Online Therapy: The Pros and Cons by Charles Pareigis (May 15, 2018)
Everything is moving towards digital, and counseling is no exception. Healthcare isn’t just yearly check-ups anymore. Today, almost everyone has health and wellness apps on their phone. Whether you use MyFintnessPal, a step tracker or the health app your phone came with, technology helps us stay healthy.
So what about counseling and therapy? Does that work virtually? Mental health professionals can now help patients with depression, addiction, anxiety and many other health issues right from the comfort of their home and phone.
These virtual programs are popping up everywhere. Most of the programs have licensed therapists and psychiatrists who reside in all 50 states. These professionals can’t prescribe medications through the app or over the phone yet, but they are quickly becoming the first contact for people who need help.
Many people who are struggling with mental health issues feel more comfortable reaching out virtually. Not having to make an appointment means therapy is easy to access by almost everyone at any time. Plus, there’s no need to tell your family or coworkers, or to schedule time off of work.
But, with everything new (and digital), there are pros and cons. Use this checklist before finding your new virtual therapist.
Accessibility: E-therapy is accessible and provides mental health information for people in rural or remote areas.
Virtual: Transportation and mobility can be a huge issue when it comes to seeking help. These virtual services offer therapy for individuals who are disabled, housebound or don’t have transportation.
Affordability: These programs can be more affordable.
Convenience: You can get the help you need right when you need it from the comfort of your home or workplace.
Private: Reaching out takes a lot of courage. An individual who needs direct help can get the resources they need to connect with a therapist in their area via text. These virtual services can be used as an educational tool.
Coverage: Some insurance companies will not cover e-therapy.
Security: There are concerns about confidentiality, privacy and security. Since information is being shared online, it makes privacy leaks more of a concern.
Technology challenges: Losing your phone or lack of phone service may impact your ability to contact your therapist when you need their help.
Scope: Some serious illnesses are not appropriate for online therapy.
Qualified professionals: All therapists aren’t qualified or experienced. It’s still important to research the qualifications for your state before you begin the treatment process with a new therapist. Just because an app pairs you with a therapist doesn’t mean they are the right fit.
If you feel like e-therapy would be a good fit for you, remember to do your research. Pick a well-reviewed and qualified program and therapist. Reach out today