There may come a time in your life when you’ll need professional help in matters of mental health and wellbeing, and that’s absolutely ok! Whether it’s grief, a transitional struggle, or matters of anxiety, depression, and trauma, a therapist can help guide you through the toughest times in order to make way for the newer and better.
While in-office counseling is still widely used, many are turning to online therapy services thanks to their convenience and overwhelmingly positive feedback. Through an online therapy service, you can find a therapist that suits your needs and schedule, and conduct your online therapy sessions from the comfort and privacy of your personal space. All therapists are fully licensed and experienced, and many specialize in targeted areas of wellness.
Affordably online therapy is often the best option for people with busy schedules, limited or unreliable transportation, or a wariness of visiting a brick-and-mortar office. However, as with any step towards a healthier, more productive life, it’s important that you make the most of your online therapy sessions by keeping a few things in mind.
Here are 5 ways you can get the absolute best out of your counseling services:
1. Select Your Therapist With Care
It may be tempting to pick any therapist at random from an online counseling service, but do take the time to read through all credentials and patient reviews first. All online therapy service websites list their available therapists along with extensive background information concerning their education, experience, and personal philosophies regarding their method of practice. Don’t be afraid to message your prospective selections with any questions or concerns before booking a session–they welcome it, in fact! By getting to know your therapist ahead of time, you can ensure a stable and long-lasting rapport.
2. Keep Your Appointments
While the convenience of an online therapist is hard to beat, the platform, unfortunately, makes it easy to skip out on sessions at the scheduled time. Maybe you’ve had a long day and just want to log off of everything; perhaps you tell yourself “oh, I’ll reschedule for next week.” It’s important that you remember that an online therapist is no different from an in-office professional, and failure to show up to appointments–even if they are in front of a computer–could result in cancellation fees, or, if the habit is recurring, having that therapist drop you altogether.
Remember, time is sacred for everyone, and there’s no better use for it than devoting yours to your health and wellbeing.
3. Keep A Journal
Most health professionals recommend keeping a journal no matter who you are or whether you’re undergoing counseling. Writing down your thoughts, emotions, and reflections can not only provide clarity and help you detect certain crucial patterns but allow you to bring up certain observations to your online therapist at your next session. Journaling is also a great “venting” tool, helping to relieve stress, frustrations, and in-the-moment reactions in a nondestructive and often enlightening exercise.
4. Try To Limit Distractions
One of the few downsides to online therapy services is that you will have to make your own secure space and ensure that it remains free from interruptions. While an in-office visit provides a private and undisturbed environment, it will be your responsibility to procure that. If you live with roommates or family, let them know when you will be undergoing an online session, and politely ask them to be mindful of any noise or commotion, and not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency.
It’s important that your therapist be able to conduct the session just as they would in-office, and you will need to give them your full attention. It may also help to schedule a time when you know you will have your home or office to yourself, such as after children’s bedtimes or when occupants are out.
5. Give It Time
Online therapy may not be for everyone, but until you give it enough time you will never know what potential it holds for you. There will likely be an adjustment period, either in terms of getting used to the platform or getting to know your therapist, and this is absolutely normal. Don’t be too quick to jump to any dismissive conclusions or write the sessions off after only a few appointments; healing takes time and trusting that your therapist knows what he or she is doing will go a long way in establishing a healthy and productive relationship.
If something makes you uncomfortable or even annoyed, speak up so your therapist can help find a more suitable alternative, or offer valuable suggestions. If you really feel like you’ve given it your all and online therapy just isn’t for you, your current therapist can help steer you in a more preferable direction, as well as lay out your options.
Convenient and affordable, online therapy is a wonderful new addition to the many options available to those seeking help in all walks of life. Thousands have benefited from the online therapy model, and there’s no reason to believe you can’t be one of them. If you’re embarking on online therapy for the first time, keep an open mind and remember that meeting your therapist halfway can make all the difference.
Stick to your scheduled session times, keep your designated space free of outside turmoil, and do your own personal homework such as journaling and remaining open in communications. The road ahead to happiness and peace of mind may not be short or easy, but you will know you are committed to it 100%.