Hello, I am Becky Lindquiste, certified clinical psychologist and mental health writer, here to help you shed your inhibitions about virtual support for mental health issues.
Skilled in clinical assessments and therapy, I can tell you how beneficial online therapy services can be for those who are seeking help urgently.
With the increase in the number of people opting for therapy sessions online, there are about 20 upcoming mental health digital platforms in the USA in 2024.
This shows that users are becoming more aware of their mental health needs, and online therapy gives them access to qualified therapists at any time they feel the need to talk to someone.
This is not to undermine in-person therapy sessions in any way.
After all, it is great to talk to someone in person. However, like any other doctor, it takes time to get an appointment with a therapist, counselor, or certified psychiatrist.
But who do you approach? How do you know who is right for you? Will they understand your concerns and fears regarding certain aspects of your cultural background or social contexts?
Moreover, you may not know who to approach because of the social stigma that is still prevalent in certain communities regarding addressing mental health issues.
Hence, now is a good time as any to discuss the benefits of online therapy services so that at any time you may want to unburden yourself, you can receive virtual support.
Benefits of Online Therapy Services: Reasons You Should Consider Them
There are several benefits of availing online therapy. You may know about some of them, but here is a comprehensive overview of why they can be very beneficial.
Ease of Communication
The first benefit is the ease of communication. When you feel depressed or anxious, you feel like talking to someone immediately.
It is a low point in your life, and at that point, you do not have the energy to make appointments and go through the formalities of seeing a therapist.
You need someone to talk to as soon as possible, and you can do that with virtual support from the comforts of your home.
You can sign up if you have not already and speak to your therapist any time through phone calls, video messages, or text messages, whichever format the platform has provisions for.
Wide Range of Activities
Online therapy platforms are not just limited to speaking with a therapist. Many people feel they will miss out on certain aspects of the therapy session if they do not see their counselor in person.
But modern therapy platforms also offer a wide range of activities that you can use for the betterment of your mental health.
You have exercises like journaling and other activities related to Behavioral-Cognitive Therapy, which your therapist will guide you through depending on the nature of your issue.
You can track your progress, and that can be very motivating to keep going through the exercises.
Help at Fingertips
When you are going through a particularly difficult situation at work or have to deal with something in the family that leaves you upset, you do not have the time or patience to wait for your next appointment.
Online therapy allows you to connect to your therapist anytime, through any device like smartphones, computers, or tablets. You can just log in through the app or the website and connect to your therapist or peer group.
This is beneficial when you are going through a panic attack or an episode of acute depression that leaves you immobilized, and you want help immediately.
Location Does Not Matter
When it comes to virtual support, your location does not matter. This is perhaps one of the most significant advantages of using online therapy because those who live far away from big towns or have to travel long distances for work can also avail treatment when they want.
The apps and websites are designed in such a way that they will connect you to a licensed therapist as close as possible to you.
But even if there is no one in your vicinity, you can still connect with someone from another state, depending on your needs and their qualifications.
Those who live in remote areas often have difficulty finding therapists, but this barrier does not exist in virtual therapy. All you need is an internet connection.
Wide Range of Issues Addressed
Virtual support apps and websites also give you access to mental health professionals who are experts in helping with a wide range of mental health issues.
Depression, anxiety, loneliness, post-traumatic stress disorder – especially in veterans, insomnia, extreme mood swings, and eating disorders are some of the issues with which you can get help here.
In addition, your therapists can also detect more severe issues like schizophrenia or dementia and then advise you to get help accordingly. Those who are going through acute bouts of depression that may even lead to suicide need someone to talk to immediately, even if it is in the dead of night, and online therapy gives you that help.
Cultural, Social, and Gender Needs
Modern online therapy platforms are designed to cater to as many people as possible, breaking barriers in terms of gender biases or cultural differences. People from specific communities of color and cultural backgrounds have to deal with certain issues that might be utterly alien to some communities at large.
People from LGBTQ+ communities or people with physical disabilities go through different kinds of stress and face different issues in their lives compared to average people.
The online apps try to take these factors into account, and they are designed to find the best matches with therapists who specialize in these aspects so that the users get the best possible help and advice.
In some cases, online therapy can be more affordable than in-person therapy. You do not have to account for the time, money, and energy of driving to the therapist’s clinic. There are various modes of payment, and you can either choose therapy sessions in bulk or pay for every session as you go.
Moreover, many online therapy websites now also accept insurance, so that makes it even easier.
You can compare the rates of various websites and choose accordingly. Moreover, almost all websites and apps offer some free services, so you can get help even if you are on a budget and cannot pay at a given time.
Mental health services should be accessible to all, and many platforms have been designed accordingly. You can cancel your subscription anytime as well.
There is still a lot of stigma around getting help for one’s mental health issues, and this is why many people still feel apprehensive about visiting a therapist’s clinic for fear of being seen by someone.
However, there is no such problem when you use an app or website from the privacy of your home and device. Moreover, the apps are also very strict about their privacy policies and they do not share any information of any user with any third-party apps or anybody else except the authorities, as and when the need arises.
But you can be assured that your information and conversation or messages with your therapist will remain strictly confidential.
Being a Part of a Community
Your in-person therapy sessions with a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist are mostly one-on-one. While they are great, you may still feel alone at times unless you join a support group.
Online therapy sessions allow you to be a part of a community, and you can chat in forums and share stories that help you deal better with loneliness and anxiety. You know you are not alone in your struggle. There are others to motivate you, and you can motivate others as well.
Unique perspectives from others and their success stories can inspire you to move forward in your mental health journey. In addition, you can also avail peer support and coaches, who are highly trained by the platform to provide help, and advice or just lend a listening ear without judgments when you feel like talking to someone.
Online therapy can be very flexible and convenient, especially if you have a busy schedule. But one of the biggest advantages is that you can change therapists quickly if you do not resonate with the one first assigned by the app or someone you may have chosen initially.
In the case of in-person therapy, you will have to go through the entire process of doing your research and getting an appointment with a new therapist all over again.
But in the case of online therapy, all the information about the other available certified therapists is on the website or app, and you just have to make the switch. And you can do so till you find someone who gets you.
More Control Over the Process
Your journey to mental health should not be rushed. With online therapy, you have more control over the process. You can get appointments when you feel comfortable and complete the activities and exercises at your own pace.
You do not feel compelled to turn up for an appointment just because you have paid for it, even if you do not feel like opening up. Virtual therapy platforms give you more flexibility to schedule and cancel appointments with your therapists.
You can pay for the next appointment or next month’s subscription according to your needs. This flexibility gives you more freedom, and that can be very liberating, propelling you to carry on with the therapy.
Final Thoughts: How Effective is Online Therapy Service?
With all the benefits listed above, it can be said that online therapy services are very beneficial.
That does not mean there are no glitches at all. Maybe you will have trouble logging in some days, or your therapist may be late responding because they have something going on in their lives.
However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
If you are struggling with your mental health issues, you must consider them. Explore Brightside and other similar platforms and sign up based on your needs. A world of positivity is waiting for you.
Meta Description: Are you considering online mental health services, but you are not sure about them? Read on to find out about the benefits of virtual support.
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