An increasing number of people are flocking to online therapy these days and it’s easy to understand why. Much like traditional therapy at a counselor’s office, online therapy is effective at helping people with a variety of mental and emotional issues. Online therapy is also typically more convenient, more private, easier to access, and more affordable than in-person therapy. These core benefits as well as the global impact of covid-19 have accelerated the adoption of online therapy and other digital services in the mental health industry.
Although there are several benefits associated with using online counseling services, it is important to remember that there are also drawbacks to this form of treatment. Consequently, online therapy is not for everyone. If you are thinking about registering for online counseling services, there are a few things you can do to potentially improve your experience. Five helpful suggestions are outlined below:
1. Check if you are comfortable with the platform
Online therapy platforms usually offer a range of tools or features that help people to access the care they need. Some of these features include video calls, audio calls, email, webinars, and text messaging. While these tools may be easy to use for most young people, some older adults may find this type of technology to be complex and confusing. The fact that platforms may also limit the use of some tools to specific circumstances may add to the confusion.
Even if you are comfortable with the technology, you also need to consider how you feel about receiving treatment over the phone or internet. While some people may open up in a therapist’s office, they may not be as comfortable when talking to a counselor on a computer screen. How you feel about the therapeutic process plays a major role in whether or not your treatment will be successful. The more comfortable you are, the better the communication between you and your therapist will be.
2. Find out if treatment options are available for your condition
Many online therapy platforms provide counseling services for depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. However, online therapy may not be suitable for people with severe or chronic conditions. For example, individuals with chronic depression may need treatment that includes psychotherapy as well as antidepressant medication. A person who is at risk of committing suicide may need emergency care that online platforms typically do not offer.
Online therapy may also be ineffective when treating people with impaired cognitive function or limited communication skills. This is because individuals with these issues may not be able to understand or apply any recommendations that are given. Cognitive concerns such as schizophrenia and dementia can disrupt the memory and learning centers in the brain. People with these and other related conditions may require 24 hour care depending on the severity of their symptoms.
3. Check if your online therapist is licensed
Before you begin online therapy it is recommended that you confirm that your therapist is licensed to offer mental health services. A valid license is proof that your therapist is trained and has the clinical experience to help you with your issue. Many therapists display their license in their office, but it may not be possible for you to view your therapist’s license during an online counseling session. However, you may ask your therapist for his license number so that you can check his credentials using a trusted license lookup tool on the internet.
4. Ask About Your Privacy
Many people are familiar with the concept of client confidentiality. Client confidentiality means that a mental health professional is required to protect his client’s privacy by not sharing the contents of therapy with anyone else. Whether counseling services are offered in-person or on the internet, therapists are required to maintain client confidentiality. Online therapy also has the added benefit of being delivered in the privacy of your home.
No one will ever see you walking into a therapist’s office for online therapy. However, you may be concerned that your privacy may be violated if the online platform you use experiences a security breach. Talk to the website staff and ask them about the security features that are in place to protect your privacy. You can also ask if the platform has ever been hacked in the past.
5. Confirm How You Will Make Payment
Online therapy platforms offer different packages and different rates for their services. Some websites offer a free trial for a fixed period of time, while others offer sliding scale fees for people with financial limitations. Remember to check if health insurance is accepted by your preferred platform before you begin treatment. Currently, most online therapy platforms do not accept health insurance.