Therapy can have incredible benefits for many types of people, including but absolutely not limited to those with a diagnosed mental illness. People go for urgent reasons or simple check-ins, consistently or every once in a while, maybe in person or online.
But whoever has sought therapy has likely also learned that therapy does not come cheap, and it can often be time-consuming and inconvenient to find and maintain a good therapy rhythm.
Therefore, online therapy and counseling have taken the world by storm, especially during the pandemic, as it is typically more affordable, accessible, flexible, and time-saving.
Nowadays, people can even find many relatable articles on therapy and counseling through platforms like MyTherapist, which will help you learn more about the problems and issues you might be having on a day-to-day basis.
Initially, getting mental health was not always straightforward. Many people did not have insurances that covered mental health diagnoses, or even if they did, the copayment was too much.
While some insurance companies have progressed toward covering mental health care costs, like therapy, many only offer partial coverage or include some kind of cap. Some insurance companies will cover in-person therapy but not online therapy, leading patients to assume that online therapy will be more expensive; however, when in-person therapy is more expensive to begin with, online therapy will usually end up being the cheaper option.
How is online therapy cheaper?
Sometimes out-of-pocket expenses for therapy can range from a few dollars to even $300 for a 45 to 60-minute session, depending on your area.
If you are on the lookout for cheaper virtual care, you can find a host of verified third-party options online. Sites like MyTherapist and more platforms connect you to trained professionals and offer varied specialized services to help manage your symptoms.
These platforms charge fees, which are reasonable and affordable compared to traditional in-person therapy. Some services will have weekly or monthly fees instead of charging per session, and paying for chunks in advance will often get you a discount.
Because of the digital presence, a lot of these companies also provide their visitors with lucrative offers and plans that are extremely economical in the long run.
Also, the free-trial option that most sites offer will allow you a time period where you can try out the service and make a decision as to whether you want to continue with it or not.
Am I sacrificing efficacy for cost?
Many people still prefer in-person therapy sessions due to an increased sense of intimacy with the therapist. Some people might find it easier to focus inside an office setting because there can be unwanted disturbances and distractions at home or at work.
However, although some people simply do not prefer virtual therapy or teletherapy, reliable studies have reported that the effect it has on a patient is nonetheless the same as an in-person session. Hence, if you have a smartphone, you could literally have a pocket therapist wherever you go.
If you are looking for therapy related to anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental health disorders like dependence on substance use, familial conflict, and fatigue, your ultimate goal to get relief and learn certain coping strategies through counseling can be achieved with an online therapist.
Another factor that online therapy takes into account is that it maintains a distance between you and your therapist. Some people find it easier to be vulnerable while in a familiar setting. If you feel embarrassed while sharing certain details, it can be much easier inside comfortable surroundings.
Saving more than money: flexibility and convenience
It is incredibly easy to sign up for an online therapy session. On most websites and applications, you need to fill in basic details about yourself and a few questions which will help them know you a little better. You will then get paired with suitable therapists or hand-select professionals yourself to meet your preferences and needs.
One of the best parts about online therapy is the ease with which you can try new therapists until you find the perfect fit. All this adds up to a virtual care experience that is typically extremely convenient, trouble-free, and user-oriented.
Because of the limited number of psychologists and therapists, companies are developing advanced software like AI chatbots which can act as guidance counselors or teachers.
It has been studied that people find it much easier to share opinions and thoughts with these artificially intelligent bots who can then recommend them with suitable ways to heal.
Having phone, video call, and texting options with therapists (both literal and AI) can inspire more consistent therapy sessions due to the ease with which they can be scheduled.
While you may not think to include costs like gas, tolls, parking, or public transit fees in your internal calculations, the virtual nature of online therapy can be a tangential way it becomes cheaper and more flexible.
One cannot forget that in-person therapy also involves a physical commute to the office, so virtual care often becomes more convenient simply by nature of being available from the comfort of one’s own home. Being in familiar surroundings can also help put the patient at ease.
Due to the lack of commute required for virtual therapy, counseling sessions have suddenly become accessible to those who may not have been able to access them before. Some people without cars do not have a public transit option close to home, or others may not be able to see counselors who are not in accessible buildings (e.g., no wheelchair ramp). Virtual therapy can remove barriers for those who are housebound or need a specialist who resides in a completely different area.
What if you need to connect to your therapist on an odd day or you have to go out of town for a week?
These online therapy portals may provide you with the luxury of live chats, video sessions, and unlimited messaging anytime, anywhere.
If it comes down to cost, convenience, and ease, online therapy and virtual may become your go-to option because, with a single click of a mouse, you can get instant and inexpensive access to some of the world’s best therapists and their wide-ranging mental health services.