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While there’s undoubtedly been a major cultural shift in the collective perception of mental health and treatment for psychiatric disorders, finding a therapist that you click with—whether you’re looking for cognitive behavioral therapy or emotion-focused therapy still isn’t exactly a seamless or judgment-proof process. As the growing effort to remove the stigma that’s shadowed the discourse surrounding mental and psychological health for ages continues to widen, teletherapy (therapy sessions conducted via phone calls, video conferences, and chat) has become increasingly available and desirable, thanks in part to more convenience and flexibility with appointments, along with the current social distancing measures in place due to the pandemic.
Aside from that, many patients simply feel more comfortable and relaxed during sessions when they’re in the comfort of their own home rather than a potentially intimidating clinical setting. As a side note, even if you don’t have a mental health diagnosis under your belt, we have our ups and downs, and frankly, it’s just nice to have an outsider’s prescriptive—yes, your friends and family are not only trained professionals, but they can also be (lovingly) biased.
Even when you’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to give therapy a shot, finding the right therapist or mental health care provider can be a struggle—whether you’re looking for in-person or virtual care. Often times, it’s a grueling process of trial and error, and the first one or two candidates don’t quite feel like the best fit. This process can be pretty discouraging, and can often leave those in need exhausted (because no one wants to re-hash their life story again and again to new people before meeting “the one”) resulting in giving up in therapy altogether. In fact, it’s kind of like using dating apps—you give your new date the same “best version of yourself” shpeal as if you’re on a job interview, only to discover the chemistry is off, or you get ghosted and have to move onto the next match.
Fortunately, just like dating apps (and first-time dates held over a Zoom call), most online therapy platforms make choosing the right therapist for you, your lifestyle and concerns pretty easy by asking you a series of questions and taking intel on your personal preferences (i.e. which gender you prefer and what type of symptoms or experiences you’re looking to work on). Sure, it’s not a foolproof process, but you are able to choose between a few recommended professionals that meet your criteria. In my experience, there is absolutely nothing more isolating than suffering from a mental health episode and feeling as though you’re alone in the harrowing journey to simply feel like yourself again — let alone feel happy.
While medication is often a necessary part of treatment, talk therapy has really helped me identify common thought patterns (for me, they’re anxiety-fueled cognitive distortions) which has helped me become more self-aware and able to distinguish when it’s my anxiety (I like to think of “her” a separate entity rather than an imbalance of mood-modulating neurotransmitters in my brain) talking versus my logical mind. Of course, one common critique of telemental health is that the therapeutic benefits will be lesser than face-to-face sessions. While this will vary for each person, some studies have indicated that virtual therapy can be just as effective as in-person care.
Finally, although it sucks to say it, therapy can be downright expensive—especially if you don’t have insurance or government health care assistance. Ahead, we’ve outlined some online therapy resources for a variety of different budgets to help you get the care you need (and 100 percent deserve) without having to step foot in a daunting medical office.
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Talkspace gives you access to thousands of licensed and background-checked professionals without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Depending on which medium you choose to use for your sessions (video, cat. call, etc) will dictate the pricing, but it starts at just $69 per month (prices vary depending on the service you select) if you want to give it a risk-free shot. The one advantage I found with TalkSpace is that I could vent via chat whether it was early morning or late night when a situation arose, rather than having to wait around to see my therapist at our set appointments on Friday. The ability to just type out the situation that had occurred and how I felt about it immediately (although you can’t expect an immediate response at midnight) was also helpful in and of itself.
Regardless of whether you’re dealing with symptoms related to hormones (i.e. postpartum depression) or a lifelong battle with Bipolar disorder, Amwell is here to help. They have a huge network of licensed and experienced professionals trained to deal with not only hormonal-based “phases,” but also OCD, life transitions, PTSD, chronic insomnia, and even couple’s therapy.
Specializing in specific LGBTQ+ concerns, Pride Counseling gives you access to trained doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists to talk to remotely. Whether you’re struggling with the idea of coming out to your family or simply having relationship issues, Pride Counselling offers a forum of non-judgemental professionals to help you get through, and learn better coping mechanisms and communication skills along the way.