Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist and turned down the idea because you couldn’t find a therapist you liked closeby, or the therapist didn’t have hours that matched with your schedule? Maybe you’re intrigued by the idea of online counseling and don’t know where to start. Ads for online counseling services are popping up everywhere lately, touting the benefits of using technology to provide a service that is usually linked to a one-on-one meeting in a private office. What is this all about?
What is online counseling? Most practitioners use this term to mean therapy that consists of mostly or entirely work through live video conferencing, email, texting or instant messaging, real-time chat, or phone service over the internet. For this post, I’m using the word online counseling to describe using a video service to connect and have sessions with a therapist who is not physically present.
What are some of the reasons people use online counseling? People utilize online therapy for a wide variety of reasons.
How do I find an online counselor? There are several companies that provide online therapy utilizing a ‘membership’ type style where you pay a fee and get access (often unlimited) to a therapist of your choosing for a set period of time, usually a month. But if you look, you’ll find that many therapists who have a brick-and-mortar office offer online services as well. If you’re seeing a therapist in person, you might want to ask if this is something they provide or are willing to look into.
What to look for in an online counselor: It can be overwhelming looking for an online therapist. In the United States where I practice, each state has one or more regulatory boards that provide laws and guidance regarding how a therapist or counselor can work online. For most states, and in my own state of Ohio, the therapist must be licensed in the state where you, the client, lives. So I can’t legally and ethically provide therapy for someone in California but can for anyone anywhere in Ohio. The laws are constantly changing, though, so keep an eye on it. Of course, it’s your therapist’s job to ensure that they are legally allowed to treat you.
If you’ve used online therapy, what has been your experience?
It seems like there's an app for everything these days. I was interviewed about this question. Here's a link to the video.
By Jen Hargreave and Jenise Harmon
Here are a few things I've learned about supporting a loved one with mental health issues:
A person suffering likely can't tell you what they need at the moment. The pain and feelings of isolation and worthlessness feel permanent, and they feel like they're drowning. Just like you wouldn't ask an actual drowning victim how you can help, don't ask a depressed person what you can do. Jump in. DO something. Saying "I'm bringing you by some dinner" is more powerful than saying "can I bring you by some dinner?" Declining help that is offered is much easier than asking for things.
Here are some links and resources to help friends and family of people suffering from depression and other mental health issues. National Alliance on Mental Illness, Help for Friends and Family Members of People with Depression,
There are many resources out there for family members and loved ones of those suffering from mental Heath issues as well. It's important to take care of yourself, too- be sure not to allow caring for another to negatively affect your health.
Weddings are stressful: there’s the cake, the location, the dress and the guest list to figure out. A great deal of time and money is spent on this major life event.
And although your wedding is something that you will remember forever, far too often couples pay more attention to the celebration of their new life together than to the nuts and bolts of their new life as a couple.
When two people make a commitment to each other, there are some important things that need to be discussed.
People seek marriage or relationship therapy for many reasons. For some people, it’s because of a crisis, such as infidelity, job loss, illness or accidents.
Others come in because they feel distant and want to grow closer, or they seek counseling before they marry to sort out any difficulties and ensure that they’re ready for life together.
Some couples simply know that something feels wrong but they don’t know what, and they want to fix it.
But once you and your partner have decided to seek counseling, how do you make the most of it? Here are six things to consider.
You will be asked to make changes in your behavior and how you think about things. But marriage counseling works. It can help people find more joy in one another. It can promote growth and healing.
Hopefully you will walk away with a better understanding of yourself, your partner, and your relationship. And these are things you can use for the rest of your life.
Jenise Harmon, LISW-S is the founder of New Wings Counseling and a licensed therapist who specializes working with individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and general life struggles.