How To Find the Best Online Counseling Available According to Experts
There are nearly 10 million Americans living with a severe mental health condition according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This shocking statistic reveals that mental illness is even more common than you may have suspected. In this article, we will take a look at tips from experts on how to find the best online counseling available to suit your individual needs.
The Need For Online Counseling
Unfortunately, there is a severe shortage of mental health experts worldwide. In the United States, over 50% of U.S. districts lack a practicing mental health professional. This is appalling in the face of such widespread mental illness. One of the benefits of online counseling is that it can reach individuals who are seeking help from the comfort of their own homes.
What Is E-counseling.com?
This website is widely considered to be a “go-to” resource for online counseling and therapy. If you are overwhelmed and seeking the best online counseling route, E-counseling.com has already done the hard work for you! Their experts have tested the leading online counseling services, and you can browse their recommendations and reviews to determine the best online counseling fit for you! According to their website:
“Our team consists of individuals who pride themselves on staying on top of the latest news and trends within the counseling arena. More importantly, we provide an in-depth analysis of every leading e-counseling service. Our research is particularly important in this industry, considering the fact that technology is involved. Since technology is constantly changing, e-counseling services frequently change with it. It is our hope to provide as many people as possible with the most pertinent information about these changes and all things related to E-counseling."
Tragic Celebrity Suicides Are Raising Awareness About Mental Illness
According to the Wallstreet Journal, suicide hotline calls jumped 25% after the celebrity suicide deaths of chef and food writer, Anthony Bourdain, and fashion designer, Kate Spade. The tragic deaths of these renowned celebrities are raising awareness for mental illness.
There is often a stigma attached to mental illness, but the deaths of these celebrities and others are eradicating the misconceptions by showing the world a new face of mental illness. Mental health conditions have many names including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, autism, and ADHD.
Gisele Bündchen Shared Her Personal Struggles In Her New Memoir
In her eye-opening memoir, “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life”, supermodel Gisele Bündchen revealed that she suffered from severe panic attacks that led to suicidal thoughts. She began to make healthier food and lifestyle choices that made a tremendously beneficial impact on her, and she never looked back.
It is time to recognize that even the most successful, beautiful, famous, and seemingly flawless people can and do suffer from mental health conditions too. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that one out of every 5 adults will experience a mental health condition every year. Half of these mental health conditions will begin by the age of 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by the age of 24. Sadly, this means that people diagnosed with a mental health condition will most likely be impacted by it for the rest of their adult life.
Fortunately, mental health conditions do not define people. For individuals with a severe mental health condition that makes it difficult for them to function on a daily basis, there is still hope. Perhaps first and foremost the most comforting thought to keep in mind for these individuals and their families is that they are not alone. Millions can and do relate, and there are multiple avenues available to help them with their mental health diagnosis including the best online counseling options available.
I had the distinct honor and privilege of conducting an interview with Stacey Levy regarding her website, E-counseling.com. Her insightful and professional answers shed light on how to find the best online counseling for each and every individual suffering from a mental health disorder.
Interview with Expert Stacey Levy About the Best Online Counseling Options Available
Kaitlin: How do you source the counselors?
Stacey Levy: Since technology is such a big part of our lives and has been disrupting many areas of business, many online therapy providers don't need to go out and "hunt" for therapists. The therapists generally come and apply by themselves since some of these platforms have a really big name/brand already.
Kaitlin: What are the prerequisites for counselors to practice?
Generally speaking, therapists that work through online counseling platforms are required to have a degree, the proper state licensing, and a certain amount of hands-on experience. Some therapy providers even hold one on one interviews with the therapists prior to being accepted to the platform. Because it's such a long process, in some instances, only 15-20% of therapists end up working with these online platforms.
Kaitlin: How are the counselors tailored to suit the client’s needs?
Stacey Levy: Every online therapy provider is different. However, the biggest names in the industry all use automated technology to connect clients with a suitable therapist. This comes in the form of a questionnaire which takes roughly 4-5 minutes to complete. Depending on the type of mental illness you are suffering from (based on your answers to the questionnaire), the company will then match you to the appropriate therapist.
