Online therapy has become an essential service throughout the pandemic. People have been feeling more anxious, stressed, or depressed throughout the last year than ever before. If you can relate, you may have considered finding an online therapist.
The first step in finding a therapist who understands you is asking yourself what you want to get out of your therapy sessions. So before starting your search, consider the following:
1. What are your communication preferences?
When it comes to choosing an online therapist, consider how you'd like to communicate with them. Would you rather have live video appointments? Or would you rather have sessions over the phone?
2. What style of therapy are you looking for?
With various amounts of therapeutic approaches available, it may be helpful to narrow down your options. If one specific type of treatment sticks out to you, be sure to mention this to your potential therapist during your initial session.
Unfortunately, some approaches to therapy aren't offered online. Play therapy or EMDR, for example, are typically only available in in-person sessions. However, most other types can be effective online. Depression, anxiety, stress-related issues, panic disorder, and even addiction issues are usually suitable for online therapy.
3. Are you seeking help for a specific concern?
Are you looking to learn healthier coping strategies to manage daily stressors, or do you think you might be struggling with a mental health issue? Most therapists that offer online services provide information online about who would benefit from their services and who wouldn't.
Take time to research your symptoms and gain an idea of what you're experiencing. If you're unsure where to start, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the National American Psychiatric Association (APA). They can help you find accurate, reliable information and resources on a variety of mental health conditions.
4. What’s your price range?
As with similar medical treatments, therapy can be costly. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover online mental health treatment (which typically includes in-person sessions).
If you work with a provider in their office, your insurance plan might cover most of their fees, depending on your plan. Otherwise, it's essential to prioritize affordability during your search for an online therapist. Fortunately, some mental health providers offer self-pay rates and sliding-scale payment options if you don't have insurance.
5. How often do you want to meet with your therapist?
How frequently you meet with your therapist depends on your personal needs and preferences. You and your therapist will work together to develop an ideal schedule that works best for you. You may want to attend video sessions a few times a month or once a week. It all depends on what works best for you.
6. What are your preferences?
Think of it as finding a roommate or online dating. You'll be spending a significant amount of time with this person, so what type of person can you see yourself opening up to? Is it someone you can relate to and resonate with? Do you want someone who shares an identity aspect, like age, gender, race, or religious affiliation?
Most importantly, you should feel comfortable with your therapist. According to the American Psychological Association, this helps strengthen the therapeutic relationship, which is a determining factor in the success of your work together. But if you aren't sure what your preferences are, or you don't have any, that's okay too. You'll get a better idea once you get started of what you like or don't like.
7. What about confidentiality?
Whatever you share in sessions, even online, stays between you and your therapist. Healthcare providers are subject to HIPAA, which establishes guidelines to ensure your health data won't be disclosed without your knowledge.
Online platforms like Simple Practice are fully secure to conduct therapy that's HIPAA compliant. When you communicate with your therapist via phone or video, your privacy, and medical record information is held to the same standards as regular in-person visits.
8. How can you know if you've found the right therapist for you?
If you're unsure whether or not you've found a good fit after your first appointment, remember that you may need to try a couple of sessions before getting comfortable. If you're transitioning from in-person sessions, expect some discomfort at first. Even if you find a great therapist, online sessions feel different from in-person visits and may take some time to adjust.
When you’re ready to start online therapy, reach out to book a free consultation or use our Contact Form to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation. We want to hear more about you and how we can help.
Keywords: online therapy, find the right online therapist