Discover the Benefits of Online Therapy
The modern world lives online. Socializing. Shopping. Dating. The internet offers accessibility, affordability, and convenience, yet research shows that human beings are suffering from stress and anxiety more than ever. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults. It only makes sense that people are now turning to the internet for online therapy.
What is Online Therapy?
E-counseling, web therapy, telepsychology, distance therapy, and mobile mental health are terms often used interchangeably with online therapy. Whatever the moniker, online therapy simply refers to therapy via telecommunication. An array of mediums such as video chats, phone conferencing, texting, email, and online messaging provide a digital avenue for therapists to deliver advice and support to their clients. The field is relatively young, yet research studies have found digital interventions to be effective and reliable when administered by a qualified professional. While it may not be suitable for everyone, many patients are reporting positive results when utilizing online therapy for anxiety, depression, stress, weight loss, and smoking cessation.
Online Therapy: The Benefits and Advantages
When deciding if online therapy is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. The following are some advantages and benefits to consider when determining if a web-based therapy option is for you.
Cost- It’s no secret that traditional therapy can be expensive. The price of an average in-person session can range from $50-200 an hour. So how much does online therapy cost? Fortunately, it’s much more affordable depending on which medium you choose. If you want real-time interaction, some video chat therapy services are as economical as $49 a week. Text therapy is even more cost effective, coming in as low as $20 a week. There are also sites like 7 Cups that will connect you to caring listeners for free emotional support. With web-based counseling becoming more and more prevalent, many states require insurance companies to provide coverage just as they would traditional therapy sessions. Depending on your coverage, insurance may pay for some or all of your therapy costs.
Easily accessible- Online therapy sessions allow individuals the opportunity to access treatment from anywhere there is an internet connection. If you live in a remote area, have a physical limitation, or don’t have transportation, online therapy is an excellent alternative to conventional psychotherapy settings. Since you may be working with an entire network of online therapists, it’s easy to make appoints that fit your schedule or to cancel if need be. Having both consistency and flexibility can help to eliminate stress before the session even starts.
Comfortable- An effective therapy session involves the client opening up and sharing, and many clients are able to do this more easily from the comfort of their own home. Most people automatically associate online counseling with a video chat service like Skype. However, with online therapy you’re able to choose the medium that suits you best. If the thought of talking face to face gives you anxiety, you may prefer to phone conference. If you’re someone that likes to plan out your responses ahead of time, a messaging service like Talkspace might be a good fit.
Time- Work. Family. Errands. Extracurricular engagements. For many of us, our stress and anxiety stem from an endless number of activities competing for our time. Whether you choose to have Skype therapy sessions from your living room or phone conferences during your evening commute, e-therapy will free up valuable time from your already chaotic schedule. Having extra time to focus on other natural remedies to alleviate your stressors may be just what you need. Exercise has been proven to improve both physical and mental health. An extra 45 minutes a day is plenty of time to get in a run or unwind with some yoga. Mindfulness meditation is another alternative that research has proven effective. Just ten to twenty minutes a day can produce therapeutic benefits. The most valuable use of those few extra minutes may be to simply get some extra sleep. Using herbal supplements like kava root and passion flower may help you relax so that you can hit the hay early. Natural stress-relieving formulas like the one in 1Hour Break contain organic ingredients such as kava root, lemon balm, passion flower, and lobelia herb. 90% of users surveyed experienced better, more restful sleep.
How Do I Find an Online Therapist?
Different therapists have different approaches and areas of focus, so it's important to find the right person for you. When searching for an online therapy provider it’s critical to choose someone qualified and credentialed. Whether counseling in-person or online, psychologists in the U.S. are required to be formally trained and licensed to practice psychotherapy. There are several ways to ensure you find the best online therapist for you. If your insurance company covers therapy, they can refer you to someone in your network. Online therapy databases like GoodTherapy and PsychCentral make it easy to search for a therapist by location, specialization, gender, and age group treated. With popular services like BetterHelp, you answer a few questions about yourself and they recommend a therapist from their network of licensed, professional, board-certified providers.
We all struggle with life’s challenges. Online therapy is a convenient, accessible, and economic way that to get treatment anywhere, anytime. Whatever difficulties you may be facing, there is a wealth of options online that offer effective solutions. You just have to find the one that’s right for you.
Photo by Stefan Stefancik