In the age of digital communication, it only seemed a natural progression to move health services onto our laptops and smartphones. Whilst many people moan about their local doctor wanting an initial telephone call over a physical meeting, as to save time and money, it appears that communicating online for therapy is highly welcomed.
Perhaps this is something to do with the nature of therapy – that many people are shy about it, perhaps even suffering from social anxiety and wanting treatment specifically for that, and thus a phone call or even text message can be a safe first step. It’s much more imaginable that a teenager downloads a therapy app long into the night after browsing how to seek help than it is for them to organize a physical meeting at the daunting office of a $60 per hour therapist.
So, just how much does online therapy cost, then?
How much does online counseling cost?
Online therapy is unsurprisingly much cheaper than traditional therapy, which is one of many reasons behind its success. With much lower overheads, a more efficient workflow, and many more ways to generate revenue, online therapy has a broad range of prices unlike traditional therapy.
Online therapy for cheap is certainly available. Whilst you can receive some services for free, generally expect rough pricing of $40-90 per week. However, there are often promotions floating about, meaning it can be even cheaper when first signing up to help save money on therapy.
Is online therapy effective?
Research has found that online therapy can deliver similar results to traditional therapy. For anxiety, trauma, and depression, in particular, online therapy has proven to be effective in its intended treatment.
The mode of communication and its seemingly negligible differences is well studied. Therapy is therapy, regardless of whether it’s face-to-face or over the phone. Whilst there may be some companies that deliver a better service than others (which is why researching your chosen company is important), on paper it’s all the same.
The only caveat here could be group therapy, which does benefit from in-person socializing and building relationships with one another. The group dynamic doesn’t work quite so well over the internet, though online communities are thriving and some prefer the online dynamic.
Is it covered by insurance?
Generally, coverage for mental health services differs between the insurance provider and the policy you have. The bad news is there is no single answer to this. However, the good news is that there are a handful of major insurers that the majority of people use, and there is a list of the best therapy sites that take insurance. So, by putting the two together, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out your own situation.
The different types of mental health apps
Below are the different types of mental health apps that are available, as well as the best providers within each category.
Online therapy apps
Online therapy apps as discussed in this article are the major category worth talking about when it comes to treating mental health – there just is no replacement for a qualified therapist. Within this category are many providers, but Talkspace, Cerebral, and Amwell are some of the most noteworthy companies that are providing a slick, affordable online service.
Amwell stands out as being able to provide psychiatric treatment, something that is rarely provided among the new therapy apps. This highlights that we could further divide this into two subcategories if necessary: fintech-driven online therapy sites and telemedicine companies. The former tends to focus on the utmost sophisticated technology to efficiently connect clients to therapists, whilst the latter tends to be more traditional healthcare companies offering a wider range of healthcare services like psychiatry. Of course, there are companies that fit neither – or both – subcategories.
Journals and mood trackers
Next up is a self-sustaining approach to self-reflecting. Jotting down each day how we feel, how our day went, what we’re grateful for, and so on can really help us get to grips with our problems. It can be a useful reminder of the things to be appreciative of as well as frame our problems in a tangible way by writing them down and getting them off our chest.
MoodTracker, Daylio, and Moody Log are some popular mood tracker apps, whilst Diaro and Journey are fine for a basic journal.
Mindfulness is a hugely popular way to keep ourselves level-headed, relaxed, and in the present moment to minimize anxieties. Meditation is a big part of this, which is why Waking Up: Guided Meditation and Headspace are two highly influential and popular apps. Both can talk you through some guided meditations to help bring you into that present moment, but also train you along the way to be self-sufficient with the same techniques.
Finally, like mindfulness, performing some exercise can be a great stress reliever and ultimately a free, natural way to feel better. There’s no need to pay for an app to tell you how to exercise – you could literally go outside and run, do jumping jacks, or pick up heavy objects. This is why Caliverse, Freeletics, and Map My Run are all popular. However, apps like Strong do have premium upgrades if you’re looking for paid content, high-level features, and lots of performance tracking.
Mental health chatbots
A mental health chatbot is like an AI version of the online therapy apps. However, it’s extremely important for these to be in a separate category because in no way can a computer replace a real therapist. Still, they can be of great help and offer their own unique advantages, such as instant replies.
Woebot is a highly popular one, in which it can identify your mood, somewhat performs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on you, and can notify you in the evenings to check in on you. Wysa and Joyable are some other options too. This can be a great first step in seeking more comprehensive help from an online therapist.
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