Finding Support from the Comfort of Your Home
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how we work and interact for good, with the internet playing a huge role in keeping us connected.
One of the most valuable facets of online communication was allowing people to remain connected with their therapists or allowing those that needed access to mental health services to find help and support during a stressful time for everyone involved.
In the months since the pandemic eased sufficiently to allow people to return to face-to-face communication, the convenience provided by online therapy has seen a massive rise in the number of people using online mental health services, allowing a greater number of individuals more straightforward access to talking therapies.
This article examines some of the benefits of online therapy, the different services available online and how you can access online therapy providers in your area.
What is Online Therapy?
Online therapy refers to counseling services or psychotherapy over the internet. Unlike face-to-face therapy, online therapy increases your ability to access licensed counselors and therapists via any connected device, such as your laptop, iPad or smartphone.
Benefits of Using Online Therapy
There are several benefits to be gained from using online therapy. These include:
Online Treatment is Equally Effective as In-person
Studies have shown that it can be equally effective in treating many mental health conditions as face-to-face therapy (1)
For example, one review found that online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) was as effective in treating a range of conditions, including mild depression (2), panic disorder and several anxiety disorders (3), while another found online therapy to be effective in helping reduce addictive behaviors, such as problem gambling. (4)
More Accessible Services
Online therapy increases access for more people to gain the help they need. For example, people in isolated rural areas can find a therapist without needing anything more than a solid internet connection, rather than having to travel miles to the nearest town.
In addition, people with physical disabilities that find it challenging to get around can access therapists over the internet, overcoming one of the biggest hurdles that stop people with mobility issues from gaining the help they need.
Finally, it allows individuals that favor face-to-face sessions to have sessions while away from home, whether for business or pleasure, ensuring vital continuity of treatment.
One of the most significant benefits is that it can be more affordable due to therapists having fewer overheads to cover, such as the rental of treatment space. Therefore, treatment can be made cheaper for patients.
In addition, many US states require insurance providers to cover online therapy the same way as traditional therapy, removing the obstacle of additional costs from accessing help for many.
Finally, online therapy provides greater convenience for those with family and work commitments during the day. Therapists working online can offer greater flexibility for patients, including evening or early morning sessions.
Types of Online Therapy
Many different types of online treatments have proven effective in the treatment of mental health conditions. The most common types of online therapies include:
Substance Abuse Counseling
Online substance abuse counseling is becoming a valuable and successful way of treating and supporting people living with addiction and aiding their long-term recovery from the comfort of their own homes.
This enables individuals to access support at short notice when required, as well as removing the sometimes intimidating obstacle of having to visit a clinic.
CBT is one of the most common types of mental health treatment, usually used to treat moderate depression and anxiety disorders.
CBT therapy addresses the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, challenges distorted beliefs and their negative impact on someone’s well-being and recognizes positive behavioral patterns for what they are.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a more specific version of CBT focusing on helping patients build skills to regulate emotions, build resilience to stress and improve interpersonal relationships.
It is usually used to treat more severe and ingrained mental health problems, such as suicidal thoughts, self-harm Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and eating disorders.
Family / Couples Therapy
Online therapy isn’t just something that benefits individuals; it can help families and couples undergoing interpersonal relationship challenges.
Family and couples therapy focuses on the relationship dynamics between individual family members. It helps them improve communication skills and establish routines that benefit everyone, leading to a more peaceful home life.
How to Access Online Therapy
There are several routes to find online therapists wherever you’re based. Below are some of the best options for accessing affordable, effective online therapy to set you on the road to better mental health.
- Talk Space.
- Better Help.
- 7 Cups.
- Doctor on Demand.
- Therapy Aid Coalition.
- Center for Interactive Mental Health Solutions.
If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis, contact the Crisis Text Hotline by texting HOME at 741741. This will provide access to a secure platform where a live trained mental health professional will be available to talk or via WhatsApp to provide immediate support.