Determining If Online Therapy Is A Good Fit For You
Compared to in-person therapy, online therapy provides a lot more flexibility and convenience when it comes to scheduling and managing appointments. However, since therapy is one of the more important personal services you will purchase, you want to make sure going the online route is really going to be a good fit.
Consider the following when :
Who This Is Not For
Theres a lot of personal factors, said the American Psychiatric Associations John Torous. Its hard to tell what type of person will respond.
And online therapy specifically might not be a good fit for a few reasons.
If you cross state lines frequently, your therapist might not be able to follow you. Although the legal specifics vary state by state, the bottom line is that therapists are typically able to treat only those patients who are physically in the states they are licensed in. That said, many therapists are licensed in multiple states on the video platforms we found a few who could see patients in upwards of 20 states.
If youre seeking couples counseling, a therapist meeting with you over video may have trouble carefully observing expressions and body language, which are important to understanding your relationship. When it comes to these nuances, trying to see more than one person in front of a webcam is difficult to impossible, said Sheila Addison, a couples therapist who sees patients individually over video.
If you have an unstable internet connection, video therapy sessions may be frustrating. You can also use your phone if your data plan is large enough to account for a few video sessions a month .
If your doctor says online therapy is not a good idea, listen. We dont know the particulars of your condition and disposition, and we cannot rule out that there is a reason this approach will not work for you.
Do Online Therapy Providers Take Medicare Or Medicaid
Under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Medicare plans are required to include online therapy. Medicare Part B will cover online therapy and charge the same for it as in-person therapy. Different states have different rules about covering online therapy under Medicaid, so you need to check your states Medicaid plan to see if you could get online therapy with it. If your plan does cover online therapy, the platform youre interested in using will usually indicate on its website whether it accepts either Medicaid or Medicare.
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What Sets Teen Counseling Apart
Teen Counseling is convenient, affordable, and accessible nationwide. It could be especially good for teens who are new to counseling who want shorter sessions with the opportunity to touch base through text messages with their therapist throughout the week. Its also great for parents new to the process as well. While it may not be as parent or family focused as other platforms like Brightline or Manatee, parents have a personal chat room with their teens therapist where they can ask questions and receive updates as needed.
Unlike Talkspace for Teens, where parents/guardians dont have a direct way to connect their teens therapist, Teen Counseling includes this as a standard offering. This feature combined with the short, live therapy sessions and the option for teens and their parents to text with a therapist makes Teen Counseling our best overall online therapy option for teens.
Who This Is For
Seeing a therapist remotely, through your computer or phone, may be ideal for a number of reasons.
If its difficult for you to go to a therapists office, for whatever reason, seeing someone online allows you to have an appointment without ever leaving your home.
If youre having trouble finding a therapist you like, video appointments allow you to expand your search beyond your immediate geographic area.
If therapy is pushing the limits of your budget, depending on where you live, online therapy may cost slightly less than traditional therapy per appointment out of pocket. Check Psychology Todays therapist finder to compare online prices against those of the other options in your area. Its also easier to book appointments less regularly if rationing funds is a must, and with online therapy you dont have to pay for transportation or miss as many hours of work.
We suggest that you use our recommendations of the best online therapy platforms to look for a therapist, but that you not consider them to be the final word on which service will provide you with the best health care.
If you have anxiety about going to see a therapist, an online session may be less daunting. You can curl up with a favorite blanket and a cup of tea during your appointment.
If youre fed up with the process of emailing and calling new therapists to see if they have availability, the process of booking on online therapy platforms may feel quick and easy .
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Stress And Difficult Emotions
A common reason people seek online therapy is stress. Licensed therapists can help their clients understand and manage their specific stressors. Many people also pursue online counseling for help with difficult emotions, like anger and grief. Licensed professionals can help them better understand and manage these emotions, too.
Online therapists are capable of helping their clients address many different mental health issues, including the common challenges above. If youre struggling mentally or emotionally, you can find the right help and guidance in online counseling.
What If My Insurance Doesnt Cover Online Therapy
There are a few options for free or low cost online therapy. Many services offer free trials, pay-as-go services, discounts, peer counseling, and more ways to try online therapy without insurance.
For example, eTherapyPro does not accept insurance, but they do offer a three-day free trial. You can use the trial to decide if online therapy is right for you. If you decide you want to keep using the service, eTherapyPro costs $40 a week. You can sign up for a membership that will last until you cancel your weekly payments.
For free therapy options in your area, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness hotline at 800-950-NAMI to be connected with a mental health professional. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If youre a veteran, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line by text, chat, or phone.
