do not switch counselors, on occasion, you may find that you would benefit from a different therapist if you are dealing with complex issues. Since there are online therapy specialists for different realms of psychotherapy, finding a specialist is sometimes needed. For example, not all counselors are trained to conduct online therapy with patients seeking a sex change. Pre- and post-surgical transgender therapy is a specialized field and requires specific components of understands. Patients typically need to attend transgender therapy before a doctor begins surgical procedures; therefore, finding the right counselor will be important.
Does Online Therapy Work
The most notable benefits of online therapy are that patients have fewer medical problems, have fewer sick days from home or school, have fewer debilitating issues, and show an increase in work production. Online therapists’ goals are to have their patients show improvements throughout their sessions and not plateau with treatments. The best online therapists can get their patients to a point where they do not require therapy to continue or have fewer therapy sessions over a month or year.
Researchers have shown that brain changes in patients who attend online therapy have similar brain scans as those who only took medication. For those who do not want to depend on medication, online therapy is a good alternative when possible.
Patients who benefit the most from online therapy are those that are actively engaged in their treatment. They follow through with assignments given for “homework” between sessions, journal their thoughts or feelings, and consistently practice what is discussed in sessions. The best online therapy is as effective as the patient wants it to be; the more they put into it, the more they will get out.
Why Are There Different Types Of Online Therapy?
Different specialists treat a heart issue and a broken bone; there are different types of online therapy to help with specific needs and circumstances.
One of the most utilized online therapy methods is Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Online CBT helps patients to change their thinking and behavior patterns from a sad, anxious, or made to a safe process. Online CBT can help a person to manage issues and solve their problems.
CBT is most effective in treating:
Another type of online therapy is interpersonal therapy (IPT). IPT is most effective when treating patients with unresolved grief problems, having socialization issues, having conflicts with partners or family members, or needing assistance with self-expression.
Psychodynamic therapy helps patients to work through abuse that occurred during their childhood and improve their self-awareness. This form of online therapy, and psychoanalysis, works toward helping patients take back control of their lives. The best online psychoanalysis therapies are run several times a week and may include individual and group sessions.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of online therapy that helps patients regulate their emotions. Patients with mood disorders such as borderline personality disorder benefit the most from DBT.
In addition to the therapy types mentioned above, supportive online therapy is also a form of counseling that helps patients work through an issue or traumatic event and realize their self-worth. Some forms of supportive therapy include:
There are few risks to participating in online therapy. Some of the best online therapists never see patients in person and run successful practices.
While some online therapy may be painful to undergo, it is not the methodology that hurts; these patients are hurting on the inside. Once they resolve deeply buried issues, they can lead productive lives.
The key is to find a skilled and licensed online therapy counselor. The same licensure is required for both in-person and online therapy. You will also want to find a therapist that is capable of managing your specific needs. As mentioned above, some types of treatment require specialized therapists, so this need should be considered.
Ultimately, learning the coping skills necessary to manage your feelings, battle negative energy, and work through challenging issues is the goal. Whether you are working through anger issues or are victims of abuse, online therapy can be extremely successful.
What Should Other Factors Be Taken Into Consideration With Online Therapy
If you have an urgent issue that needs to be discussed with a new therapist, it is best to call their office and explain what is happening. Most offices will be accommodating to your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is online psychotherapy effective?
The answer is simply a resounding yes. When delivered in a text and video chat, online psychotherapy is effective for most individuals. It is particularly important for those who work from home or very busy office workers.
Online psychotherapy is not only useful for addressing different mental health problems; it is also as potent as its face-to-face counterparts. These methods have the peculiar advantage of being available in forms in which their face-to-face counterpart is not practical or possible. The most potent form of online psychotherapies involves the therapist and his client having a real conversation, besides using text-based content.
Regardless of the concerns, studies time and again reveal that internet-delivered psychotherapy effectively addresses people living with mental health concerns. The following studies depict this:
Can I chat with a therapist online?
The reason for the establishment of online therapy platforms is to give you access to effective and affordable online therapy from the comfort of whatever location you are on the globe. You can chat with online therapists and discuss an online therapy plan with them using your smartphone or tablet.
Also, you can hit them up via text messages, audio calls, and even video calls. There is also the live chat option that many online therapy platforms are gradually incorporating to communicate with their clients. Such an option often guarantees around-the-clock support.
Is there any free online therapy?
It is somewhat difficult to find an online therapy that is completely free. It is akin to searching for solution-providers in a haystack.
If you eventually find a free online counseling or therapy platform, there’s a good chance that it will be a support forum, peer support, a blog that offers limited access to therapists who provide free online therapy, chat room, a religious organization, or a nonprofit institution.
