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5 Reasons to Try Online Therapy (Even After the COVID-19 Outbreak Is Over)

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In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system, I’m practicing social distancing (I hope you are too) in hopes to “flatten the curve.”  But this does not mean I don’t think you shouldn’t try to go about your daily life in as much normalcy as possible.  Part of that is taking care of your mental health.

Therapy, like so much of healthcare, has gone online. I personally have been practicing teletherapy for almost four years. It’s still a bit of a wild, wild west in terms of what’s OK or not (For example, do you talk to someone while they’re driving? Is that considered dangerous? What if that’s the only time they have and they’re trying to get their mental health taken care of in the only way they can?). But I will say that I love doing therapy online.

Here are a few reasons why:

1.  It’s so convenient.

Seriously, you can’t beat being able to do therapy in your PJs (me included!). Also, I’m much more likely to talk to clients from my home at non-conventional times/days because I don’t have to go anywhere.  Some therapists don’t ascribe to this, but I don’t mind talking to you at 8 p.m. on a Sunday if we’re both going to be home and not busy anyway.

2.  Some people are more likely to actually attempt therapy if it’s online.

I work with a lot of neurodiversity, including folks on the autism spectrum. Many of my patients feel very uncomfortable in real space, and prefer to not look me in the eye. I’m not trying to make them “unautistic-looking,” so having this space to practice in where they don’t feel obligated to follow social norms makes it a lot easier.  I even once had a client with severe social anxiety dip her toes into therapy because I was willing to text with her, which made her much more comfortable about the idea of opening up to someone. There’s just certain aspects of this modality for certain populations that have major advantages over traditional face-to-face therapy.

3.  It’s a busy person’s dream.

I am a busy lady. I contract with a company, have two businesses of my own and I have three kids. I’m busy. I know I’m not alone. I am a therapist who doesn’t mind if you drive while I talk to you (although you better believe that’s in my paperwork that you do that at your own risk). I think that people who are trying to address their mental health, no matter what else they’re doing, are trying to take care of their mental health needs. I would much rather you be 75% focused on our session, and 25% focused on folding laundry than get 0% therapy because you have so many things to do.

4. It’s typically the same rate as in-person therapy.

If you’re going to take care of your mental health, why not do it this way?  Also, many insurance plans do cover telehealth therapy. Check with your carrier to see if your specific plans covers this.

5. You can find someone who specializes in your needs even if they don’t live in the exact same location as you.

Like I said, I specialize in neurodiversity (also women’s issues, special education and psychological assessment). I live in Texas, meaning if you live in Texas, even on the other side of this gigantic state, you can be my client. So if you’ve got wicked bad ADHD, 10 hours away from me in El Paso, I can still help you. Unfortunately, therapists like myself are bound to state licenses, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t licensed in multiple states (I personally plan to be licensed in Florida and Colorado this year). But if you’re in a rural area, you most definitely should look to online therapy to find someone who can actually meet your therapeutic needs.

So that’s it. Give it a try. I’ve found that people are often even more vulnerable (and therefore we can get to deeper stuff) online than in person. And given the current global health situation, we need to protect our bodies and our minds. Please find yourself a qualified mental health professional, and try out some online therapy!

Concerned about coronavirus? Stay safe using the tips from these articles:

GettyImages photo via Olha Khorimarko

Originally published: March 18, 2020
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