An Overview of Online Counseling
Online counseling, the digital-age version of counseling services is a more affordable, convenient and discrete method of receiving therapy. Several years ago, a few pioneers saw a large opportunity in the mental health industry. They noticed that millions of people were living without access to professional help. They also understood that more and more physical services were being replaced with digital alternatives that can save time for customers. So, these innovators decided to create online therapy platforms, which essentially connect certified psychologists and people suffering from mental health issues such as depression, stress and anxiety, among dozens of other clinically defined disorders.
While the online therapy industry is still in its early years, as it currently stands, there is no shortage of online counseling providers available to people looking for professional help. There are close to a dozen services, each offering it’s own unique set of features that appeal to the needs of different types of patients. The number of providers will only grow as the demand increases over time. Therefore, we have evaluated each of the major online therapy brands, outlining all of the pertinent information one needs to make an informed decision
Main Benefits of Using Online Counseling and Therapy Services
Many believe that online counseling should not replace in-office counseling. Rather, it should complement your traditional therapy sessions, as online counseling offers a range of benefits to users. Others however, including thousands of satisfied customers already using online counseling services, boast that that level of connection they are able to make with their therapists online make in-person therapy unnecessary. Some of the most common benefits associated with online therapy are:
- No Boundaries: With online counseling, there is no longer a need to seek out help within your city limits. You have the ability to connect with a psychologist that’s not in your area. Best of all, should you not click with your therapist, you have the option to change therapists.
- Efficiency: If you’re working full-time, chances are you have very little personal time set aside. With online counseling, you can receive help 24/7, or while you are on-the-go.
- Communication Channels: Gone are the days of having to set pre-arranged appointments and then receiving therapy in person. Online counseling enables you to open your therapy app and get help right away. This includes SMS/chat, video, and phone therapy options.
- Stigmas: Oftentimes people don’t set therapy appointments due to the stigma surrounding therapy. In fact, some people who do in fact set appointments won’t show up for their session due to this unfortunate stigmatization of therapy. With online therapy, that stigma is gone.
- Privacy/Confidentiality: Using online therapy provides users with complete privacy and confidentiality. For starters, therapists on the platforms are bound by strict local and federal laws, as is the case with their brick and mortar business. Your therapy sessions are protected by HIPAA. Furthermore, your chat sessions are also secured by various bank-grade encryption levels, which only you and your therapist can access. Lastly, should you still not feel comfortable with therapy, even online therapy, you have the ability to sign up using an alias and dummy e-mail account.
- Pricing: Did you know that it generally costs someone roughly $200 for one therapy session? Even if you are covered by premium insurance, the co-pay on each session can be as high as $50. If you’re going in to therapy once a week, that’s $200 per month on therapy. On the other hand, some of the best counseling therapy services provide users with incredible pricing, starting as low as $32 per week ($128 per month). Moreover, some online counseling services even work with major insurance companies, which further reduce your costs.