There’s no doubt about the fact that ‘talk therapy’ is costly enough and not all can afford this therapy.
Individuals without proper health insurance coverage or those who can’t afford the hefty costs of these sessions may wish to watch out for a reliable online therapist who offers services for free. Although free online therapy is tough to find but it is not something impossible!
As per research and studies, online therapy or mental health assistance over telephone or any other device is equally effective as the conventional in-person therapy.
If you too are someone who is on the lookout for the best online therapist for free, this post is for you. We are going to discuss the alternative options for those who are struggling to find out the free therapy services.
Free Online Therapy – Where to Find
There are few organizations and therapists that offer free online therapy for those who experience depression, anxiety and other types of mental health problems. Nevertheless, there is often a limit to the total number of free session that the therapist offers online for his clients.
For people with specific issues, few sessions might be enough to bring them back on track and for some others, they may need further counseling sessions.
With the help of the free sessions that are available to the clients, they can soon decide whether or not therapy is the proper choice for them. You can check out the following places if you’re looking forward to seeking help of an online therapist.
- Universities or Colleges: There are several universities and colleges that have health centers that offer free counseling services to students who are not able to afford the high-cost services. They also conduct stress and anxiety management workshops. Few of these workshops are also conducted online.
- Workplaces: There are several employers that offer some kind of counseling service to their employees. These are called employee assistance programs that are available through the HR (Human Resource) departments. Some such programs often include online therapy.
- State Health Departments: You may visit the state health department websites that list local mental health services and some of these can offer online therapy at times
- Mental Health Organizations: There are several mental health institutions and charity organizations that often offer free counseling services. These programs have a specific area of focus. For instance, the victims of domestic violent can be offered a number of therapy sessions as against the victims of sexual abuse.
Online Therapy – How much is it effective?
As per reports and studies in 2019, telemental health definitely works as because the clients have very easy access to the therapy providers. Later on, a review done in 2020 supports these results further mentioning that online therapy is.
- The best for treating all kinds of mental illness.
- Adaptable and flexible.
- Equivalent to the in-person mental health counseling services.
Another small group of trials found out that online therapy for treating depression is as helpful as in-person therapy. In fact, the group also suggests that this may lead to a long-term reduction of symptoms 3 months after completing treatment as against in-person therapy.
Some other group of researchers indicated that online CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is highly effective in treating all types of anxiety disorders. One more meta-analysis of 2020 supports the utilization of online CBT for depressive and anxiety disorders.
Online Therapy – Advantages and Disadvantages
Just as with all forms of therapy, this type of therapy provided through online devices also has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Individuals may consider their circumstances and weigh the advantages and disadvantages to decide whether or not online therapy is effective for you.
There are some people who prefer online therapy mainly for the below mentioned reasons.
- Cost-effective: It is seen that online therapy is way more cost-effective for the therapist and the client. Free therapy is best for individuals who neither have health insurance coverage nor are able to pay out-of-pocket.
- Appropriateness: As per the American Psychiatric Association, online therapy or telepsychiatry is appropriate for people of all ages, including adults, adolescents and children. In fact, there are some people with autism who may feel more secure while receiving treatment from the comfort of their home.
- Convenience: Online therapy is highly accessible and also a convenient option for those who reside in rural areas where commuting to a physical therapist is a huge issue. This also reduces the requirement for individuals to take time off from their busy work schedule.
- Security: There are many who find online therapy to offer them high level of confidentiality than in-person treatment. There isn’t any risk of encountering someone at the office of the therapist who may come to know about your mental health issue.
At the same time, online counseling isn’t perfect for everyone. Few potential drawbacks are.
- Technical Glitches: Online therapy can also be subject to different kinds of technical issues like poor internet connection. These issues can disrupt the entire process and lead to stress. Security is yet another consideration.
- Restrained communication: Although research reveals that online therapy is highly effective, it is more challenging for a therapist to understand a body language and non-verbal cues via a laptop screen. Due to this, the therapist may miss a sign that the client is feeling distressed.
- Ethical and legal issues: As per the American Psychological Association, there are few online therapy companies that don’t have properly dictated guidelines on what to do when the client is in a risky situation. You may also make the error of hiring therapists who don’t have the required qualifications for the job.
Therefore, if you’re someone who hesitates about the idea of seeing a counselor or an in-person therapist, you can always try online therapy. Doing your due diligence and research is important in making the right decision for you.