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Best For Flexible Scheduling: Mdlive
- Price:Therapy: $108 per session Psychiatry: $284 for initial sessions and $108 thereafter
- Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
MDLIVE lets you schedule behavioral health appointments with licensed therapists and board-certified psychiatrists at a time and day thats convenient for you.
Offers behavioral health services too for people 10 and older
Does not offer couples, family, or group counseling
Now serving over 30 million members nationwide, MDLIVE features a network of board-certified physicians, therapists, and psychiatrists specially trained in virtual care. The easy-to-use platform, which includes a highly-rated mobile app, enables you to get the behavioral healthcare you need at a time and place that works for you. Many of MDLIVEs therapists are available nights, weekends, and even holidays.
When you sign up at MDLIVE, youll be able to see a psychiatrist via secure phone or video using your computer or smartphone. If you need medications, MDLIVE doctors can also send prescriptions to your nearest pharmacy.
Some of the mental health conditions that MDLIVE psychiatrists can help with include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, trauma and PTSD, panic disorder, and more.
Without insurance, therapy sessions last 45 to 60 minutes and cost $108. An initial 30-minute psychiatric appointment costs $284, and a follow-up psychiatry sessionusually around 15 minutescosts $108.
Bend Health Best For Affordable Coaching Therapy & Psychiatry
Bend Health is a subscription-based online therapy platform that allows kids and teens to attend live, 30-minute video or phone sessions with a care team that consists of a mental health coach and licensed therapist. In between sessions, teens and parents can keep in touch with their team through text messages, and can expect a response by the next business day.
Bend Health costs $79.99 per month for a coaching and therapy subscription, and $199.99 per month for a coaching, therapy and medication management subscription. It is the most affordable out-of-pocket plan by far, but note that your teen will likely be meeting most often with a coach rather than a licensed therapist. The level of care they need and who they meet with will be determined during their first intake session. Bend Health also accepts and partners with many major insurance plans.
Bend Health embraces a philosophy of Whole-Person, Whole-Family and they believe that if one person in your family is struggling with their mental health, it can affect the whole family.2 This is why caregivers and their teens create an account and attend therapy sessions together. After you create an account, you fill out assessments together and get matched with a care team. Therapy sessions are conducted between 7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, which allows families the flexibility to plan around school and after-school activities.
|Cost of Online Therapy|
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Best Online Therapy Covered By Insurance:
- Talkspace – Best overall online therapy that accepts insurance
- BetterHelp – Widest network of licensed therapists and consultants
- Online-therapy.com – Best for behavioral health services
- Doctor on Demand – 24/7 access to health professionals
- Faithfulcounseling – Religious mental health therapy platform
- Teencounseling – Online therapy platform for teenagers
- Regain.us – Best online therapy service for improving relationships
- Pridecounseling – Best for the LGBTQ community
- Calmerry – Cheapest online therapy subscription rates
This is a list of recommendations and in no way a guide to self-diagnose. To seek a licensed professional for mental health issues, please contact your doctor.
Will Therapists Continue To Offer Online Therapy
The Time article and other therapist interviews have shown that therapists didnt take long to change their minds about online therapy. They learned for themselves what the research shows: online therapy is effective, and the differences between online and in-person therapy are subtle, not definitive.
While there are things that in-person therapy does just a little bit better, there are trade-offs that make online therapy a better option for many people.
For one thing, it makes therapy more accessible. Online therapy makes it easier for clients with health issues, busy schedules, or young children at home to regularly attend therapy. Many therapists were delighted to see that with online therapy, cancellation rates went way down.
Some therapists were surprised to find that online therapy actually improved how connected they felt with their clients. The playing field was leveled when both therapist and client were on neutral ground, in and seeing into each others homes.
This broke down the traditional power structure of the therapy room. Many clients felt safer and more relaxed in virtual sessions, so they opened up more.
Online Therapy Isn’t Always Great
Yet the vast majority of therapists who have tried online therapy have concluded that the trade-offs balance out. Theyve seen that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy while making life easier for them and their clients.
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What Is Online Therapy
Online therapy, also known as teletherapy, is a way to communicate with a licensed mental health professional over the phone or computer, rather than face-to-face in an office. Common means of communication include messaging , live chat, phone calls, or video chat.
Online therapy differs from in-person therapy in several ways. Online therapists typically do not provide a mental health diagnosis, like âgeneralized anxiety disorderâ or âADHD.â However, that is changing as online psychiatry and medication management services have grown over recent years. Online treatment also may not meet the requirements for âcourt-mandated therapyâ in certain cases.
Otherwise, online therapists are usually licensed mental health professionals, and most provide similar treatments online as they do in-person.
