Traditional therapy has been around for many decades and it involves a person visiting their therapist but with internet bridging the gap between continents, everything is slowly becoming virtual and accessible with just a few clicks and that’s exactly what has happened with psychologists as well. With online therapy services, you can get the same level of commitment and privacy as with traditional therapy, and, with added bonuses too!
We understand that mental well being is vital for healthy living, which is why you realise its importance when something goes amiss and you are referred to a therapist. In this situation, traditional therapy is of course a great choice but if scheduling, expense and urgency are your major pain points in starting psychological therapy, then consider subscribing to an online therapy service which gives you the access to get counselling from real psychologist via voice, video and messaging systems.
This is a developing feature where we will be adding more services and including benefits of eCounselling so you can see how convenient online therapy can be!
How Online Therapy Services work?
All online therapy services work more or less the same way; you signup, speak to an agent/bot about what your issue could be about. Depending on the eCounselling service, you are then assigned to a suitable psychologist. You then pay the fee and get started with your therapy.
Now the biggest dilemma here is what if you do not get along with your therapist, what then? Not to worry, most eCounselling services allow you to change your therapist at no additional cost. You may wonder if the whole online communication thing even works? Yes it does! There have been many studies confirming that online medium is effective! A simple Google search will bring you the required results & studies for it. Your next concern could be how do you communicate? The answer is simple, there are text messages, audio and video allowed via a secure platform. I have taken the liberty of mentioning everything with each eCounselling service so you can weigh the pros and cons between each online therapy service yourself and decide which suits you the most.
ONLINE THERAPY SERVICES
The name speaks for itself. MDLive is not just for medical conditions but for behavioural conditions as well. Simply signup for free and request to see a doctor. You can select a time, date and even a doctor if you know whom you are looking for. Next step is basic questionnaire that you need to fill out like medical conditions, allergies, past surgeries if any, and then you fill out your payment information. Speaking of payment, you pay $59/- for your first consult.
Something worth mentioning here, if you are looking for a provider who can prescribe medication, then yes at MDLive some providers can write a prescription for non-narcotic medications (i.e. no controlled substances), which can be sent directly to the pharmacy of your choice. You should look at their FAQ
BetterHelp works pretty much the same way TalkSpace does except that BetterHelp has just one (slightly expensive) package. To get started, you have to answer some basic questions about your current well-being and within few minutes you are asked to create an account. The only plan that they have costs $45/Week and its charged to either your credit card or PayPal account for a total of $180/Month. The payment is charged every 4 weeks till you cancel your subscription. They used to have a free trial as well, but for some reason they removed it. Now, if you are wondering what it is that you get in $180/M amount, then the answer is ‘unlimited eCounselling with your matched counsellor which by definition of their FAQ page is unlimited messaging via web platform and/or iOS/Android app, live chatting, speaking over the phone and video conferencing. If you are anything like me (hesitant), you will think a few times before typing in your payment info, which will then result in you being paired automatically with a licensed therapist! So… look out for that email. The messaging area is neat and gives you the option for basic styling, adding attachments, marking a message ‘urgent’ and, a drop down menu for scheduling a live session with your therapist. Even if you haven’t paid for the therapist, this message will showcase his/her license and some credentials that you can Google further. BetterHelp allows you to change your therapist if you are not satisfied with the current match. A bit on the expensive side, BetterHelp doesn’t have a human agent in the beginning to match you, but an AI. The questions you will have answered initially before signup will all be there in the messaging area for you and your therapist to review.
With the clean soothing interface and all the relevant information available to convince you that it’s a safe place to be yourself, TalkSpace comes highly recommended.
To start using their service, simply get started by creating an account. You are then connected with an agent via a messaging window who asks you your reasons for wanting to start therapy. This agent is never a chat bot or AI, always a human. Your messages are encrypted on their servers, and all communication between their softwares/apps and the servers are encrypted as well. Their technology is fully HIPAA compliant too.
Okay, now more about TalkSpace, once you select a plan for yourself, you are matched with a certified therapist by a human agent. You cannot select a therapist for yourself, their agent will do it based on the questions you will have answered. All therapists are fully licensed and already have over 3000 hours of clinical experience. TalkSpace has covered every question on their FAQ page, yet you can always reach them via phone or email.
They claim to have four plans – ULTIMATE $99/Week – Therapist responds to your messages 2 times per day + weekly 45 minute live(video, audio or chat) sessions, PREMIUM $49/Week – Therapist responds to your messages 2 times per day + one 30 minute live(video, audio or chat) session per month, PLUS $39/Week – Therapist responds to your messages 2 times per day and BASIC maintenance $32/Week – This plan in particular, is suggested after 12 weeks of therapeutic treatment as your therapist only responds to your messages 1 time per day. Couples Therapy costs $59/Week.
For payment, they accept all major debit/credit cards and PayPal. They do not have a free trial but they do offer a money back guarantee if you are not happy with their service. Alternatively, if you are not happy with the therapist you are assigned, you can ask them to pair you with another person. You can message your therapist 24/7 via iOS and Android apps. If you are not a messaging person, you can send voice recordings and/or video messages as well.
TalkSpace doesn’t require you to be in the USA or UK, you could be anywhere in the world and still be able to get therapy. Our special links give $30 off on the first month. And their refer-a-friend program gives $50 off every time someone signs up using your special code.
Type A Thought
Functioning since just over a year now, Type-A-Thought is Indian-based online counselling service. Their process is fairly simple – you start off with pressing “Free Chat” on their homepage which takes you to a chat room where you can enter by typing in your email address. Once connected, you speak to the next available therapist for 20 minutes for free. You do not have to answer to bots or AI – which I think is very good. If you wish to start therapy they have a full page where all the available plans are mentioned. Simply select one and pay. All plans are monthly and the prices are in INR currency but you can pay via Debit Card, Wallet, Net Banking, Credit Card, and UPI. Like others mentioned here, you can converse with your therapist via a video session, a chat over text message, or email or phone call.
Good Therapy works more like an information and resource centre than a service where you get paired with a therapist. On the upside, they have a huge directory of licensed therapists in many countries round the world. And the directory doesn’t just give you results for therapists, but marriage counsellors, psychologists and child counsellors as well. The profile of each person is extensive and you can see their rates, contact information, services they provide, types of therapies performed and links to private practice (if any). Like any good listing website, Good Therapy gives memberships to licensed professionals who wishes to be part of their reputed listing.
And that’s our very short list of online therapy services that we have so far tested out! Since this is a developing feature, we will be adding more overviews or reviews of where online psychologist are giving e counselling and online marriage counselling sessions.
Since our current list is very small, please give us your recommendations in the comments bellow and we will mention them in our feature without mentioning your name 🙂