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What is Online Therapy and How to Find a Therapist Online

November 13, 2023


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With online therapy options becoming more available, many people are taking advantage of managing their mental health care online. Leading therapy providers like BetterHelp, Regain, and Talkspace are making it possible for mental health sufferers and life advice seekers to log on from the comfort and privacy of their homes to gain access to the help and support they need. In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of online therapy and provide details on how to find an online therapist. In addition to providing information on how online therapy sessions work, we’ll also talk about what to expect from an online therapy session.

How To Find An Online Therapist

Primary Care Doctor (PCP) Referral – many people start with visiting their primary care provider when they start to experience negative symptoms of chronic mental health disorders. If your primary care physician determines that you have issues with chronic mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, they can prescribe medication to help mitigate your symptoms and will likely recommend that you see a therapist or directly refer you to a therapist within their network to get psychotherapy support.

State Licensing Resources – an easy way to find licensed therapists in your state is to visit your state’s therapy licensing board. You can easily visit your state licensing board online to find therapists, verify therapy credentials, and learn if there have been any complaints or special accolades associated with your online therapist. When you visit your state licensing board online you can learn about active therapists in your area and choose the best therapist to help address your specific concerns.

American Psychological Association (APA) – the APA maintains a database of active therapists that are registered and in good standing on the American Psychological Association website. The online APA website provides resources for therapists and therapy clients to learn more about the latest developments in psychological research and to help connect clients seeking therapy with qualified therapists. The therapist database on the APA website is a great place to start learning about different types of therapy, innovations in mental health treatments, and to find a therapist who is licensed to practice online in your state.

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How Online Therapy Sessions Work

Getting started with online therapy sessions is easy. The first step is to choose a therapy platform or provider and visit their therapy website. Once you understand how your selected online therapy platform works, the next step to take is to register for a free therapy account. Registering for a free therapy account allows you to complete online introductory therapy assessments and questionnaires that help you get matched to the best therapist for your situation.

After you complete the registration process and a brief intake questionnaire, the next step to take is to select a therapist from the options provided. When you choose your therapist, you’ll be prompted to select your initial therapy appointment type. Choose your method of online therapy from text messaging, live video, live audio, and live chat.

  1. Text messaging – when you register for text messaging therapy sessions with your therapist, both you and your therapist will be able to send and receive text messages to have ongoing therapy conversations. When you join an online therapy platform unlimited messaging therapy services are available.
  2. Live video – most people automatically think of live video therapy sessions when they think of online therapy. Having live video therapy sessions with your online therapy provider allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with your therapist face-to-face. Live video therapy sessions are conducted via online therapy apps, desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These sessions are the most similar to in-office therapy sessions.
  3. Live audio – like live video sessions, live audio sessions connect therapists and clients in real-time by telephone or via therapy apps. Audio or phone therapy sessions are just like video or in-office therapy sessions. The only difference is that you aren’t face-to-face with your therapist. Live audio sessions are good for people who don’t have access to a completely private environment that needs to speak with their therapists in real-time.
  4. Chat – another popular online therapy method is online chat. When you chat online with your therapist, this method is very similar to SMS messaging and text messaging. Online chat therapy sessions are usually conducted via online therapy platform websites or via therapy apps. When you chat with your therapist online you can ask and answer questions from your therapist. Many people who use online therapy services enjoy having “micro-sessions” with their therapists when they have a quick question or need advice outside of scheduled therapy sessions.
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What To Expect From An Online Therapy Session

After you choose a therapist and make your therapy appointment, the next step is to go to your online therapy session. Most online therapy sessions last between 10-60 minutes depending on your preferences and availability. This is due to the fact that unlimited messaging therapy sessions and chat sessions conducted via therapy apps can last for just a few minutes up to an hour. In most cases, your online therapy session is a one-on-one question and answer session with you and your therapist present.

If you’ve selected other online therapy options like couples therapy or family therapy, you and your therapy partners will all login to the therapy platform at the designated time to talk to your therapist. Your therapist will ask you intimate questions about your life, history, and other important questions. The relationship between you and your therapist is protected by confidentiality. This means that whatever you tell your therapist stays private unless you tell them you want to share the information with someone else. Your therapist will never reveal information discussed in your therapy sessions unless information revealed leads them to believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger.

Online therapists treat mild-to-moderate mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Therapists you see online are licensed to practice therapy in your state and use effective therapy modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat chronic mental health conditions. Your online therapist will provide you with emotional support and advice to help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself in life and have more positive relationships.

Therapy subscription services like BetterHelp offer access to thousands of licensed therapy providers online. When you complete your session with a licensed therapist on the BetterHelp online therapy platform, you have the option to select a new therapist at any time, for any reason. Most online therapy subscription services offer this option. Therapy is a place where you can feel safe. If you ever feel safe or uncomfortable with your online therapist, contact the therapy platforms support desk immediately.