All too often young people, including students and recent graduates feel overwhelmed by their environment. They feel alone and isolated. The same goes for older adults and military veterans too. New electronic innovations like social media can only exacerbate an overly sensitive individual since it makes them feel like everyone else is living the perfect life. Depression sets in. So too do thoughts of suicide.
If you are suffering from depression, but don’t want to go through the effort and indeed, embarrassment, of selecting a counselor and driving many miles to their office, you can now get mental health therapy online. According to a report by the American Psychological Association (APA), just by going online in the privacy of your own home you can gain inexpensive and instant access to a mental health therapist.
New tools and online tech is making it entirely possible to remove psychotherapy from the stuffy confines of the therapist’s office to wherever you choose to log on to the internet. Relying on the web can be a more discreet and convenient method for lots of people who need mental help.
However, prior to signing up, logging in, and chatting with a health professional, there is important information you need to know regarding telepsychology. For instance, psychologists routinely refer to any mental health therapy which is delivered by telecommunications of any kind as telepsychology. Some refer to it as phone therapy, text therapy, online therapy, or Web therapy.
But whenever you interact with a psychologist using a phone, a mobile app, or a website, you will be engaging in telepsychology services. Technology can play a vital role in how people receive the mental health treatment they need. That means, researchers are putting in a lot of hours examining how effective telehealth and telepsychology is when compared to the more traditional in-office, in-person therapy sessions. But since the technology is still relatively new, a lot of scientific data on the subject hasn’t yet been collected.
But here are some points to think about prior to signing up for any services offered exclusively online.
Why People Prefer Web Therapy
Says the APA, web therapy is showing a lot of benefits and promise when compared to traditional in-office psychotherapy.
–Convenience. There’s no arguing that online therapy can take far less time away from your day job. You don’t need to leave your office, even if it’s a home office, and travel a number of miles to meet your therapist in-person. All you need to do is log in to a site, and the session can begin in a spot where you are comfortable.
–Expense. It’s said that when compared to traditional in-person psychotherapy, teletherapy can be less expensive. Office visits tend to be more expensive because they involve more overhead for the therapist. If you don’t have mental health insurance, this can come as a great financial relief.
–Comfort. It turns out communicating online with your psychotherapist is comforting for lots of people. Studies show that this is especially true of young adults since they grew up with high technology. Utilizing text messaging, webinars, and email is a common everyday occurrence, and it can make communicating with your therapist easier, more comfortable, and more private.
–Logistics. For those who do not have a way of getting to a doctor’s office, telehealth is a God send. For some people who live in rural communities, the nearest therapist might be a two-hour drive away. People who suffer from disabilities or chronic illness might not be able to leave their home on their own. In these cases, web therapy has become their only option for receiving the mental health treatment they need.
What You Need to Consider Regarding Web-based Mental Health Therapy
The APA states that despite the many benefits of web-based therapy, it might not always be the best option for your particular situation. Before signing on to the web, you need to consider the following:
Is online mental health therapy the right tool for your situation? There is simply not enough data compiled yet that proves stand-alone therapy via conference calling, email, or texting is effective for everyone in need of help. You need to be careful. Some sites claim to offer mental health therapy, but the claims are either misleading or outright false.
For instance, the persons listed in the apps might not be qualified or even licensed to provide mental health therapy. You need to be sure your online therapist is certified and licensed before signing on to him for mental health services.
In most states, psychotherapists and therapists do not fall under legal protection or guidance. This means anyone who claims to be a mental health therapist can potentially offer health services online. It might not always be obvious that you are being treated by a licensed therapist. You need to do your own research and due diligence in this matter.