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Online therapy is all the rage in the mental health world these days, but if you have never done it before, you may be confused. Don’t fret though, I can assure you, the question “what is online therapy like?” is a very common one being searched online. You are not the only one that is lost trying to figure it all out.
What You Need to Know About Online Therapy
Online therapy is just like regular therapy; only it can be done via video conferencing, email, online chat, text, or any other tech communication. Yes, online therapy has limitations that you won’t find with in-office treatments, but it also has excellent benefits.
There are many reasons why a person would need to do online therapy, including the convenience that it affords. Not to mention, many places like ReGain offer free therapy trials so you can experience the benefits of online therapy for yourself. Learn more here: https://www.regain.us/advice/therapist/free-online-therapy-could-save-your-relationship/.
What methods of communication are used?
We already talked about this, but it’s good to have a list of options that are out there for different communication options available for patients.
All of these communication options are available so that patients can use what is available to them, such as computers or phones.
How long has online counseling been around?
While online counseling doesn’t date back later than technology would allow, distance therapy has been around for at least a century, when Freud would communicate with his clients via letters. Self-help therapy groups popped up on the internet as far back as 1982, and they have only grown in popularity since then.
The last several years, though, have seen a massive boom in the growth of online counseling and mental health services, as well as mental health-based apps.
What happens in online counseling?
Online therapy works the same as it does in a “real-world” setting, but for a couple of differences. You work with a therapist or counselor who is qualified and licensed; you just work with them in a “virtual” setting.
Know, though, that this is real therapy. Many ads that you see for online counseling claim “fast results,” but actual treatment wouldn’t promise that, so don’t get sucked in.
What are the benefits?
There are some obvious benefits to online therapy and probably some that you haven’t yet thought of:
- Online therapy is convenient. It is easy to get an appointment to visit with your therapist. You rarely have a long waiting period.
- It’s easy to access. Nothing more than a click of a button is needed to schedule an appointment.
- Online therapy is great for those who don’t live in a big city. Living in a small town often can be great, but there is often a lack of access to mental health professionals. There are usually very few if any practitioners in town.
- Online counseling is more comfortable for those that are nervous about traditional treatment and opening up in front of a stranger.
- It’s affordable. Online therapy often comes with lower rates than “real-world” therapy. Sometimes this form of treatment is covered under insurance plans too.
Are there any downsides?
Before jumping into online therapy, it is important to remember to research your decision thoroughly. There are downsides to online treatment that you need to consider before committing to it.
- Online counseling is difficult to regulate. Because you are online and not in a physical location, your therapist may not be held to the same regulations as therapists in your are would typically be.
- Therapists working outside of the scope of their practice. Therapists should work under the scope of their actual practice, and with online therapy, you can’t guarantee that is happening. However, with a little bit of research, you should be able to find what your therapist’s scope of practice is.
- Confidentiality concerns. While most legitimate therapists will have confidentiality and privacy practices in place, it is harder to confirm and maintain. To ensure your privacy, be sure to research your therapy choice and their privacy practices thoroughly.
How Effective is Online Therapy?
Online counseling is not appropriate for everyone, and not everyone will like this form of treatment, but studies have shown that it is, in fact, just as effective as in-person therapy.
Before you decide to begin online therapy, you might consider speaking with your primary doctor to determine what the best step for you is.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.