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Is Online Therapy Effective?

Goda Brzozauskaite
  • Jan 03, 2022
  • 5 min read
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Virtual communication has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, people looking for mental health advice often ask a question, “Is online therapy effective?” If you are struggling with mental health issues and are searching for help or want to learn how effective online counseling can be, this post is for you.

Online therapy is a new trend that allows you to seek mental health support from the comfort of your home. The best part is that you can instantly access it when you need it.

So let discuss what online therapy is and how effective it can be.

What Is Online Therapy?

Online therapy is virtual counseling where a professional therapist and patient connect via the internet. Unlike in-person therapy sessions, online therapy allows the therapist and patient to communicate using computers, smartphones, or tablets. There are several ways to connect to your therapist: text therapy, live messaging sessions, and audio or video calls.  

According to the National Center for Health Research (NCHR), online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy for depression and anxiety, among others.

There is enough research that proves it. One study, for example, concluded that depressed people experience significant symptom reduction after 3 months of treatment online.

It also works on similar principles: the longer you attend therapy, the better the outcome. 

How Does Online Therapy Work?

First, you must research and find an online therapy service provider. Typically, they will ask you to fill in a questionnaire about your struggles, issues, and the outcomes you wish to achieve. The service provider will connect you to licensed therapists on the same day.

Your therapist will be available on standby whenever you need. You can contact your therapist via messages on a daily basis. You can also have scheduled phone or video sessions.

Benefits of Online Therapy

There are several benefits of online therapy, irrespective of which mode you choose. Here are the top 4 benefits that make talk therapy online an effective medium for mental health support.

It’s convenient

The best part about online counseling is that you can speak to your therapist whenever you want; all you need is an internet connection. It is convenient and saves you time and money by avoiding traveling to appointments. From bad weather to rush hour traffic, you can avoid various obstacles and connect with the counselor from wherever you are.

Online therapy is a great treatment for social anxiety. If you are uncomfortable opening up to someone in person, you can use text therapy. This way, you will feel less vulnerable when sharing your problems. It may also be the only option for people who have agoraphobia or people with disabilities and physical limitations.

Instant connection and communication

Meeting your therapist in person once a week for an hour is not always enough. By the time you start to open up, the time of the session is already over, and then you have to wait for another week. This brings in the challenge of recollecting your thoughts and remembering where you left the last time.

Wide selection of online therapists

With in-person therapy, you only have access to therapists or counselors available within your town or city. On top of that, these therapists may not even be qualified to offer specific help you need.

For instance, if you have PTSD, but the local therapists didn’t have a chance to work with it, you will either have to go to them anyway or travel to a different location to meet a therapist with expertise in PTSD.

In contrast, you get access to a wide selection of therapists and counselors with online therapy. An online therapy service provider can offer therapists specializing in any mental health issues.

Your privacy is the top priority

Mental health still has a stigma, and many people feel uncomfortable revealing their struggles to therapists. If you or a loved one has a mental illness, you can now receive online therapy anonymously.

Simply connect online with a therapist instead of worrying about someone seeing you sneaking in and out of the therapist’s clinic.

Things to Consider When Starting Online Therapy

Like any other activity in life, you must prepare and consider some factors before diving in. Let us explore these factors briefly.

Do your homework

There is a wide range of online therapy services available out there. However, you must compare the online platforms based on the therapies and services they offer. 

Finally, you should check if the online counseling service can connect you to the type of therapist you need. 

"Mental health still has a stigma, and many people feel uncomfortable revealing their struggles to therapists. If you or a loved one has a mental illness, you can now receive online therapy anonymously."

Are you ready to put in some effort?

Your online therapist will give you some homework, such as trying out various techniques or practicing what you learn during your online therapy sessions. Therefore, if you want online therapy to be effective, you must be ready to put in your time and effort. Some services offer interactive exercises inside an app that are easily accessible to practice on the go or wherever you are.  

Know your goals

Before you get in touch with an online therapist, it is best to sit down and write what issues you are facing and the goals you would like to achieve from your therapy sessions. This will help your counselor create a plan addressing your mental health issues. Moreover, you will be able to track your personal progress throughout this journey. Services like DoMental have an app with an automated tracking feature that will allow your therapist to update your progress.

Feel Better With Online Therapy

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Online therapy requires silence

While it is convenient for you to receive online therapy at home, it is easier said than done. You will have many distractions, such as someone knocking at the door, phone calls, people walking in and out of the rooms, children making noise, etc.

Will you be able to limit those distractions? You should choose therapy time when your home is the quietest. You can also ask your family members to keep the noise down and not disturb you during the therapy session. Another tip is to switch off your phone or at least put it on silent. 

If you cannot have a quiet or private room to talk, you can choose a text therapy session or just text your therapist anytime without scheduling a text session. 

It may not be suitable for every problem

Is online therapy effective for serious mental Issues? Well, to be honest, in-person therapy is a much more preferred option when it comes to certain severe mental illnesses. These include suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, intellectual disabilities, addictions, etc. An in-person counselor may be in a better position to offer you help under the circumstances above.

Online therapy may not be covered by insurance

While your health insurance may cover in-person mental health counseling expenses at your local therapist, it may not cover online therapy costs. Therefore, find out about their policy on online counseling.

How to Prepare for Online Therapy

Online therapy can do wonders for you. According to research, the severity of depression symptoms reduces significantly after engaging in online counseling. That said, here are some tips to help you prepare for online therapy.

  • Only select an online therapy provider that employs certified therapists and has therapists in the area you need help. 
  • Read online reviews and learn what existing patients have to say about the service you are considering using. If an online mental health support service offers a free introductory session, avail it to ask questions. 
  • Make sure that you feel comfortable with the therapist you are talking to.
  • Always be prepared to open up and be honest with the therapist. Remember, your therapist can only help you based on what you tell them. Let them know how you feel; the more transparent you are with your therapist, the better they will be able to help.

So Is Online Therapy Effective?

The answer is a “yes it is,” but it depends a lot on how well you choose a therapy provider and how you engage with your therapist.

Online therapy is an effective, comfortable, scientifically proven way to help you or a loved one suffering from mental health problems, as long as they are not severe and require in-person treatment.

At the same time, it has some benefits over in-person therapy, such as daily support and a wide selection of therapists. It can also offer an increased level of privacy and anonymity.

If you are eager and willing to try online therapy, DoMental can help you. You will be able to connect with a certified online therapist daily via unlimited audio and text messaging. Visit our website and start your online therapy today.

Feel Better With Online Therapy

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