Choosing an online therapist can feel like a daunting task. Going to therapy on its own is a challenge. There are many preconceived notions tied to the experience. When you add the idea of doing therapy virtually it can be even more overwhelming. I have some great tips to help you work through the process of choosing a new online therapist.
How to Pick an Online Therapist
***** Are you in crisis? Before I continue, if you or someone you know is considering suicide please call the national suicide prevention helpline. In the U.S. the number is 1-800-273-TALK. Suicide.org has a list of lines for other areas in the world. You can also text the crisis text line. Text HELLO to 741741 to speak with someone. Right now, this post is not the answer you need if you are in the middle of a crisis. Reach out to someone who can help you. You are not alone.
**Disclaimer – Not all services and care are created equal. If you feel unsafe in a therapy situation, it is ok to terminate a session and reach out to the people in charge to make sure you are in a safe situation.
What services does your insurance cover?
When planning on making the move to an online therapy option, you will need to reach out to your insurance about their coverage options. Some insurance providers will only allow you to use their app while others may have more lenient guidelines. There are also some others who will not allow virtual therapy options at all. Talk to the insurance about your coverage options, copays, and limits of coverage. It will help you to move into the next steps more easily.
Which apps offer the best doctors?
If your insurance lets you choose from multiple apps it may help to look through each of the apps. Taking time to see which providers and appointment times are available can help you to make the best decision. It can also help to do some research on the different apps and their reviews to see who has the best reviews. While doing research, look at accredition of the mental health professionals on the app and the complaints for the app.
Spend some time learning the app/website.
When searching for an online therapist, it helps to start by familiarizing yourself with the app/website itself. There’s a bit of a learning curve with these websites. Some will let you filter by specialty, gender, or qualifications. Others will leave you to read through a long list of providers with little to no search parameter help. Take some time to learn to navigate the program, set up payment methods, and add your insurance to it.
Read professional profiles
Most of these apps/websites will have profiles for the therapists. This will allow you to read up a bit on where they were trained, types of therapy they utilize, and other facts about them. This can be a great way to get a feel for the therapist. If they do not practice a type of therapy you are comfortable with or do not specialize in your struggle, you may need to choose someone else.
What if they aren’t a fit?
When doing virtual therapy, one of the biggest fears is that it won’t be a strong fit. In fact, many will be afraid that they’ll get stuck with an underqualified therapist or one who isn’t a good fit? While there is an adjustment period with any therapist, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it is not a great fit because the person is not meant to give you care. If you are struggling with a provider, it is ok to end the session and speak with those managing the program to find out how to switch providers while staying with your insurance.
Virtual Therapy App Options
I do not vouch for any of these programs or align myself to any of their views. This is simply a list for you to use as a starting point. Speaking with your insurance provider would be the best starting point.
- Doctor on Demand
- MDLive – (This is the one I currently use and I have had some struggles and some wins. It may involve a bit of time invested but if you’re intentional about it, you’ll find a great option!”