Wondering if it's worth giving online counseling a try? Check out the main benefits you'll experience when you speak to a therapist online.
Keyword(s): speak to a therapist online
A growing number of our clients prefer to speak to a therapist online rather than in the traditional office setting. The trend is probably here to stay.
Online communications have risen with mobile technology, faster data connections, and the reality our phones are just extensions of ourselves.
Society should have seen it coming.
Distance therapy predates the Internet. It started with the practice of telephone counseling growing rapidly throughout the 1980s and '90s.
A 2002 study verified it as an effective form of therapy. That effectiveness has extended into the digital age.
We know there still may be some reservations. But for the curious, the timid, and the curiously timid, here are some reasons you should consider it. Let's begin!
Deciding to Speak to a Therapist Online Can Protect Anonymity
As Craig A. Childress, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, noted in a piece for the Journal of Medical Internet Research, anonymity can be a bit of a double-edged sword. This especially applies to the field of virtual therapy.
On one hand, therapists need to do due diligence in ensuring laws are followed with the treatment of minors.
On the other, the promise of anonymity can encourage individuals, who otherwise wouldn't seek help, to do so.
In our experience, anonymity and the guarantee of it can even push patients to seek more intensive in-patient care. This is particularly true with higher-risk mental health conditions.
We can guarantee on the counseling end every precaution is taken to protect client identities. However, to ensure anonymity, you should follow best practices for staying secure online.
That means using online/email accounts or messaging numbers not shared or viewable by other parties. It also means you should protect usernames, passwords, and other identifying characteristics.
Online Therapy Provides Quick, Convenient Access to a Qualified Professional
Other advantages of virtual therapy our clients at Sam Nabil Counseling Services prefer when they choose to speak to a therapist online are the convenience and accessibility factors.
Clients have told us they prefer online therapy. Why? For starters, it allows them to use technology during work hours. Whenever they need a sounding board, they've got one.
We have served a broad range of clients, including attorneys, CEOs, entrepreneurs, athletes, coaches, or any professional with intense schedules and time demands.
Beyond this, the virtual environment has allowed us to provide more services to rural areas. These portions of the country have a shortage of counseling expertise. They also can place stigmas on mental health counseling.
According to Dr. Elias Aboujaoude of Stanford University, this method of delivery can also reach clients with physical, emotional, and other limitations that would otherwise prevent their seeking help.
Talking Online with a Therapist Can Better Match Client to Professional
Individuals suffering from severe depression or mental disorders are not good candidates for online therapy.
These conditions often require medication and closer observation, something for which in-person sessions are better equipped.
However, deciding who is a good candidate to speak to a therapist online isn't always as obvious.
Preliminary assessment is an essential part of our services. If a client's situation doesn't fit with this particular modality, he or she will be referred to another area of practice.
But sometimes suitability can't be determined right away.
The benefit of virtual therapy is it gives us quicker access to patient history and data. This access enables us to make quicker determinations as to whether online is the way to go.
And if it isn't, it's easier to get a handle on the best path forward.
Speaking to a Therapist Online Is More Affordable
Hourly rates for in-office care can be expensive in more ways than one. For starters, counselors in these settings generally charge more.
How much more?
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) found in-office cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions can cost an average of $100 per hour.
Weekly visits at that rate would total more than $5,000 per year. While the Affordable Care Act has improved scope of coverage for mental health services, it doesn't apply in every situation.
While many of our services are reimbursable, we also use a sliding scale to help our clients afford the care they need.
The sliding scale method is based on the family's combined annual income (client's plus significant other's). As a result, the client's ability to pay becomes less of a hindrance to getting the support that he or she needs.
Virtual Therapy Empowers the Individual
When dealing with complex life situations or obstacles, we've noticed for some the in-office therapy approach can be intimidating.
(What! Revealing intimate details to a stranger is intimidating? Who knew?)
In all seriousness, clients may struggle opening up to a counselor until they get to know them. Likewise, they may feel fear and shame addressing their issues.
The decision to speak to a therapist online won't make all of that go away. However, it will allow the client to dip their toe into the proverbial waters.
As a result, they have time to formulate their thoughts. Expressing those thoughts carefully enables them to better control the release of information.
The ability to set tone and pace in an environment that doesn't feel so much under a spotlight is empowering. This especially rings true for introverts who tend to internalize at their own pace and gravitate towards quieter environments.
Regardless of personality type, though, virtual therapy is an effective tool for getting one comfortable with self-reflection and the process of therapy itself.
The Next Step
Privacy and anonymity often are guiding factors for clients who choose to reach out to us about online therapy. That said, they're not the only reasons.
Yes, online therapy helps protect one's identity. But clients also value it because it has helped them adjust to the idea of being in therapy.
It's directed them toward the support they need.
It's allowed quick and convenient access on their time. The access often comes at more affordable rates than traditional therapy.
Lastly, it has helped them feel in control of what once seemed like uncontrollable situations.
If you believe the decision to speak to a therapist online is the right one for you, contact one of our offices today for a preliminary assessment.