Kaitlin: Could you give us an example of what the online process between counselor and client looks like?
Stacey Levy: Sure, however, it's important to note that every interaction is individual and thus varies greatly from person to person. In general, clients can interact with their therapist via three options to choose from: video, phone or text-based therapy. Most people likely start off using text therapy, which comes in the form of a secured chat room that is only accessible to you and your therapist. The layout and usability is simple. Think of WhatsApp or your standard SMS format on your phone. This is how your personalized chat room will look like. Within this chat room, there is an option to schedule a live phone or video sessions via a web-based calendar. For the most part, clients are limited to only a handful of video/phone sessions per month. If you'd like more, you will, in all likelihood, need to pay for each additional video/phone session.
Kaitlin: Does your site provide Christian counseling options?
Stacey Levy: Though many people are looking for faith-based counseling options like Christian counseling, and even though online counseling is becoming popular, there aren't many services that offer Christian counseling. We do cover this though and which services are the best rated in this area.
Kaitlin: What are the benefits of online counseling vs. counseling in an office setting?
Stacey Levy: There are a long list of benefits (and shortfalls as well, as is the case with everything in life). With online counseling, we'll start with the obvious: it's more convenient. People are busier than ever and are constantly on the go. Online therapy completely eliminates this issue. Secondly, you get more bang for your buck. Most services offer unlimited counseling throughout the month. Text with your therapist as much as you'd like. Thirdly, it's more efficient. Fourth, there are more communication channels. Fifth (and this is a big one), it eliminates stigmas. Oftentimes people that need help will schedule an appointment with a therapist, drive up to their office building, and turn around and go home...all because of discomfort. With online counseling, you have the ability to remain anonymous (you can in many cases uses an alias). This brings me to my seventh point: total confidentiality and anonymity. Your counseling sessions are protected by various state and federal laws (HIPAA). They cannot be shared or viewed with anyone.
Kaitlin: Is online counseling more cost-effective?
Stacey Levy: For the most part, yes. It really depends on how often a person sees their in-office therapist and what they pay. It's also important to point out that online counseling should not completely replace your traditional counseling sessions. It should be used as an extension to it. This means you can reduce your weekly in-office therapy sessions by adding in some online counseling sessions into your routine. That said, the average cost of an in-office therapy session is roughly $150 (even if it's cheaper with co-pay, you are still paying for that insurance which must be factored in). If you're going twice a week, that's $1,200/month you're shelling out for therapy. With online counseling through a major provider, you are paying roughly $50/week. One small caveat is that these companies oftentimes advertise a weekly price, however, they charge you monthly. Still, $200/month is an affordable price. If you can reduce your bi-weekly in-office sessions to weekly, you can save several hundreds of dollars per month, even with the addition of online counseling.
Kaitlin: How does the client find the best counselor for him/her without being overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of options?
Stacey Levy: As mentioned above, this is not something most people have to worry about if they sign up with a top-rated service. These platforms use technology/artificial intelligence to help match them with the most appropriate therapist. These major companies have mentioned that the overwhelming majority of people (more than 9 out of 10) are satisfied with the therapist they are matched with. Another positive here is that if for some reason you are not satisfied with the therapist you have been matched with, you can always request a change.
Kaitlin: Do you have anything else you would like to share or add?
Stacey Levy: There's so much more to add here, but I'll leave you with this. Online therapy is new. It has many benefits but also some downfalls. It should not completely replace your traditional counseling; rather it should be used in addition to it. People should really consider this option, but temper their expectations. Oftentimes people go in thinking this will either solve all of their problems or won't do anything at all - two extremes. It's important to go in with an open mind. Having another outlet can really help.
In conclusion, the best online counseling can make a world of difference for someone suffering from a mental health disorder of any kind. If you are suffering from a mental health disorder, you are one of many, and you are not alone. To learn more about Stacey Levy’s website and how you can receive help, please visit E-counseling.com by clicking here.