Our dependence on the internet and online services grows daily, and online-delivered therapy sessions are one of many telemedicine practices steadily increasing in popularity.
Due to the rising demand, the amount of teletherapy providers and traditional counselors switching over to the new medium is constantly growing.
Thus, it’s now easier than ever for clients to engage in online therapy.
However, before you join millions of other customers and get started, you should consider the unique opportunities you have when using online therapy to make the most out of it.
Whether you’re switching over from face-to-face sessions or are entirely new to the process, online counseling can take some time to figure out.
We’ll now share some tips and tricks to make this experience more bearable and fruitful!
How To Get the Most of Your Online Therapy
Both patients and practitioners can have certain reservations regarding online counseling.
Yet, this novel type of session positively impacts almost everyone who tries it.
It’s different than face-to-face counseling—that much is evident from the get-go.
However, the unique nature of online therapy isn’t a drawback but rather something you can take advantage of.
So, whether you’re a client moving from in-person sessions to online therapy or a beginner to the process, there are a few ways to adapt more quickly to teletherapy and make the most out of the experience.
1. Be Yourself
In this case, when we say “be yourself,” we mean that you should remain transparent and open throughout the therapy sessions.
Everyone sitting in on that session is there for the same reason—to help you.
Most online practitioners are well-qualified and follow rigorous privacy standards, so you can trust whatever you say will stay between you and your therapist.
Therefore honesty serves your best interest when it comes to counseling.
So long as you choose the right place, online counseling is just as much of a safe space as in-person therapy.
You should feel free to relax and express your sincere thoughts and feelings to the best of your abilities.
2. Ask Questions
There’s no shame in asking questions—especially in therapy. It’s normal to be curious about many aspects of the sessions.
It’s also natural to request frequent elaborations if you’re new to teletherapy.
Before you start online therapy, you could be wondering:
- How will sessions be conducted—text, audio, or video?
- How can the therapist be reached between sessions?
- What happens if technical issues interrupt treatment?
- How long are the sessions?
- What qualifications does the practitioner hold?
- How is patient privacy protected?
Your provider may answer some of these questions voluntarily, but sometimes you might have to bring them up yourself, or need further clarification on some specifics.
It’s always best to get a detailed explanation of everything you’re curious about, even if you doubt its importance.
Knowing what’s ahead can help you feel more confident and secure entering therapy.
Other questions may refer to the methods the therapist uses to conduct sessions. You can inquire:
- What type of issues the therapist specializes in;
- What therapy method they will use;
- What you can expect to achieve both short-term and long-term;
As you start your therapy sessions, you may find other aspects that need explaining.
Don’t hesitate to ask your therapist anything regarding your treatment, at any stage of the way.
3. Find a Private Space
One of the main differences you may have noticed in online counseling versus traditional sessions is the workspace.
Not having to leave your house to get treatment is a great benefit and makes online therapy far more accessible to individuals.
However, there are some ways in which you’ll have to accommodate to make it work.
For example, a therapist’s office is a controlled and private environment. If you fail to establish a similar atmosphere at home, you may interrupt your progress.
There are also a few other issues that may arise.
For one, there’s the issue of distractions. Several things can grab your attention and waste your time with your therapist—time you’ve paid for.
This can include anything from a TV running in the background to birds chirping outside. If something can distract you, either get rid of it or find a new space.
Another issue clients can have is that of privacy.
Even if people aren’t paying attention to your conversation, feeling like someone might be listening can prevent you from being fully open and vulnerable with your therapist.
This can also be a distraction but, more importantly, robs you of your privacy. Again, this makes your time in therapy less effective at best and wasted at worst.
It’s not always possible to have a “perfect” environment for long-distance therapy.
Still, you should do your best to create a spot as optimal as possible to engage in your therapy sessions fully.
4. Find the Right Platform
Now that teletherapy is more widespread than ever, you can have your pick of online counseling platforms.
Matter of fact, this abundance of choices can make the task of finding a therapist more daunting.
Nonetheless, the type of counseling you’re searching for and your budget requirements will help narrow down your pool of potential providers.
While many platforms cover a panel of issues, you may find some that specifically cater to what you seek.
Another thing that will influence your search is pricing. Finding affordable therapy online is a breeze as teletherapy is often cheaper than traditional counseling.
However each person’s definition of “affordable” is different. You can compare platforms and see what’s best suited to your specific budget needs.
Before you settle on a platform you should investigate if it meets your criteria and needs and if there are better options available.
Also, don’t be afraid to switch. If you think a particular therapist or counseling method isn’t helping you make progress—seek out other options.
This can mean simply changing counselors or trying out an entirely different platform.
5. Communicate Clearly With Your Therapist
Even though therapy is a vast field there’s one thing it’ll always teach you—communication is key.
To make the most out of your sessions, you have to be able to clearly articulate your thoughts, desires, expectations, and concerns with your therapist.
You should set goals with your counselor and communicate throughout therapy. That way, you can track progress and know when something isn’t working.
It’s also essential to convey your true feelings to your counselor during sessions.
You can engage in online therapy through text, audio, or video chat. Only one out of the three possible communication methods allows your therapist to see your body language.
Even when video chatting, it can be challenging to recognize these expressions depending on the video quality.
This is another reason it’s wise to practice verbalizing your emotions to your therapist.
Does Online Therapy Work?
Many question the efficacy of online therapy, and we can’t blame them. After all, people usually approach novel ideas with skepticism.
However, just because online treatment has recently jumped in popularity, it doesn’t mean it’s all that novel.
We’ve had plenty of time to gather information on online therapy, and many studies have found it as efficient as traditional counseling.
Scientists have mainly researched the application of CBT for various disorders.
However, this doesn’t indicate that you can’t use other therapy methods effectively for successful online counseling.
How to Get Online Therapy
One of the aspects of counseling that teletherapy considerably changes is how we go about looking for a therapist.
You can avoid the limitations of commuting to a physical office and instead get counseling services from any place with an internet connection—all across the US.
Finding online therapy also is a lot easier than it used to be. There are plenty of platforms that offer a variety of therapists to choose from.
All of these specialize in different areas of counseling and therapy methods.
This makes online therapy even more convenient with the ability to access so many options in one place and pick and choose what’s right for you.
However, before you choose an online therapist, you should consider:
- What you need help with – it’ll indicate which type of specialists you might want to look for;
- Pricing – online therapy is more affordable than traditional, but prices can still vary widely, and some platforms may just not be suitable for your budget;
- Therapy methods used – CBT is a common one, but counselors can implement all sorts of techniques;
- The quality of service – make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. While we all can have different experiences, customer reviews are an excellent way to check what type of service you’re receiving;
Once you know what you’re after, it’s all about researching the different counseling platforms and deciding what fits best.
Don’t stress if you get it wrong and have to change therapists—this isn’t uncommon. What’s important is finding out what works best for you!