Find Online Counseling ServicesAre you in need of counseling services but reluctant to visit a counselor in person? Take advantage of online counseling options.
You have probably heard a lot about telepsychology lately. Although that term itself may not sound familiar to you. Telepsychology is more commonly known as online counseling or online therapy. Therapy, like many other fiends and services, has changed dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many industries were forced temporarily to only conduct business online. Some of those businesses continue to experience massive and potentially permanent online shifts. One such industry is counseling. Although several counselors still offer in-person sessions, the popularity of online counseling shows no signs of lessening, even as more citizens receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
If you are currently seeking counseling, the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only reason to consider online therapy. You may also prefer online counseling because it offers a degree of comfort and anonymity not found when you walk into a therapists office. There are many other advantages of online counseling as well, provided you select the right online counseling service to suit your needs.
What is Online Counseling?
As the name suggests, online counseling is any counseling that is performed while using modern technology to converse. A popular type of online counseling is video therapy. Video conferencing allows the mental health professional and the patient to see and hear each other. It is particularly useful in long-term counseling situations, since the counselor can make not of changes in the patient's appearance or demeanor over time. However, online counseling is also possible via methods such as:
Cellphone Text Messaging
Communicating Via App or Platform-Based Messaging Services
What to Expect From An Online Therapy Session
Online therapy comes in two basic forms. Those are delayed messaging, such as exchanging emails, and real-time therapy sessions. If you intend to sign up for real-time therapy session, you can oft for a one-on-one session. Alternatively, you can sign up for group counseling. In either case, you must make sure you are online at the designated time for the therapy session. General requirements for online therapy include:
Fully Charged or Plugged in Device
Reliable Internet Connection
Quiet Room or Area
Headphones and Microphone
Elimination of Distractions (Turn Off Cellphone Alerts, Make Sure Pets Are In Another Room Etc.)
Potential Benefits of Online Counseling
Online counseling is excellent for patients seeking to avoid the current Corona Virus-related health concerns associated with public places, but it also has other uses. For instance, online counseling ensures immediate help is available to patients at any time. Even those living in rural locations need only turn on a computer or cellphone for assistance. Online counseling options also give all patients access to therapists working in all fields and with multiple levels of credentials. Formerly, patients were limited to visiting therapists within driving distance from their homes. Those therapists may not necessarily have had the right training or specialized in the necessary fields.
Online counseling is also the most potentially beneficial for certain types of patients. For example, The Journal of Psychological Disorders states online counseling is often beneficial for patients suffering from major depression. Patients with social anxiety also tend to respond well to online therapy. However, experts caution that each patient responds differently to therapy. In-person counseling does not work for all patients, and the same is true for patients seeking online counseling.
Popular Online Counseling Platforms
There are many online platforms devoted to providing online counseling services. Each one has different features and specializations. It is important to examine all of those features before choosing a therapy option. Here is a summary of some of the top choices:
BetterHelp provides weekly ongoing counseling sessions for individuals and couples. Teen counseling services are also available. Prices range from $40 to $70 per week. Bills are sent on a monthly basis.
Talkspace is consistently rated as the top online counseling platform. Like BetterHelp, it offers teen, adult, and couples therapy options. It also features psychiatric medication management assistance services. Users are billed a monthly rate for services, which ranges from $65 to $99 based on the service packages chosen.
Online-Therapy.com is a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) service. Its experts assist patients by training them to modify how they behave for the purpose of improving their moods and avoiding habits they are trying to break, such as consuming alcohol or smoking. Therapy packages are billed weekly at a rate of $32 to $64 per week.
MDLive is an all-in-one medical service offering online access to medical doctors, as well as psychiatric services. Therapists provided via MDLive are all certified psychiatrists. Therefore, the cost for service is higher. An initial session currently costs $284. The rate for a second session and subsequent sessions is $108 per session.
7 Cups is unique because it offers free and paid services. Free support is provided by volunteers who are always available to offer emotional guidance. However, they are not certified professionals. Therapy sessions with certified professionals on 7 Cups are provided for a $150 monthly fee. Therapy is offered in a delayed response messaging format.
Credentials Matter in the Field of Online Therapy
It is important to understand the difference between therapy and emotional support. A person can go online and claim he or she is a therapist, but he or she may not hold any type of therapy license or certificate. Platforms like MDLive monitor such credentials closely. However, you must also ask questions when signing up for therapy. Check the credentials of the platform you are using and request the credentials of the specific therapist to whom you are assigned to make sure you are receiving legitimate assistance from a mental health professional.
Additional Tips About Online Therapy
To make the most of online therapy, you must invest dedicated time into the service. One session is not enough to determine if online therapy works for you. Also, take advantage of the nature of online counseling to connect fully with your therapist in unique ways. Check in daily, discuss topics that are concerning you. You even even use images, news articles, or other media to facilitate discussions and help you work through the issues for which you are seeking help.