Teletherapy has been used for over 20 years, and has become more popular as internet access and smartphone use has increased. Most recently, as the outbreak of COVID-19 has confined people to their homes and brought a host of stressors, teletherapy has become even more important. The ability to speak with a licensed, experienced counselor from the safety of your home gives teletherapy for mental health a number of benefits, especially right now. If you’ve considered therapy before, but you were uncertain, now may be the perfect time to get extra support.

How Teletherapy for Mental Health Works

Teletherapy for mental health is similar to in-person therapy, except you communicate with your counselor or therapist online. This might be via text chat, video chat, or even email. Teletherapy might be an one-on-one session between you and your counselor, or you might have family therapy sessions including your partner and/or children. You and your counselor will choose a time that works best for all participants for a video chat session. Or, if you’re using a different teletherapy method, this schedule might look different.

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What do I need for teletherapy?

If you prefer video sessions, you’ll need a reliable internet connection to your smartphone or desktop computer. You’ll also need a quiet space and time where you won’t be disturbed. This might be challenging with young children, so a time period earlier in the morning or later at night might be best. It can be helpful to use headphones or earbuds for privacy, and so you can hear your counselor clearly.

How can I find a teletherapy expert?

Many counselors and therapists are currently adding or transitioning to teletherapy for mental health services. Working with an expert near you can give you the option to transition to in-person sessions once quarantine rules are lifted. You might search for mental health professional near you and contact them about teletherapy for mental health. Or, if you’d prefer to stay using teletherapy services, you can expand your search. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides a teletherapy search tool, as does Psychology Today.

Benefits of Teletherapy for Mental Health

Many events have been canceled, normal activities have stopped, and many people are in close quarters with their families. You may be feeling stressed about your responsibilities, your health, finances, the future, or a number of other things. This is a lot for anyone to handle, and teletherapy can be a valuable coping strategy. There are many benefits of teletherapy for mental health, including the following.

1. Just as Effective as In-Person Therapy

While it can be more difficult to read faces or nonverbal cues with teletherapy, studies show that teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. It’s important to keep in mind that this may vary somewhat based on what you are seeking therapy for. Also, it is important to remember therapy requires your participation as well as your therapist’s.

2. No Travel

With teletherapy for mental health, you won’t need to add extra driving time to your schedule. If the therapy clinic of your choice is farther away, this can be an especially important advantage.

3. Easier to Coordinate Schedules

If you’re trying family therapy with your children or partner, it can be difficult to coordinate schedules. With teletherapy, it may be easier to get everyone to participate.

4. Lower Barriers to Start

Many people wait too long to start therapy. Finding a therapist, visiting their office and making time for sessions can seem intimidating. When you can start therapy from the comfort of your home, it may not seem so daunting.

5. Participate from Anywhere

If you live in a rural area or you travel a lot, your options for in-person therapy may be limited. Teletherapy allows you to speak with a licensed counselor no matter where you are.

6. Work with Specialists

If you or a family member is struggling with a particularly uncommon or specific disorder, it can be difficult to find an expert with the right experience. Teletherapy allows you to work with experts anywhere, so you have more options.

7. Easier to Keep Up With

It’s easy for life to get in the way, and making an extra trip to the counselor’s office can easily go by the wayside. When you can start a session when you know you’ll be home and have quiet time, it’s easier to stick with it.

There are many benefits to teletherapy for mental health. Most of us are feeling more stress than usual, and this is an ideal outlet for expressing your anxiety or frustration, and learning healthy coping mechanisms. By attending to your own mental health and wellbeing, you’ll also be in a better place to help your family and friends. Michigan Counseling Centers provides teletherapy services for the duration of Michigan’s Stay at Home Order. Request a consultation online today to get started.