Health and Wellness,  Therapy

How to Start Online Therapy (Mini Series)

Time brings huge advancements and online therapy is one of those amazing things to have happened since… sliced bread. While it has its benefits, traditional therapy isn’t right for everyone. One of the major barriers to entry is that they don’t have the money. Traditional therapy can be extremely expensive even when you have insurance. Forget about it if you don’t have any insurance at all.  And while investment in your health is an expense that will pay dividends, sometimes it just is not possible. Sometimes, people are just unable to shoulder that expense.

A second issue is that people may just not have the time to do it. Between working, kids, chores, and friends, the last thing we want to do when we have time to ourselves is go out.  Maybe you’re actually completely booked and you just can’t fit in the time to do it.

A third issue is: what if you don’t click with your therapist? Now you have to start the whole process over of trying to figure out who to go to next. As if trying to find one wasn’t hard enough. Not to mention that on top of that you’re going to have to build your history and relationship with your therapist again.

Fortunately for everyone, myself included, online therapy has changed the landscape and now there are more opportunities to for people to get help. And some of the problems that make people reluctant to go are no longer a thing.

This is an article for my weekly mini-series. It’s meant to give you something shorter to look forward to and read while I work on the main article for the end of the week. 🙂 If any, a conclusion and your actionable steps will be available at the end of the page.


Author’s Note: This article was written in partnership with Better Help. As always, my partnership with any business does not and will not degrade the integrity of my content. Mental health is a delicate issue that needs to be handled in a manner that does not violate trust. It is also a topic that I hold near and dear to my heart. As such, all content provided here are resources that I truly believe in.

Better Help is a website that I have used and it has helped me immensely. What they offer for the price that they offer it at is nothing short of amazing. Better Help offers a 7-Day free trial when you sign up. So, you don’t have to believe me, you can try it out for yourself with the trial. 🙂


What is Online Therapy?

Online therapy is a method by which someone can attend a counseling session through an online medium. Places like Better Help and TalkSpace offer professional therapy sessions to those who have a smartphone, tablet, or any type of device that can access the internet.

How Does Online Therapy Address the Problems Above?

For one, online therapy is much, much more affordable. After the free 7-day trial at Better Help, they total cost of therapy is between $35-80 USD per week. This is paid monthly, though. This gave me unlimited access to the webinars and the different methods to talk to a therapist for a whole month.

Secondly, therapy happened on my own time and how I wanted. I didn’t need to make an appointment and then drag my feet to attend when I didn’t want to go. I talked when I wanted to talk and I didn’t when I didn’t need to. Personally, I like to have a conversation through typing because it gives me a chance to think through my very chaotic and fast-paced thoughts. Thankfully, they provide multiple ways to talk to a therapist. I was able to schedule a live chat, video, or phone call session. Or I could just casually use the private messenger to talk and they would respond back within an hour to 12 hours later. And for me, this ability to choose what was comfortable for me, lowered my anxiety a great deal and made the experience way more pleasant.

Finally, while I didn’t have an issue with my therapist and didn’t need to change, I did have the ability to do so and they let me know that up front. There was no feeling of being obligated to stay with someone, nor would it be a great task in order to initiate that process. I believe you would just ask your current counselor to do so.

Is Online Therapy Right For Me?

Checklist, Clinic, Daily, Daily Report, Diagnosis

Like we said in a previous article, online therapy is for those who don’t have severe and risky mental illnesses. They tend to be mild in severity and can mostly be dealt with without the introduction of medication or a strict or rigorous treatment plan. Online therapy is advised not to be used if you feel like hurting yourself or others. Or if you are in an emergency situation. Or you have a severe or risky mental illness that requires supervision from a professional

Different types of mental health conditions require different types of help. That being said, there are some conditions where talk therapy should not be used or used alone without the oversight of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Some examples of those conditions are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Clinical Depression
  • Panic Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Remember, therapists cannot prescribe medication, nor can they handle you in situations that require someone to be there physically. Those are better suited for psychologists (in some states) and psychiatrists. All online therapy is for non-emergent talk therapy.

If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency, you are better off using the resources in this section here.

