Mental Health Counseling Online
The field of mental health counseling is rapidly changing as more virtual options become available to patients.
Patients seeking out mental health counseling can now see therapists online at their convenience, from the comfort of their own home, and often at a lower rate than seeing a counselor in person.
How Does Online Counseling Work?
Online counseling is becoming a popular option for anyone who is looking to speak to a mental health provider.
In reality it's pretty similar to in-person care.
Online options like PlushCare, allow you to log into a site and enter into a virtual session with a board-certified therapist. Some online counseling services offer packages for a set number of counseling sessions per month, while others will charge an individual session fee. PlushCare charges just a per-session fee.
If you've had an in-person appointment before, you can expect to see much of the same in your online appointment.
Your therapist will review your mental health history, medications and existing diagnoses and then jump into your appointment. Trained therapists commonly practice CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and sessions run just short of an hour.
The Benefits of Online Counseling
Online therapy has been proven to be as effective as in-person mental healthcare.
According to one study in the Canadian Medical Journal, "in some cases, online CBT was even more effective than traditional in-person therapy."
While it's not for everyone, particularly for those with complex diagnoses, many find online therapy to be a convenient, life-changing alternative to traditional in-person solutions.
Here are some of the other reasons people may choose online counseling.
- Online counseling is often less expensive than traditional therapy.
- Online counseling allows those who can’t get to a office -- due to long commute times, lack of transportation or disability -- access to mental health services.
- Speaking to a counselor online is generally comfortable for most people and can be a less intimidating option than speaking to a therapist in person.
- Online counseling opens the doors to more flexibility in scheduling your appointments.
- Those who are embarassed or shy may find the relative anonymity of online therapy very helpful.
- Many services also allow you to browse therapists to determine which counselor may work best for you.
How Much Does an Online Therapist Cost?
The cost of online counseling is going to vary greatly depending on what service you choose. Services like TalkSpace offer different subscription counseling services that you can get for anywhere from $65 per week to $99 per week, depending on how many live counseling sessions you are looking for per month.
On average, you should expect to pay about $100 for online counseling. But again, many providers offer subscription services, which can make it far more or less expensive depending on how much you use the service.
Can an Online Counselor Prescribe Medication?
Online counselors, therapists and social workers cannot prescribe medication. Medications can only be prescribed by psychiatrists.
However, it's important to note that there are now many online psychiatry options too. PlushCare has recently hired its first psychiatrist, available to New York and California patients.
We hope you'll join us in our mission to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. If you have any questions about our counseling and psychiatry offerings, please don't hesitate to email [email protected].
PlushCare takes content accuracy seriously so we can be your trusted source of medical information. Most articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.D.s, NPs, or NDs. Click here to meet the healthcare professionals behind the blog.
Read More About Online Counseling
- How to Speak to an Online Psychiatrist
- Signs of Depression
- Can You Buy Antidepressants Online
- Get Antidepressants Refills Online
- Can an Online Doctor Prescribe Medication?
Psych Central. Types of Mental Health Professionals. Accessed online on August 13, 2019 at https://psychcentral.com/lib/types-of-mental-health-professionals/
Very Well Mind. What You Need to Know About Online Therapy. Accessed online on August 13, 2019 at https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-online-therapy-2795752
Online Counseling Directory. Advantages of Online Counseling. Accessed online on August 13, 2019 at https://www.onlinecounselling.com/advantages-online-counseling/