Online Therapy Doesn’t Take a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
With any online service, it’s tempting to assume that personalization is thrown out the window in favor of a stripped-down service that works for as many people as possible.
Many modern online therapy services, however, don’t fit this mold. Where once online therapy may have offered the same counseling to everyone without proper measures in place, now it offers helpful, safe, and personalized therapy that trumps even that provided by many in-person therapists.
What’s changed in recent years for online therapy to leave its one-size-fits-all reputation behind in favor of a more personalized one? Let’s take a look below to find out.
Tailored Matching Process
Today’s online therapy services now match you with therapists based on the specific issues you’re dealing with, as well as your preferences (the gender of your therapist, for example).
This matching process usually happens in one of two ways:
- You answer a number of questions online relating to your needs and preferences
- You speak with a therapist, who asks about and records your needs
After this, you’re then either automatically matched with a therapist or presented with a number of different therapists to choose from manually.
Most sites also allow you to clearly see all of their therapists’ credentials, experience, and approaches to treatment to allow you to make more informed decisions.
Support for Specific Communities
In addition to general mental health, many online therapy sites now cater to specific communities, meaning that their therapists are either from that specific community and/or trained to deal with issues specifically related to that community.
For example, you can find online therapy sites specifically for LGBTQ people, teens, and couples, just to name a few.
Working with therapists from or familiar with your own community can lead to a more comfortable environment, as well as better treatment resulting from a deeper understanding.
Different Types of Sessions
Video calls are now standard among online therapy sites, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only type of online therapy session available.
Many sites also offer the ability to voice chat, live chat, and even exchange text messages with your therapist throughout the day. This variety allows people to partake in therapy in whichever way they feel most comfortable, which can lead to more helpful treatment in itself.
Support Structures Outside of Sessions
Outside of talk therapy, many online therapy sites now also provide support structures outside of the sessions themselves to help you further identify, challenge, and overcome your problems.
These often consist of ongoing worksheets to be filled out by you, journaling tools, activity plans, and even guided exercise sessions.
Addition of Prescriptions
Most online therapy sites only offer licensed psychologists, meaning that the only type of therapy you can receive through the site is talk therapy.
However, some sites now also offer licensed psychiatrists, who are able to prescribe medication — an equally essential part of mental health treatment for certain individuals.
Sites that offer both psychiatrists and psychologists may offer a more powerful, two-pronged approach to treatment for people who require medication in addition to therapy.
Wide Variety of Mental Health Professionals
You’ll often see the terms “therapists” and “counselors” on online therapy sites. At first glance, this can make it seem like there are only two kinds of professionals to help you with your issues, which could require far more specialized guidance.
It’s more helpful to think of “therapist” and “counselor” as general categories rather than the only kinds of mental health professionals available. Realistically, you can expect to find a much wider array of professionals from all different places along the mental health spectrum.
For example, depending on the specific site, you can expect to find psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists, all with either masters or doctoral degrees in their respective fields, as well as thousands of hours of hands-on experience.