Online therapy is proven to be as effective, if not more effective than face-to-face therapy, with important benefits that bring the experience into the modern era. For some, traditional therapy is their choice because they haven’t yet experienced the freedom that online therapy offers.
If you’re on the fence about whether online therapy is right for you, consider these positive benefits.
Communicate in a Way You Feel Comfortable
With traditional therapy, the experience has remained relatively unchanged since psychotherapy’s inception in the late 1800s. You arrive at a location, have a seat on the couch, and talk with your therapist about your challenges. Afterwards you depart and see each other a week or two later. Same time, same place.
Online therapy opens up new ways to communicate, and doesn’t require that you leave the comforts of your home or office. If you want to have a session with your therapist in your pajamas — while polishing off a pint of ice cream — that’s your choice!
The Different Ways to Communicate in Online Therapy
Text-based therapy gives you the freedom to have your therapeutic discussion throughout the day or week. No limits, and no waiting for weeks to address an issue, as you would when something came up between traditional sessions. Your therapist is always quick to respond, and text lets you cut straight to the point. For the socially anxious, it can be a benefit because you don’t face anxiety-inducing face-to-face conversations.
If audio is your preference, you can exchange asynchronous voice messages with your therapist. This is a great option if you need to vent in the moment or have a lot to get off your chest. Audio messaging provides the comfort of hearing a therapist’s voice without having to schedule a lengthy session.
For those who want an experience seeing a therapist’s reaction and having them react to your body language, full video chat sessions are an option. You can choose to have that quality face-to-face time, but do so completely on your terms. Speaking of your terms….
Your Therapy, Your Terms
In the past people have had to make plans around visiting a therapist weekly. This involves a commute to the therapist’s office, which, depending on your location can take up to an hour more each way. Often this occurs at a time that works best for the therapist’s schedule, not the client’s. For those with hectic, unbalanced lives, scheduling a traditional therapy session becomes prohibitive — especially for those who must arrange for childcare, and incur its associated financial and time costs. The end result is that those who could benefit most from therapy may never explore the option.
Why Online Therapy is a Convenient Solution
Online therapy allows you to set the time, location, and initial direction of the therapeutic relationship. It’s a freedom that puts you, the client seeking mental health solutions, first.
As was mentioned, making time to see a therapist can be the most difficult logistical challenge to solve. Online therapy makes the conversation continuous over the course of the week. If you’re having a particularly rough day, you’ll hear from your therapist shortly with some quick advice, clarifying questions, ways of reframing your thinking, or their recommended solution. If you enjoy keeping a routine, scheduling a weekly live video session with your therapist helps keep you on schedule.
There’s no “office” in online therapy — your session is wherever you have access to an internet connection. Talkspace users have therapy sessions in their cozy beds, at a sunny park, or anywhere they feel comfortable enough to communicate with their therapist. Even then, you don’t need to lug along a laptop. The Talkspace mobile app, available on iOS and Android, keeps a therapist by your side wherever your smartphone travels with you.
Online Therapy is Unique to Your Needs
Matching with the right therapist is critical to your therapy’s success. Your challenges as an individual extend beyond your mental health and into your lifestyle or career. Talkspace therapists are experienced in providing solutions across many mental health diagnoses and life scenarios.
With online therapy, you’re not limited to a small pool of therapists within a 20 mile radius. Local therapists also may not be equipped to manage your unique personal challenges, and if they are, finding a fit requires extensive research and consultation to make sure the relationship will be productive for you both.
How Online Therapy Matches You With the Right Therapist
To make sure you’re matched with the right therapist, online therapy providers like Talkspace enlist the assistance of Consultation Therapists (CT’s) to guide you through the initial phase of therapist matching. This ensures that the fit is made by a licensed professional, rather than hoping a local therapist, or other referral source with cursory knowledge of your needs, is able to make a good match.
If after several online therapy sessions you find your therapist relationship isn’t a fit, you can easily switch to a new therapist. If you use Talkspace, switching therapists is simple click of a button. Your new therapist will have record of your prior info, so you’re not starting from square one.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community seeking therapy, Talkspace is able to match you with a therapist who is part of your community and understands the dual stigma that surrounds it. The same goes for Veterans, who return from combat zones with PTSD, anxiety disorders, and major depression. Talkspace matches you with therapists who have years of experience providing solutions for PTSD and related diagnoses specifically.
If you’re a couple who’s been navigating complex relationship challenges, Talkspace offers couples therapy to put things back on track, and improve lasting communication.
It’s Cost Effective
In the past, insurance coverage for mental health has been limited or even non-existent. Many therapists don’t take insurance in any form. An additional challenge of finding care is remaining “in-network,” which places even greater limits on therapist availability and fit. Having to navigate through insurance bureaucracy is a huge barrier, and can trigger anxieties and doubts about whether to even seek treatment, given its various limitations.
Insurance isn’t required to seek mental health treatment with therapy providers like Talkspace. More importantly, in many cases online therapy costs less than the insurance co-pay for a weekly session of traditional therapy. In an era where many have to fight for basic coverage before seeking help, online therapy provides a way to get assistance without endless hurdles.
Even when the cost is comparable, traditional therapy sessions are a finite 45-60 minutes a session, once or twice a week. Any therapist contact outside of those sessions either isn’t possible, or will add additional costs to your treatment.
Online therapy gives you unlimited opportunities to message with your therapist, without incurring additional cost. This creates a positive dynamic where you are able to share more, and get the right help throughout the week, rather than making mental notes go over with your therapist at a date far removed from when you were experiencing the issue.
Online Therapy is Entirely Confidential
While Talkspace’s mission is to reduce stigma around seeking mental health solutions, we understand that stigmas still exist on many levels — especially locally. In some communities, being seen entering a therapist’s office will make you subject to gossip or judgement. This is another common, prohibitive reason some don’t seek therapy.
When you first begin online therapy, you have the option to use a nickname or pseudonym with your therapist. While not required, it’s an option that may make you feel more comfortable with the therapeutic process. Therapy is about opening up when the time is right, but you should never feel like you have to share more information than you’re comfortable providing.
From a technological standpoint, online therapy solutions offer a level of security and confidentiality on par with major world banks. Communications between clients and therapists are fully encrypted. Even in the event of a breach, attackers would simply see scrambled characters with no ability to trace the data back to the user.
I Think I’m Ready for Online Therapy, What’s Next?
If you feel you’re ready for online therapy, you’ll join the million plus who have already made the important decision to prioritize their mental health. Thankfully, the next steps to begin your therapy sessions are easy.
In Talkspace’s case, you’ll simply create an account and speak with one of our consultation therapists. They’ll gather some information to help create a match with one of our thousands of therapists. After a connection is made, your therapist will get to know you and learn how they can help with your unique mental health needs. If you feel it’s not a quite a fit, no problem. Talkspace will help you find another therapist that you trust and connect with on a deeper level.
We wish you the best as you begin your online therapy journey!