Mental health is a critical component of our overall well-being, but it’s often ignored or dismissed. For example, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness every year.1 Despite that staggering statistic, many people don’t seek help.
Fortunately, online therapy is an innovative way to reach more people who want help managing their mental health. It offers many benefits over traditional therapy, including cost, convenience, and comfort. Let’s explore the benefits of online therapy, the conditions it can address, and what to expect.
What Is Online Therapy and How Does It Work?
Online therapy, also known as teletherapy and e-therapy, is a form of therapy that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. It works by providing a secure online platform where you can communicate with your therapist through video chat, audio chat, or text chat.
It’s becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional therapy. That’s because it offers several advantages while still being a safe and effective way to treat mental health issues. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the primary benefits of choosing online therapy.
The Benefits of Online Therapy
There are many reasons you might prefer using online therapy instead of traditional in-person therapy. For instance, some of the key benefits include:
- Cost: One of the biggest advantages of online therapy is that it can be more affordable than traditional therapy. You don’t have to pay for travel or office costs, after all.
- Convenience: Online therapy is convenient because you can schedule it around your own time, and all you need is a computer and an internet connection to access it.
- Comfort: You may feel more comfortable talking to a therapist online. That’s because it can feel less intimating to talk from your own couch or bedroom instead of an office.
A study of online therapy patients found that 93% of those surveyed think online therapy is helpful, so it’s a beneficial option worth considering.2
What Can Online Therapy Help Address?
Online therapy is for anyone dealing with a mental health issue or condition that could benefit from talk therapy. Specifically, you can find counseling for issues or conditions relating to:
- Social Anxiety
- Stress Management
- LGBTQ Counseling
- Couples Therapy
- Panic Attacks
- Life Transitions
Some online therapy services can also aid in prescribing medications as long as they offer psychiatrists in addition to psychologists. This is typically indicated somewhere prominent on the site.
What To Expect From Your First Online Therapy Session
If you’re considering online therapy, then it’s important to know what to expect from your first session. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have a good internet connection before the session begins.
- Dress comfortably and relax in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Be prepared to talk about your symptoms and why you’re seeking therapy.
- Share as much or as little information as you feel comfortable sharing. You don’t have to disclose anything you don’t want to discuss.
- Expect to feel some discomfort during the session as you explore your emotions and memories. This is normal and expected.
- Be patient with yourself — healing takes time. Allow yourself the space to process what you discussed during the session.
Then follow up with your therapist after each session to discuss how you’re feeling and any thoughts that surfaced during the session. Consider keeping a journal to document your progress. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling emotionally or mentally outside of your regular online therapy sessions.
Getting Started With Online Therapy
Online therapy can make it more convenient to prioritize your mental health. That’s because it’s more accessible and less intimidating for many people. Studies back up these benefits. For example, studies have found that 98% of people say online therapy is more convenient, and 88% say it’s more affordable than traditional counseling.3
Online therapy provides a safe and comfortable way to connect with a mental health professional who can address your mental health needs. If you’re interested in giving it a try, then you’ll want to do some research to assess your options. There are many different online therapy platforms out there, so do your research to find the one that’s right for you.