Best Online Therapy For Teens
Why we chose it: Teen Counseling is a fantastic resource for teens, parents, and guardians. The platform has therapists who specialize in finding solutions to teen issues and encourage positive changes.
Platforms: chat, messaging, phone, video
App available: yes
Teen Counseling is an online platform just for teens ages 13 to 19. They offer live chats, phone calls, video conferencing, and messaging in a private counseling room with a licensed therapist.
Some of the issues therapists can address during counseling sessions include:
- The service isnt suitable for court-ordered counseling.
- Teen Counseling isnt suitable for use in an emergency.
- Counselors cant provide a diagnosis.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Therapy
Q: How long does an online therapy session last? A: Sessions are 53 minutes long and the duration of treatment can vary depending on the skills that you are looking to develop and the symptoms that you would like to manage ranging from 12- sessions to other long term treatment plans.
Q: How will I pay for my appointments if I am using online therapy? A:That is a great question and your provider will let you know the various ways that you can pay for your session including our completely secure client portal.
Q: What is the cost for online therapy? A: If you choose self-pay, the cost is $120.00. We do have providers who are glad to offer a sliding scale so please ask us about availability and pricing. For those using insurance, copays, coinsurance, and deductibles may apply. These are contractual obligations set by your insurance provider and the amounts will vary based on your benefits. Check your insurance agreement to learn more about your coverage. We accept UPMC, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, United, Aetna and Cigna.
Q: Do you offer additional services virtually? A: Yes, we offer Meditation Sessions, Nutritional Counseling, and Reiki Therapy via telehealth platformsall for your wellness and convenience.
Q: Are there forms I need to fill out? A: Yes, you will need to complete an intake form. Our administrative team can help you to get all of your forms completed from the comfort of your own home by using our HIPAA compliant client portal.
Also Great: Doctor On Demand
If you dont find a therapist you like through Amwell, Teladoc, or MDLive, consider Doctor On Demand. Overall, Doctor On Demand is more expensive than the other online therapy services we recommend, yet if this is where you find a therapist you click with, the service could be great for you, and the added cost might not matter much. Like most of our other picks, Doctor On Demand is URAC accredited, and it has a certificate from the HiTrust Alliance. It has fewer providers than our other picks, but the website offers more inclusive language and the option for shorter appointments.
Fifty-minute sessions cost $180 through Doctor On Demand. Theyre the priciest of those across all the platforms we recommend, though all the therapists are psychologists. Doctor On Demand also gives an option for an appointment that lasts 25 minutes .
In a 2018 interview, the platforms chief medical officer, Ian Tong, told us that the service had about 200 doctors who dealt with mental health . Thats less than half of the number of available therapists on the other sites we recommend.
We had colleagues living in seven different states check Doctor On Demands offerings in 2018 and 2019 in each case, Doctor On Demand offered a fraction of the therapists that Amwell did. In our 2021 testing, Doctor On Demand tied with Amwell for the fewest available therapists in two states, California and Maine, compared with the other services we recommend.
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Best Network Of Therapists
Why we chose it: Talkspace offers several communication platforms, therapy options, and flexible subscription plans. Plus, the company can prescribe medication and accepts insurance.
Platforms: audio, chat, messaging, video
App available: yes
With over 3,000 licensed therapists and multiple subscription plans, Talkspace takes the spot for the best network of mental health professionals.
After signing up, youll complete an assessment and choose your payment plan. Then, a consultation therapist will match you with several therapists. Youll choose the one that fits your needs. Youll begin working with them within a few days.
Therapists treat a variety of conditions or concerns, including:
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- relationship issues
In addition to individual counseling, they also offer specific services for couples and teens. Plus, Talkspace Psychiatry offers personalized psychiatric treatment and prescription management from a licensed prescriber.
Price: Talkspace has several subscription plans available, with prices ranging from $69 to $129 per week. These plans include text, video, audio messaging, and live sessions. Some subscribers express frustration about having to sign up for an entire month of services, which means youll still be billed for the month if you cancel early.
Psychiatry services cost $249 for an initial evaluation and $120 for follow-up sessions.
Benefits Of Online Therapy
Like in-person therapy, online therapy is a counseling session with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. But instead of meeting in an office, your sessions take place at home.
How your therapist leads a meeting is up to you. The most common forms of delivery include live videos, phone calls, and messaging. And the best part? Many professionals are available morning, afternoon, or night, and on weekends, making therapy more accessible than ever.
For some people, this method of counseling may take some time to get used to. But for others, virtual visits will be the reason they start and stick with therapy.
If you already have a therapist that offers online counseling, youre set. But if your counselor doesnt offer virtual sessions or youre new to therapy, plenty of online services and platforms are available.
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