Healing is tactile. We can feel it in our bodies as they relax, in our bodily rhythms as they resume a normal cadence, and in our interactions with others as they normalize. Some forms of therapy are also very “physical.” But with that said, a vast majority of therapeautic tactics are based on conversations (with a licensed professional).
For these “talk” therapy methods, one of the hardest elements for many seeking therapy can be the additional time it takes to get to a therapy session, attend, and get back to routine life. While many may visit medical doctors monthly, quarterly, or annually, therapy is typically performed on a more regular basis. Building in time for a regular meeting with a therapist can be nearly impossible. Particularly if you’re juggling your mental health with work, family life, kids, or personal matters.
It’s to this aim that a growing cohort of online mental health services have responded. In 2017, over a dozen companies started online therapy sessions, while some mainstay online therapy services have grown to serve millions of clients.
So what should one consider when comparing online versus traditional therapy sessions?
First and foremost, one should seek out quality and licensed services regardless of the type service one would like to choose. For online options, most reputable online mental health services provide licensure information up front and routinely on their websites. It also can’t hurt to check on service or product review pages. Also note that verifying the legitimacy of the service as a whole is different from liking the therapist you’re assigned. And in the event you and your therapist don’t “gel,” most online therapy services provide an easy process through which to be paired with another licensed professional.
All of this is to say that online services can offer the exact same level of professionalism, licensure, and therapeutic quality as traditional therapy settings. In fact, many online mental health services offer an even greater range of service for traditional talk therapy patients (but more on that later).
Secondly, one should think about pricing models and the costs one is willing to bear to attend a therapy session. While you shouldn’t put a price to your own mental well being, there’s also no need to add an additional financial stressor to your life through therapy you may not be able to afford.
On this front, online therapy sessions almost always win out. Particularly for the range of services included in most common online therapy platforms. The ability to communicate with a counselor or therapist via messaging around the clock would be prohibitively expensive for most if obtained through a traditional therapy center. Yet this service comes with many of the best online therapy platforms (many of which start at around $50/week).
Thirdly, one should consider how best to fit much-needed therapy into one’s life. While ideally one is surrounded by supportive co-workers, partners, and friends, for many “getting away” to get to a therapy session can be quite a burden. Additionally, some individuals choose not to disclose the fact that they’re in therapy to co-workers or others, and thus feel the need to “make up” excuses to miss out of events or take off work early.
All of these issues are largely circumvented with online mental health and therapy services. Nearly all of the major online therapy platforms offer the ability to schedule appointments during a wide number of hours daily (and nightly). And most of the major providers allow for non-live conversations in the form of messaging or emails.
Finally, while all major and credible online mental health services follow pertinent health privacy laws, it’s important to note that many of the larger services have quickly gained a greater level of experience than even the most established traditional therapy centers. This occurs through the sheet bulk of individuals who have successfully utilized online therapy methods. Due to the lower barriers of entry, online therapy platforms have a large base of clients through which to learn what therapies work, for whom, and when.
In summary, while there’s no one “type” of therapy that’s going to work for everyone, online and traditional therapy sessions can over the same quality, and outcomes as one another. And online therapy sessions can be
- Just as professional as traditional therapy
- More affordable than traditional therapy
- Much more convenient than traditional therapy
- And provide more data-informed therapeutic techniques than traditional therapy centers.
Think you may be interested in an online mental health or therapy service? Be sure to check out OnlineDoctor’s ranking of the best online mental health therapy services today!