Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, is a form of professional online mental health counseling. The idea of online therapy is that it holds itself to the same standards of practice as traditional therapy, with licensed professional therapists and counselors, meaning it’s only the mode of communication that is different.
Many will ask why online therapy to begin with, which this article aims to answer, but it’s also important to explore the best online therapy sites compared with one another before actually deciding on one – some are better than others, of course.
Here are 7 online therapy benefits.
It’s less scary
First and foremost, many of us are used to texting or even phone calls compared to meeting new people and speaking face-to-face. When factoring in that the demographic of those seeking therapy are more likely to be socially anxious, it makes complete sense that online therapy is significantly less scary to initiate. Most online therapy sites allow users to communicate however the way, be it via text messaging, phone call, or video call. Perhaps they could work their way up through them over time. In fact, this makes it a brilliant stepping stone to traditional therapy for those who do not have the courage to ring up and make an appointment. It’s the accessibility that has blown up the market in the past few years, making therapy less stigmatized.
The cost of therapy is one of the biggest obstacles to people seeking it. Sure, seeing a psychiatrist may be free or included within insurance, but therapy for more general problems in life seems incredibly expensive. Online therapy cuts a tonne of overheads costs by not having offices and such, meaning that lower cost is reflected onto the client. There’s simply more competition with online therapy, as it’s a global market.
One of the reasons why telehealth services are taking off is because it’s online. The pandemic spurred us on to work from home, and in the future, more people may be travelling and working from their laptops – or simply living in rural areas. Either way, having access to your therapy in your pocket, whenever you are, is a significant advantage.
It’s not just wherever you are, but whenever you want. Some sites like to differentiate themselves by offering a service that allows for emergencies or urgent replies within a certain time frame. So, if you suddenly have an anxiety attack late into the night, it’s possible to message and speak with your counselor instantaneously. Whilst it may not always work as smoothly as this and not all sites offer it, this has a profound advantage over traditional therapy. Instead of long sessions once a week, you can dip in and out of your chat as and when you need it.
Depending on where you live, there may only be a couple of local therapy services. In some countries with free healthcare, the waiting list can be very long, whilst private therapy clinics may be few and far between. If you try one and don’t like it, it may be all you have. With online therapy, some sites have literally thousands of therapists working for them, for which you can often request to change. Beyond this, there are tons of different sites offering slightly different services. All in all, your needs are more likely to be met because there’s more choice.
Because you can talk more frequently, many report faster progress. Instead of waiting all week for your next appointment, you can drop in and talk things over, which can accelerate how quickly you can feel better. Furthermore, the schedule is simply more flexible, as you can chat late into the night or on a Sunday, whilst some traditional therapists may only have a few time slots available.
Finally, the cost saving of online therapy may be greater than you anticipated, because you’re also avoiding the travel costs. An after-work therapy session across town costs money and time, which may even strain your mental health even more. To get help online therapy, you have an on-demand therapist wherever you are, meaning you will not have to pay for those buses or taxis to the meeting place.