Is Online Therapy for You?

The psychologist looked me in the eye. I had asked if we could do therapy online. He said, “Therapy is face-to-face.”

Think about all the misunderstandings that social media and texting have brought us. Why? Communication is as dependent on body language, tone of voice, and facial expression as it is on words.  Understanding and being understood are best-accomplished face-to-face. 

With that said, ask yourself a few questions before diving into online therapy.

Before seeking online therapy, ask:

What do I need? Hospitalization, addictions detox and rehabilitation, and long-term residential care are incomparable to online therapy. It is like trying to match bullfrogs to bulls.  If you are in crisis, urgent safety issues must be addressed in the Emergency Room at your local hospital.

What are my goals?  Goals may run the gamut from overcoming depression or phobias to gaining social or time management skills. You can ask an online therapist if they are capable of helping you to achieve your specific goals, or even request help discovering goals.  

What type of connection do I prefer? Depending on the online therapy service, there are video conferencing, live chat, phone calls, e-mail, texting, and messaging including audio messaging available. Read therapists’ profiles carefully, making certain they offer your preferences. 

If you like the convenience of texting and other written exchanges with your therapist, how may these 4 questions guide you?

  • Am I often easily offended by what I read? (reading between-the-lines)
  • Will I trust someone I cannot see?
  • Are my writing/keyboard skills such that I can get a point across with little effort?
  • Will my reading comprehension skills help or possibly interfere with the process?

What is my budget?  Have in mind what you can reasonably afford. You are paying the therapist and also contracting with the company that supports them. Online therapy prices are affected by accreditation, specialty, and the contract you sign. It is generally less expensive than traditional therapy settings.

What your insurance will cover depends on your policy and state insurance parity laws. Some online therapy is offered free to new clients for a trial period. 

Prices range from $40-$99 per week, usually paid monthly.  One online therapy group charges $1.50- $3.00 per minute. Another only meets with you for fifteen minutes per session and charges $150 per hour. Most others have sessions running 30-60 minutes.

A wide variety of services accompany these prices. Some offer 24-hour support while others limit correspondence. Live sessions may cost $30 – $50 more depending on the contract. Memberships, annual subscriptions, and group therapy sessions usually cost less per individual.

Many of these important differences and more are conveniently found in online therapy reviews. Two that I like for their details are:

Do I need anonymity? Online therapists have strict legal rules to follow and incorporate the best hacker-proof security measures. Although nothing on the internet is guaranteed 100% private, personally, I would not worry about that.

How to find an online therapist

To protect yourself from loosely trained or untrained counselors, researching any online therapist is important. The sad thing is, almost anyone can hang out a shingle online and claim to offer therapy, or at least counseling. How are you to know whom to trust? 

This is why I find the aforementioned research sites helpful. These guides include what to watch for, questions about HIPAA, when it is best to seek in-person mental healthcare and more. Faith-based therapists are also available.

As I have suggested for finding any therapist, feel free to interview more than one. Find out their basic approaches to therapy, glean some observations about their personalities, and ask if they are licensed. 

From http://www.consumersadvocate.org:

“This may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s important to make sure your mental health is in trained, competent hands. Just as self-diagnosis can be dangerous, so can trusting your healthcare to an inexperienced or unqualified therapist.”

If this seems too complicated, ask a supportive friend or family member to do the inquiring for you. 

Keep in mind, your safety and wellbeing are priceless. YOU are priceless. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

Nancy Virden Seminar, May-2016
Photo Joe Boyle Photography

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. 

*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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