Life after the coronavirus pandemic has never been the same, with working from home as the new normal. This trend has also been adopted by therapists who now offer their services virtually, usually referred to as online therapy, virtual therapy, online counseling, or teletherapy. When searching for a therapist, you need to explore your options to ensure that you pick the right one to help you start your journey towards improved mental health.
However, finding the perfect online therapist isn’t a walk in the park because there are several factors you need to consider. And to help you make an informed decision, below are four tips that’ll help you choose the best online therapy provider.
- Know Your Price Range
Like when shopping for any other service, factoring in how much money the online therapy provider will charge you is essential to consider. And the cost of hiring an online therapist usually ranges around $100 for an hour-long session. You can also find online therapists who only require you to pay $40 each week and get their services through text messages. Typically, how much an online therapist charges you for their services depends on their education level, that is, if they’ve got a doctorate or master’s degree.
If you don’t want to pay out of your pocket, worry not, as many online therapists accept insurance plans. However, other therapists don’t take such covers, especially if they offer sliding scale prices, discounts, and lower fees. Other questions you need to find answers to include;
- Does the therapist accept Medicare or Medicaid?
- How much the insurance cover pays for the therapists’ services, and how much you’ll pay in cash.
- If there’s a limit on the number of sessions, you can go for online therapy and how the therapist heeds to the limit.
When on a tight budget, you can search for a therapist who provides you with a free consultation.
- Is The Online Therapist Provider Licensed?
It’s easy to find someone who claims to be a therapist, yet they don’t have any proof that they received the necessary training. Knowing this, you shouldn’t assume the words of anyone you meet and say to be an online therapist. Instead, you need to take your time and confirm they indeed do have the relevant training, licensing, and certification. This is enough proof that shows that this professional has certainly completed the minimum years of training to help you cope with your mental health issues.
Licensing also means that the online therapists are permitted to offer their services by the state, and this provides you an alternative should anything arise while receiving their services. Therefore, you must never overlook the importance of ensuring that the therapist is licensed.
You also need to concentrate on an online therapist’s specialty when deciding whether to consult one to help you with your mental health challenges. Doing this is necessary because there are various kinds of therapy and specialties a therapist focuses on, including anxiety, depression, or other challenges. Others only deal with persons within a specific age group. The different types of licensed therapists that can offer virtual therapy include;
- Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs): Also known as the social worker or clinical social worker, they have a master’s degree in social work.
- Psychologists: These professionals have undergone training on offering psychotherapy services and typically have doctoral degrees. They can help you deal with issues such as life transitions, career struggles, or difficulty coping with day-to-day problems. When suffering more severe mental health issues, you should check in with a clinical psychologist.
- Psychiatrists: These medical practitioners in addition to offering therapy services can also prescribe medicine to help deal with mental health issues.
- Clinicians, counsellors and therapists: These experts are licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), licensed mental health counsellors (LMHCs), and licensed professional counsellors (LPCs). Some of their services include family systems counselling, couples counselling and adolescent counselling to try to better their patient’s mental health.
Each of these various therapists offers different forms of therapy to aid in your recovery, including;
- Person-centered therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Exposure and response therapy (ERT)
- Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Personality Fit
The success of your mental health treatment depends on the therapeutic bond between you and your online therapist. Therefore, you must choose a therapist who’s a perfect fit, and there are several things you can consider to gauge this, including;
- Age: This can affect how comfortable you feel when sharing with your online therapist, with people usually having different preferences, which can either be older, younger, or close to their age.
- Gender: You may feel comfortable talking to a woman or man depending on whether you feel they best understand you.
- Sexual orientation: You might feel comfortable talking to someone with the same sexual orientation as you, and this especially applies to most patients in the LGBTQ community.
- Ethnicity or race: This might be the case because you know they understand your problems which might be ethnic or racial based.
- Positive communication: You want to open up to an online therapist who’s warm and open to taking you through your mental health struggles.
- Trust: This is essential to help you share your feelings, behaviors, and thoughts without fear of judgment.