Are you thinking of trying out online therapy? People are flocking to their laptops and tablets instead of lounging on a therapist’s couch in a brick and mortar office, so it’s natural to be curious about whether it’s the right choice for you. Only you can make that decision, of course, but with the following information, you’ll be able to make a better-informed choice.
- Licensing Varies
Inquire in depth about the qualifications of any therapists you are interested in online. There are many types of therapists and counselors and simply being “licensed” could mean any one of several different things. Also, ask about the therapist’s overall educational and career background. Finding someone with expertise that fits your challenges helps to ensure that your therapy sessions will be worthwhile.
- Understand What Rights You Have to Confidentiality
Overall, you have considerable rights when it comes to the confidentiality of the information you share with your online therapist. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Before you commit to an online therapy plan, have a talk with your prospective therapist about how confidentiality will apply to your sessions. Any reputable therapist will be able to give you straightforward, complete information about your rights to confidentiality.
In the same vein, it’s also important to discuss privacy concerns with your therapist. Who else has access to their computer and log ins? Is there a secretary or receptionist that might have access to your information? Again, any reputable therapist will be enthusiastic about answering your questions about privacy.
- Adjusting to a Different Communication Style
While text-based chats and teleconferences have many advantages for those seeking therapy, they do require an adjustment in communication styles. When you attend a therapy appointment in person, you are communicating not only with words but also with tones of voice and body language. Texting or writing to your therapist can be a wonderful way to explore your emotions in depth but remember that you do need to be more open and direct, rather than relying on subtle cues like body language.
- Emergency Sessions and Community Referrals
Typically, when you have a therapy plan to follow with a traditional therapist, there are some considerations made for emergencies. This might include an emergency session over the phone, etc. if your experience a significant life event or simply need additional support. Online therapists can set up similar provisions for you. Talk to your potential therapist about needs such as these. Traditional therapists also often have ties to the community and can direct you to local resources. A good online counselor will have other, similar resources at their disposal to best support you in your therapy journey and will be happy to discuss these resources with you.
E-counseling is a blessing for many people, and it may be the right choice for you as well. There are many other benefits to this type of therapy. Just remember that choosing an online therapy program should be something you carefully consider, to make sure that you’re getting the support you need.