It turns out that online therapy is worth it, but be prepared for a bit of trial and error to discover what works for you. For years, I used to see a therapist in person regularly, but that was also when I was a student. I could afford it (despite living on the meager income of a student) because it didn't cost me much money out of my pocket, since it was covered by the benefits provided by the university. But then I left school and therapy quickly became a luxury that I had a hard time paying for, especially when I had my first jobs outside of school.
So I quit, even if it meant neglecting my own emotional health. When my husband and I ended our subscription to ReGain, I knew that I wanted individual therapy with live video sessions, and I also knew that I wanted to use my health insurance to help reduce out-of-pocket costs. I paid quite high monthly premiums for those benefits, so I could also take advantage of them. All I had to do to start working at Headway was to find a therapist I wanted to work with (reading the biographies), create an account, schedule my first session with my therapist, and provide me with insurance benefits and payment information.
From then on, billing was managed by me. And all I had to pay was my co-pay, which is much cheaper than any therapy plan I had on Talkspace or ReGain. It can work, but only if your therapist likes doing this type of therapy. If they see asynchronous messaging as a burden or a task on their to-do list, imposed by their employer, you're not going to receive quality care.
And finally, don't expect the comfort offered by therapy to save you a little trial and error. It took me a few years to finally find a way to do online therapy that worked for me. You may also need to do some tests to find out what works for you. But don't give up, it's worth it.
Despite the benefits of online counseling, in-person therapy may be more appropriate for some circumstances and individuals. As one of the only online therapy options that accepts insurance, Talkspace claims to cover more than 60 million Americans with eligible insurance plans. Sesame's on-demand appointments, some even on the same day, can appeal to people who don't want to buy a subscription to online therapy. Sesame is one of the best online therapy platforms if you want to talk to a therapist on demand, you don't have insurance and need a prescription.
Online therapy isn't for everyone, but the convenience, potential cost savings, and added benefits make it a win over in-person sessions for some people. In fact, people often tell me that their online experience has been more satisfying than their previous in-person therapy. Since then, I've tried three different types of online therapy and the experience has been, well, interesting. Talkspace online therapy is a subscription plan, meaning that you pay monthly to access your personal therapist.
Become an informed consumer of telepsychology services, learn the factors to consider when considering online therapy, and explore additional resources. The flexibility and the fact that I can use my insurance benefits again are probably why this time I have stayed with my online therapy through Headway. I signed up for an online therapy program and for just over a month, I contacted a therapist through the app's messaging system. I have been doing therapy exclusively online for the past two and a half years, the last year of which has been in my own private practice.
That said, since it's Mental Health Awareness Month, I would be remiss if I didn't mention some barriers to consider when considering online therapy...