If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, you’re not alone in this. Many people are still dealing with the historic levels of stress and anxiety across the world.
According to the World Health Organization, also known as WHO, about 25 percent of people will experience mental health issues during their lives. Unfortunately, many of these people seek out professional mental healthcare due to several reasons including, discrimination, stigma, and lack of access to affordable care.
Thankfully, advances in technology have allowed us to make professional mental healthcare easier to access with the progress made in Teletherapy.
What is Teletherapy?
When people picture therapy, they often think about images from television or movies where patients are reclined on a long couch while their therapists ask them questions like, “how did that make you feel?” Nowadays, you can attend therapy from the comfort of your home with virtual therapy sessions.
Many people find it more personal and less daunting to be able to speak to their therapist from home. The thought of visiting a doctor’s office and waiting in a lobby to speak to a therapist can be daunting for some people. Tele Therapists also make mental healthcare more accessible for people who do not live near a therapist’s practice.
Teletherapy is a blanket term that encompasses all therapy sessions that are done over a long-distance. This includes video chats, phone calls, and other online services and apps. While virtual therapy has always been an option, it has become more popular than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What mental health Challenges would you like to address?
Before you find a teletherapist, you should take some time to think about what your main mental health concerns are to help narrow down your search. A few common mental health challenges you may be dealing with include:
- Anxiety or stress disorders – These disorders have become increasingly common since the beginning of the pandemic and are the most common mental health disorders in the country. Some symptoms of anxiety include constant worry, feeling physically wound up or constricted, and always feeling on edge.
- Depression – One of the more serious mental illnesses, depression can manifest in the form of persistent sadness, hopelessness, or apathy. In some cases, depression can also lead to increased anger. Depression can stem from many different causes including dealing with grief, going through a difficult life transition, experiencing a loss or more.
- Relationship issues – It is normal to expect some level of conflict in relationships, but if left unresolved these issues can lead to more severe symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Emotionally or physically abusive relationships can also take a major toll on a person’s mental health. A virtual therapist or marriage counselor can help you resolve your issues and move forward.
- Challenges with your career – There are many concerns that can stem from experiences issues at your job or in your career. You may be facing workplace discrimination, impostor syndrome, or other factors that could be negatively impacting your mental health. A professional teletherapist can help you deal with these work-related issues.
- Addictions or eating disorders – Addictions and eating disorders are mental health issues that can be damaging to your health if left unresolved. A therapist can help you deal with triggers and manage your condition to help you heal over time.
Differences Between In-Person and Virtual Therapy Sessions
As you may suspect, there are some differences to using teletherapy instead of traditional therapy sessions. For example, you may prefer to be able to stay in your home where you feel safer while you are speaking with a therapist. Therapy works better when you can get vulnerable, and it may feel less intimidating to do that during a video call.
When you are preparing for a virtual therapy session, you can get yourself into the right mindset by shutting off your phone, doing some light breathing, and grabbing a glass of tea. It may take a little longer to get comfortable with teletherapy, so it is important to discuss what is and what isn’t working with your therapist.
Telepsychology services are flexible and can even be accessed using text-based services such as Talkspace and Betterhelp. However, these services will require more dedication and accountability on your part. You should try to have a session at least once a week if possible.
How to Find a Teletherapist That Works for You
Finding a teletherapist is a complex process because you will need to find a professional who you feel comfortable with, can fit your schedule, and is affordable for your budget. You may have to vet two or three different tele therapists before you find an expert who you have chemistry with.
Think about these questions to help you narrow down the type of therapist you are looking for:
- What are your expectations for your therapy sessions?
- What do you hope to get at the end of therapy?
- Are you dealing with a specific issue?
- What do you want to share with a therapist during your first session?
The next most important thing you will need to consider is your healthcare coverage. Call your insurance provider and ask about what mental health services are available with your benefits. Ask them about any terms of your insurance plan that you are having trouble understanding.
Here are a few important questions to verify with your insurance agent to avoid paying unexpected expenses:
- Are mental health benefits covered in my healthcare plan? What services are covered?
- Will I have to see an in-network teletherapist?
- What is the deductible for my policy?
- How much more do I need to pay to reach my deductible?
- Will I need a referral from my primary care physician?
Finally, you will need to work out your schedule. One of the benefits of teletherapy is that it allows you to avoid some of the hurdles of attending in-person therapy. You can avoid driving through traffic and commuting back and forth by opting for online therapy sessions.