Is Teletherapy Right For You?
Do you ever feel like you want to talk to a professional counselor but you don’t have the time? Or maybe there is no therapist in your area that deals with your particular issues? You might want to look into teletherapy. Also called online counseling, teletherapy appears to be the future of mental health. Let’s take a look at the benefits of teletherapy and see if it is right for you.
What Is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy can be defined as using technology to gain access to mental health services. Technically, you can receive teletherapy through phone, text, video, and e-mail. Currently, when people talk about teletherapy, they are most often referring to online counseling provided through video conferencing.
The Benefits of Teletherapy
The following are advantages of teletherapy:
The primary benefits of teletherapy are convenience and flexibility. As long as you have a computer or smartphone, you can access help from wherever it is most comfortable for you. This saves you time and money in traveling to a therapist’s office. In addition, you can avoid the stigma and confidentiality issues that occur by having to go to a place where you might see people you know.
Some communities do not have access to therapists. Teletherapy gives people in rural areas counseling options that they never had before. Additionally, people may have problems that need specialized assistance that they can’t find locally. Fortunately, teletherapy can help those people find someone who specializes in their issues online. Further, people with disabilities may have difficulty physically getting to a therapist's office.
Depending on your therapist, teletherapy may allow you more regular contact than one weekly appointment. Certain platforms enable you to communicate through text message, chat room, e-mail, or video conferencing at times when you need to seek assistance outside your regular therapy session.
One question you may have is whether or not online counseling works as well as in-person therapy. Although research into teletherapy is just beginning, the early evidence appears to indicate it is as effective as conventional therapy.
Is Teletherapy Right For You?
Despite its many benefits, there are some issues to consider to make sure online counseling is best for your particular needs.
Are You Covered?
Some insurance plans do not cover or partially reimburse teletherapy services. Although you can still pay out of pocket, that can be very expensive, especially on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, as the popularity of teletherapy increases, it is likely that more insurance companies will cover online counseling.
For some people, an online relationship with a therapist just does not feel the same as if you see someone in-person. Certain people may have difficulty connecting with their therapist through phone or video. Because the therapeutic relationship is so integral to the success of therapy, it is an important consideration.
May Not Be Right For All Problems
If you are having serious difficulties (e.g., suicidal thoughts) teletherapy may not be right for you. It can be much more difficult for a therapist to accurately assess a person if they are not in the same room. Additionally, if a crisis arises, counselors will frequently want to be able to deal with those situations in person. Further, certain types of therapy may not be conducive to online counseling. For example, if you need exposure therapy, that is more difficult to administer remotely.
Should I Try Teletherapy?
The flexibility and increased access teletherapy provides are very attractive to many people. While it has several advantages, it might not be right for everyone. It is important to consider your specific situation to determine if online counseling will meet your emotional needs.