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Online Therapy Services: The Pros and Cons

Online therapy. It’s easily accessible, affordable, and private. You don’t even have to get out of bed if you don’t want to! There’s a ton of options to choose from–a quick internet search gives you more than 10 different online therapy companies to choose from. So…what’s the catch? 

Sometimes, nothing! Sometimes you’re paired with an excellent therapist, someone who sees you as the individual you are. And that’s great! But sometimes, those desperately needing help are caught up in the machine that online therapy services can be. Bounced between therapists who don’t seem to fit them. Feeling unheard or cheated.

In this blog, I’d like to share what I’ve heard from clients who have worked with large online therapy services, their experiences, and what the pros and cons are of online mental health services from large companies vs teletherapy from private practices. 

The Pros of Online Therapy Platforms

Don’t get me wrong! I think many people with various mental health concerns can benefit greatly from the services offered by popular online mental health platforms. And, with nearly 59% of Americans using online therapy, it’s now becoming the new norm for therapy.

Some of the benefits of mental health care from popular online services include:

  • Affordability
  • 24/7 accessibility
  • Tons of options for nearly every location
  • No commitment 

While most of the time these really are benefits, some of my clients have had these “pros” turn into “cons.” 

The Cons of Online Therapy Platforms (and What I Do Differently)

Some of my clients have described the services they received as if they were just another client at the deli. Taking a ticket, getting their product,and then getting brushed over so the next client can be helped. Not very heartwarming, huh? They’ve also experienced:

  • Lack of personal care. Some of my clients who have used online therapy platforms in the past, describe therapists writing their documentation while they were speaking. With little to no eye contact, they felt like the therapist was not really listening to them and more focused on writing notes. When you choose to work with me, I give you the full attention you deserve. Notes are important, but what’s more important is listening to what you have to say, here and now. 
  • Indifference. Clients have said online therapists would send worksheets in the middle of the session for them to read. While yes, I do send psychoeducational worksheets for homework, I only send these sheets after the session has ended. I can’t be fully present for you if I’m emailing attachments, so expect better and don’t let other therapists do that to you!
  • Lack of control. Many platforms don’t give users control over the counselors or therapists it selects for them. While you can switch, you may just be moved to another mental health professional who isn’t the right fit. With a private practice or individual licensed therapist like me, you’re given the opportunity to see who we are and what we specialize in.
  • Not all online therapy is what you think it is. Not all therapists on these platforms offer live video sessions – sometimes, they only offer phone calls or texting. I believe it’s important to meet face to face, via live video chat, so that we can really connect, even if we’re not in the same room.

Your mental health is extremely vital, so when you search for online therapy, be careful who you choose. Do some research, because as an individual with individual needs, you deserve the best. If you have questions about starting therapy, or how therapy with me works, please feel free to reach out.

Dr. Lindsay Howard, Parkland, FL

Dr. Lindsay Howard, Psychologist, Psy.D.

Hi! My name is Lindsay Howard, and I specialize in therapy for the community of Parkland FL. I provide therapy to all adult residents of Florida. Learn more about how I can help you by clicking below, or feel free to schedule a free 15 minute consultation today.

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