Online therapy can be an effective and convenient way to access mental health services. But that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. Whether or not online therapy is right for you depends on your condition and the severity of your symptoms. Are online therapy services like BetterHelp or Talkspace as good as seeing a therapist in real life? Research shows that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy for a variety of mental health conditions.
Not all therapists can prescribe medication, regardless of whether you meet with them online or in person. Adriane Kruer, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and owner of the Echeveria Therapy Collective, says she charges the same amount for online and in-person therapy, as the patient receives the same time and attention. However, Henderson points out that camera lens proximity during video appointments may provide more visual communication through facial expressions than an in-person appointment where there is greater physical distance between therapist and client. Both the platform and the therapist you see must also have policies and procedures in place that comply with your state's recordkeeping laws and APA recordkeeping guidelines.
It can be difficult to compare therapy platforms online due to their wide range of plans and prices. Online therapy services can even make the process of finding someone to talk to easier by expanding the number of licensed mental health professionals you can choose from, eliminating the need to go to a physical location for an appointment, and perhaps even reducing your out-of-pocket costs. Therapists can treat clients from anywhere in the world, and many states have different licensing requirements and treatment guidelines. Some people may feel more comfortable undergoing therapy in a digital environment, especially younger people who are more familiar with these methods of communication, but other therapists and patients alike may take more advantage of therapy that uses more direct human contact.
Online therapy shouldn't differ too much from in-person therapy, and “deciding on an online therapist shouldn't be that different from deciding on an in-person therapist, according to therapist Jennifer Benetato. If you need to file a complaint about an online therapy platform, please first inform the site about your concerns. If you use text-based therapy, therapists can't see facial expressions, vocal signals, or body language. Patient complaints about MDlive therapists go to one of MDlive's medical directors, who decides whether to refer complaints to the Patient Safety Council of their Provider Group “for further review and action, including provider education, implementation of a Performance Improvement Plan, until network termination.