Also, do not forget that even though a support or peer group offers scheduled therapy and human interaction with the group's support, it isn’t identical to having a web-based internet-delivered mental health session for online counseling.
True, most of what is offered on the internet as support groups do not come with any cost implication, but there may be no moderation by qualified therapists for even some of the best online therapy platforms or free counseling platforms out there.
Is Talkspace or BetterHelp better?
BetterHelp and Talkspace are two online therapy platforms that many have accepted to be among the sought-after providers, offering reliable and affordable services to individuals that need online mental health services. Thinking about what their differences are?
These two online therapy platforms provide mental health services, so you may find it useful if you are seeking to know whether a particular medication may be useful as part of your treatment plan.
One advantage of BetterHelp is the video chat functionality that it includes together with its unlimited messaging offering. If phone therapy, online therapy service from BetterHelp may go down well with you. So, while Talkspace and BetterHelp offer two of the best online therapy programs out there, there may be other platforms that will provide the exact solution you are looking for.
What can I do if I can't afford therapy?
If you already have an insurance plan, check with insurance providers to provide you with the requisite help or those within your region. You may incur a small co-pay.
In scenarios where your insurance plan does not cater for therapy, seek to know the cases they cover. For example, your insurance policy may still have the term "social worker."
Training centers will provide you with some help. These centers are normally located in institutions that prepare students to become counseling or clinical psychologists. Graduate students in these institutions are supervised and trained by qualified psychologists who normally have a long experience practicing with particular mental health conditions.
Public mental health centers offer low-cost or free therapy services and options catered for by Medicaid insurance. You can look up a center near you by running a Google search.
Self-help books are vital resources that contain useful psychotherapy hints and guidelines. Check with your therapist to recommend a book for your particular problem. Self-help materials would help you refocus your options on quality and useful resources that will help you.
Most support groups are completely free and very affordable than what is obtainable in individual therapy. Peers or mental health professionals may be responsible for their management. Consult your therapist to know if they provide better-priced sessions.
Support groups should be an organized framework where calm individual manages. Else, it may turn into a session filled with complaints. One good thing about this system is that you'll meet other individuals with the same or similar problems that you are facing, and this creates “a validating haven.”
You can know more about useful support groups in your region by checking out Depression and Bipolar Alliance and NAMI. You may also want to look out for Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Cash is indeed more beneficial than passing through the stress of a bunch of insurance paperwork. Hence, certain therapists may offer discounted rates. For example, a therapist may charge to hundred dollars an hour while another may charge fifty dollars an hour.
There are instances where "I can’t afford it is just a matter of priorities. Think about if you can re-strategize your financial plan to include therapy. Several clients may not afford quality psychotherapy services just because they truly cannot afford them.
Aside from self-help books, other self-help materials such as podcasts and videos from notable organizations would greatly help. These resources are very inspiring and contain good advice for the most part. When looking for podcasts on these platforms, you can input terms like personal growth or therapy in the search bar.
If you belong to a religious congregation, talk to your preacher, pastor, or priest about your need and see if your church offers therapy services or is willing to help pay for therapy.
You may also want to consider body therapy, like massage and chiropractic. Academic institutions normally offer these services as a token to their students.
Nothing is greater than your mental and physical health. If groups and self-help materials are not as effective, a body therapy procedure might be the solution to your problems.
How much is an online therapist?
The cost of an online therapist is dependent on several factors, such as experience level and location. Different providers have different payment plans and costs, and you many of these prices in the online therapy sites you visit.
Some providers may not charge like a conventional flat rate clinical center, but they may charge per minute. This cost can be anything from $1.75/minute to $4.99/minute.
Some online therapy platforms charge monthly or weekly and require users to subscribe for membership packages before using their services. Their prices cost anything from $140 - $260 and include an unrestricted messaging feature between your therapist and you.
When you become a member of these platforms, you can enjoy access to the provider’s list of qualified mental health specialists. It will now be within your power to pick which provide you feel can handle your unique needs and relish the different features that come with the platform.
It almost costs the same amount to enjoy weekly admittance to your online therapy platform as what you'll pay to have a face-to-face meeting with a therapist for a month. Don’t forget to investigate whether your insurance provider could cover the costs of having an online chat with your therapist. After exploring what you need, you may notice that certain online therapy programs may be a better option cost-wise than opting for a top-notch mental health service.
Can I text a therapist for free?
Yes, you can text your therapist for free. If he/she offers free online therapy services, it is almost always likely that you can text them for free. But, some providers would require you to pay a token to get their therapists to respond to your queries via text. Also, ask your face-to-face therapist if you can text him/her. You will be surprised to see that they'll be more than willing to interact with you over a text message. For therapists who truly care about their client's progress, they'll not have a problem with it. But if it against their terms of service, it may not be possible.