Seventy-six percent of Americans now think psychological health is just as important as physical health — and yet they struggle to get therapy, according to one study. Some of the reasons include limited access and a lack of options.
Now, the good news: Online counseling makes getting help much easier. Not only does seeing a therapist online eliminate the hassle of traffic, drive time, and parking, but it allows you to choose from a wider range of providers. The set-up is simple, it works just as well as traditional therapy.
Orange County Health Psychologists offer online counseling and the results have been very positive. The best part is, all you need is a computer or smartphone with an internet connection. Many insurance companies are now covering online counseling (telehealth) as well, particularly due to the COVID-19 crisis.
So, if you’ve been wondering if you can do therapy online, the answer is YES, especially if:
You have a quiet and private place to chat.
An online counseling session isn’t much different than a session you’d have in person. For that reason, you want to be sure you won’t be overheard. If you have an area in your home where it’s relatively quiet and you can close a door, then you can definitely do therapy online.
Wondering where you could have your sessions? Here are some places that could work. (And remember, you can always use your smartphone, tablet or laptop instead of a desktop computer.)
- Home office
- Backyard or patio
- Roof or pool area of your apartment building when it’s off-season
- Empty conference room, office, or enclosed phone area in your workplace
Where you have your sessions is ultimately up to you. Most likely, you’ll have at least one place that’s comfortable, making online counseling an easy option.
It’s difficult for you to leave the house.
Right now, a lot of us are in this category due to coronavirus precautions. Being stuck at home has forced many of us to get creative about how we connect — making online counseling even more important. The current lockdown and isolation recommendations can make it difficult to start therapy if you need it, or even continue the course of therapy you’re already on. Thankfully, online counseling allows you to get the help you need exactly when you need it without putting yourself or others at risk.
Leaving the house might be hard for other reasons, as well. Some forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety, agoraphobia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can interfere with your ability to travel and/or see someone in person. An online therapist can meet you where you are (literally) so you can start healing as quickly as possible.
You’re suffering from an unusual amount of stress right now.
If you’re like many of us, the COVID-19 crisis has presented you with some unusually stressful challenges. Maybe it triggered your existing anxiety disorder or feelings of isolation. Or, it might have created other stress in your life and caused you to start self-medicating or turning to unhealthy coping behaviors. That could mean you need to talk to someone sooner than later — and online counseling can help.
You’re worried about stigma.
Especially if you’re new to counseling, you may worry about people finding out that you’re seeing a therapist. With online counseling, you don’t have to worry about being seen, whether that means running into someone you know in your therapist’s part of town or in the parking lot of their office building. You’ll be in the comfort of your own home, so you’ll have nothing to explain to anyone.
You can’t find the kind of therapist you need in your area.
Maybe you have a particular disorder or set of needs that are best treated by a certain type of therapist, but you would have to commute a long distance to see them. That might lead you to go to therapy less often, or not even try. The great thing about online counseling, though, is that distance doesn’t have to get in the way of finding the best therapist for you. Simply choose the therapist you need, even if they’re in a different area, and set up a video chat!
Online counseling is a wonderful tool that can deliver support in a way that also fits your schedule and circumstances. Reach out to us at Orange County Health Psychologists for an immediate consultation and we’ll pair you with an experienced, licensed therapist in the specialty that best fits your needs. Call us today at 949.528.6300 or email us at info@OCHealthPsych.com to get started.
—Written by Ekua Hagan for Orange County Health Psychologists