What are Some Online Therapy Platforms?

Better Help.

Image result for Better Help Logo

You guys know about them because I talk about them and my experiences with them all the time. They are one of the best online therapy platforms out right now. They offer unlimited therapy for a month for about $35-80 per week. Rates differ by location, so I can’t give you an exact amount, unfortunately. BUT! After the first three months, your price per week drops to $35/week. Which is outstanding if I do say so myself!

As previously mentioned, you have access to scheduling live video, phone, and chat sessions. They give you one free 20 minute video or phone call for the month. After that, you have to pay an additional $29 per 20-minute session. They have webinars led by professionals on various topics throughout the month. You have unlimited time during the month to talk with a therapist. They typically reply within a couple hours to 24 hours later.  But you definitely receive a reply at least 24 hours later.

When you get started, you answer a fairly quick questionnaire of about 15-20 questions, before you’re prompted to sign up and then the rest of the process. I was matched with a counselor in minutes, but some people have noted up to 4 hours.

If you want more bang for your buck, Better Help is the way to go. 🙂

If you’d like to try them out, click here to get started.

TalkSpace

Image result for talkspace Logo

Talk Space is also a subscription online therapy service. The reviews of it online are generally phenomenal. I personally, don’t have any experience with TalkSpace, so I’m relying on others’ recounts of their experiences there. Much like Better Help you don’t sign a contract to access their services and you can cancel at any time. However, with TalkSpace, they offer services based on how much your pay. The lowest rate is $32/ week and it goes up to $99/week. I hear the sign-up process is a little tedious because it’s done with a real person and as such there may be some periods where you are waiting for a response to get on with it.

With the $32/week price, you get 2 check-ins form a therapist per day. Which means that at most you can speak to a therapist twice a day. From what I’ve researched, however, some people speak to their therapist more than that in one day. So, it may just be a guaranteed amount of time to speak to speak to someone and it may depend on who you get.

With the $49/week price, you get 2 therapist check-ins a day and one 20 minutes live video/phone call per month. And with the $99/week price, you get 2 therapist check-ins a day and 4 45-minute live video/phone calls per month. Honestly, the $99/week option– while expensive– seems really great, to be honest with you.

If you’d like to try out TalkSpace, click here to get started.


Conclusion

Online Therapy is fairly easy to get into and relatively cheap compared to traditional face-to-face therapy.

If you need more reviews on these two platforms, you can check out this review from a former therapist on their experience with Better Help and TalkSpace. Here is another website that puts the two up against each other (Better Help once again comes out on top). Though, in this one, TalkSpace comes out a winner. And this article talks about some of the questions that arise with online therapy.

I think both platforms have their merits, but I can only speak at length about BH. That $99/week option with TalkSpace looks like a blend of face-to-face therapy and online therapy, and that looks really appealing, but it’s just way too expensive for me. I can understand why it is that expensive. But still, my pockets can’t Maybe if I had more money I would try it out, but for now, I’m good.

Of course, I have seen some other articles and forums with people that seem to have had unpleasant experiences on both sides, but I think that comes with the territory of trying to click with someone online and the lack of tone. As well with as the “new-ness” of the technology, there are some kinks that need to be worked out. Of course, every counselor you meet is different and thus will offer a different experience. So, don’t discredit these places without trying them out first. Obviously, if after a thorough experience, you can’t find anyone you really click with, definitely try to match with a traditional therapist. Online therapy may just not be for you. And that’s OK. 🙂


I hope this article helped and provided you with some insight on which platform you can choose. There are a few more out there, but I don’t feel comfortable recommending them as I’ve heard less about them and have no experience with them. As I go on, though, I will try to sample them all so you all can get a glimpse into it as I use it.

If you’ve tried out these services or plan on using them, let me know how it went! I’m always open to having more resources in my back pocket that I can use and recommend to other people. 🙂

Peace and peace,

Althia.

Hi, I'm Althia! I love psychology have a particular obsession with promoting mental health. That being said, I have one specific goal that I want to achieve. I want to help millennials to finess mental illness and inspire personal growth one motivational & informational post at a time.

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