Online mental health counselling is fast becoming one of the most popular ways people seek help for their mental well being. After all, who wouldn’t love the idea of being able to pick their own time for therapy sessions, in addition to the privilege of attending it from their own safe and comfortable space.
What is online mental health counseling?
Online therapy is exactly what it sounds like. Individuals meet with their therapist online via video chat, a messaging app, or even through the phone, as compared to the traditional practice of meeting in-person in the therapist’s office.
Online mental health counseling has become increasingly popular with the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of online therapy increased by 50% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
This is not surprising as many prefer to meet their therapist from the safety of their homes to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Besides this, the increase is also attributed to the fact that the global pandemic has given rise to mental health issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, and substance use.
Online therapy platforms
Here are some of the best online therapy platforms that you can check out:
Therapists at Talkspace treat a number of conditions including anxiety, depression, addiction, relationship issues, eating disorders and PTSD. Private counselling, couples therapy and counseling for teens are offered at talkspace.
Betterhelp therapists specialize in areas such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, grief counseling, parenting, relationships and addiction. Individual, couples and family counseling is available.
Amwell offers 24/7 help, with doctors and therapists who offer care for both your psychological and physical well-being. Amwell therapists are able to help with issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Couples therapy is also available.
If you are looking for couples therapy to strengthen your marriage or your relationship, ReGain comes highly recommended. ReGain’s therapists are trained to deal with relationship issues.
Teen Counseling is specially set up for teens between the ages of 13 and 19. Video conferencing, live chats, private messaging and phone calls are used to reach out to teens who need help. Therapists and counselors here offer help for areas such as stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and bullying.
Benefits of online therapy
There are actually several benefits to online therapy, including:
- Accessibility – Because it’s online, all you need is an internet connection for this to work. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about looking for a therapist near you. You can get treatment even if your therapist lives in another country.
- Time efficiency and flexibility – You will be able to save time commuting to appointments and support groups. Additionally, many providers are available on the weekends as well as in the morning and at night. Thus, you do not have to take time off from work to make it for therapy appointments.
- Safety – Online counseling eliminates the need for you to leave your home and thus, keeps you safe from potential exposure to the coronavirus.
- Comfort – Because one can log on from anywhere they wish, most individuals choose to do so from the comfort of their home. It may also be much easier to open up when you feel safe and comfortable.
- Cost-effective – It is usually cheaper than attending in-person therapy. Additionally, some health insurance schemes also cover the cost.
Online therapy concerns
Online therapy comes with several concerns along with the many benefits it offers.
You may wonder if your online session is private.
Online therapists have to adhere to the same secrecy oath like traditional therapists do. However, with online therapy there is always a chance that someone will be able to hear you, look at your laptop or phone or may even recognize you during the video chat.
Thus, if you are concerned about privacy, it is better to speak to your therapist from your home or arrange an in person appointment with your therapist.
Another concern with online therapy is whether the therapy platform is legit and if the therapist is actually licensed. This is understandable as you most probably would not have met with your therapist in person. While most of the main online therapy platforms hire only experienced licensed therapists, you can check the therapist’s credentials before you begin your first session.
Does online counseling really work?
Yes, online counseling can be just as effective as traditional therapy for some conditions.
A 2014 study also found that teens who were treated for OCD over the phone improved just as much as patients who received in-person therapy.
However, online mental health counseling might not be suitable for certain conditions. For example, severe mental health issues such as suicidal thoughts or other conditions that might result in harm to oneself and/or others may require a more immediate and comprehensive treatment plan.
As more therapists turn to online platforms to carry on their practice during this pandemic, we can only expect that online mental health counseling will continue to be a large part of therapy.
Indeed, it is a great option for individuals who have to juggle multiple responsibilities and are strapped for time.
A Space Between offers therapists private rooms from which they can conduct both online mental health counseling as well as in-person therapy.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.