When traditional, in-office therapy does not feel like an option, online therapy is an alternative that might be right for you. Whether calling, texting, emailing, instant messaging, or video chatting with a therapist, you can reap the same benefits as traditional methods.
There is no office to travel to when everything is online, so you will save time on a nonexistent commute. This is especially helpful for those with physical limitations, or for those that live in rural or remote areas with no mental health treatment facilities nearby.
Scheduling is easier when you do not have to leave the comfort of your own home and your therapist is only one text or email away. You can set sessions for various times that are the most convenient for you, and chances of canceling because of weather or illness are reduced.
Online therapy is often less expensive than traditional therapy, even when not covered by insurance. With no commute, the cost of gas is eliminated. You will save on childcare expenses if you come home straight after work instead of going to an appointment.
3. Privacy and Anonymity.
Unless you choose to use video chat, a therapist will not know anything about your physical appearance unless you voluntarily disclose that information. Even insurance will not provide any personal identifiers besides your name and age, so that removes any concerns for bias or any chance of shame or embarrassment a client may unfortunately feel about themselves.
You will also never be seen by others in a waiting room or run into someone you know.
4. Freedom of Expression.
The familiar setting of your home might help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed, increasing the likelihood of vulnerability and sincerity.
If articulating your thoughts or feelings into words is difficult, you can send your therapist links to appropriate images, videos, music, and more to accurately express yourself.
Just like traditional therapy, online therapy has its drawbacks. Some insurance companies do not cover or reimburse online therapy, so check with your provider or be prepared to pay out of pocket.
A therapist’s credibility can be questioned, so ensure that the person you are communicating with is licensed, qualified, HIPAA-compliant, and most importantly, who they say they are.
Protect yourself from privacy leaks and hacks by using a personal computer or always logging off of a public computer. Use passwords for all devices and accounts and make new ones every now and then. Consider encrypting your messages and make sure your network is secure.
Your mental health is not something to take lightly. It is important to take care of yourself and to treat yourself with the respect that you deserve by only using the highest-rated and most trustworthy online therapy services such as Talkspace, Breakthrough, 7 Cups, Presto Experts, BetterHelp, Teen Counseling, and Ask The Internet Therapist.
If online therapy is not for you, resuming or beginning traditional therapy is a great method of mental health treatment. However you choose to seek help, I wish you luck on your journey.