If someone mentioned therapy, the first thing that will pop in your mind is an office, a sofa, and a therapist with a note in his hand. Although this is how therapy is often portrayed in movies and cartoons, it is near to the truth. It is how most face-to-face therapy sessions look like in real life. There are plenty of therapists that use this traditional therapeutic practice. On the other hand, with the technology available these days, therapy is now online.
Online therapy has been growing in popularity for the last few years. In fact, it became a necessity and an essential service because of the Covid-19 pandemic, where it is better to stay home. Online therapy was able to provide help and support to those who need it during these challenging times as they sit comfortably in their homes.
Like anything new, many people are skeptical and unsure about it, while others are more accepting, but they just do not know how to get it. Therefore, we compiled some of the frequently asked questions regarding this topic.
Online Therapy, is it as Effective as Regular Therapy?
It is undoubtedly the number one question on everyone’s mind. According to several studies, online therapy is genuinely as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. A study in 2018 that the Journal of Anxiety Disorders published in 2018 determined that CBT is as acceptable, practical, and effective as face-to-face therapy when it comes to treating panic disorders, generalized anxiety, major depression, and social anxiety. In 2014, two studies vouched for the effectiveness of online therapy and the usage of CBT in dealing with mental health problems. They were issued by Behavior Research and Therapy and The Journal of Affective Disorders
Are there any Disadvantages?
While online therapy has plenty of pros, it has one disadvantage. Many people feel that it is impersonal when compared to traditional office-based therapy. They also think that the therapist will not be able to read their body language as effectively, even if the sessions are via video call.
What are the Advantages and Benefits?
There are countless potential benefits when it comes to online therapy, which certainly outweighs the disadvantages. For instance, plenty of people choose online therapy because of its convenience and how it saves time. It is easy to schedule appointments, whether during the morning, the evening, or even during the weekend. The therapists are also easily reachable as they are only a text away.
Online therapy also saves a lot of time, as you will not need to drive or get a cab to the office. If you have an appointment, you will quickly open the app and access the video call.
Is Online Therapy for Everyone?
Online therapy platforms always make it clear on the website about who will be a good candidate for online therapy. For example, online therapy is not suitable for individuals who are having suicidal thoughts or suffering from psychosis.
Are Online Therapists Licensed?
Any well-repeated site will only hire licensed professional therapists. Also, reputable websites will always highlight the credentials and licenses that their therapists have and their field of expertise. So, if you choose the website carefully, you can rest assured that all its therapists are licensed professionals.
Can I Get Prescribed Medications Online?
There is no definitive answer online, as it depends on each platform. Some websites can prescribe medications like anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants, which you can get at your pharmacy.
How to Choose an Online Therapy Platform or App?
Choosing a platform can be tricky, as there are plenty of them online, and they do not offer the same quality and professionalism. Therefore, it is essential to pick it carefully to get the therapy and support you need. For example, you should check the credentials of the therapists as well as the communication methods. For instance, some platforms offer live sessions and text, while others only support text messaging.
Another critical point is the price and the offered package. You should see if you prefer an ongoing subscription with unlimited messaging, or would you want to have live appointments that you can schedule when needed. You should check reviews of the different platforms as well, as they will provide you with insight on all the aspects of different platforms.
Does Insurance cover Online Therapy? How to Pay for it?
It depends on each individual insurance company, as some cover the cost of therapy online and others do not. Also, they sometimes have a contract with specific platforms and therapists. On the other hand, most online therapy platforms are not covered by insurance. Therefore, you can pay using credit cards and some e-wallets.
How Can I Communicate with my Therapist and How Often?
It differs from one platform to the next, but there are multiple communication methods. They include audio messaging, video messaging, text messaging, as well as video calls and phone calls. The regularity of contact depends on your needs and the platform you picked. Most offer unlimited messaging and one video call per week. The impressive thing about online therapy is that you can do all of that through your phone with a simple app.
Which Mental Health Problems can be Treated Online?
You can get help with many mental health problems online, such as stress-related problems, panic disorders, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. On the other hand, some types of therapy cannot be carried out online. These types of treatment include sand tray therapy, EMDR, and play therapy.
Is there Online Therapy Platforms that are Specific for Couples, Teens, and the LGBTQ Community?
The answer is a clear, yes. There is an online therapy platform for everyone. For example, PrideCounseling is for LGBTQ community members, Regain for couples, and TeenCounseling for teens and children.
Can I Pick the Therapist I Want?
It depends on the platform, as some will give you options to choose from after reading their bios. Other sites will find the best match for you according to a brief questionnaire about your preference and needs. Either way, you will have the option to change your therapist for any reason at any time, with ease.
Will I Always have the Same Online Therapist?
Most, if not all, online therapy platforms will let you communicate with the same online therapist so that you can build a bond and get better help.
How Long Does Online Therapy Last?
It all depends on your treatment progress and needs. For instance, some people would only need a few messages and a video session, while others might need online therapy to be a long-term resource.
Is Online Therapy Confidential and Secure?