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Mental Health Counseling Online

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist)
Reviewer

Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist)

Melissa Dowd received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of CA and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. In addition to her work as a clinical therapist, Melissa is passionate about promoting emotional wellness through leading workshops, guest appearances, and across social media platforms.

May 20, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

What Is Online Mental Health Counseling?

Patients seeking mental health counseling can now see therapists online at their convenience and often at a lower rate than seeing a counselor in-person.

In reality, online counseling is pretty similar to in-person care. If you’ve had an in-person appointment before, you can expect to see much of the same in your online appointment.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

What Does a Mental Health Counselor Do?

Mental health counselors provide support to individuals experiencing emotional and/or psychological distress.

Online therapists commonly practice cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as many other therapeutic modalities, and sessions run just short of an hour. Services like PlushCare allow you to log into their site and join a virtual session with a board-certified therapist.

Your therapist will:

  • Review your mental health history
  • Review your medications and existing diagnoses
  • And then jump into your appointment

Each appointment is essentially a problem-solving session. You describe your current situation and your feelings about it, and then the therapist uses their expertise to assist you in trying to resolve your issues so you can live happier and tackle the problems weighing you down.

Of course, every therapist is different, every client is unique, and every therapist-client relationship is distinct. As such, there is no pattern that every individual session must follow.

Is Online Mental Health Counseling Effective?

Online therapy has been proven to be as effective as in-person mental healthcare for many conditions, including:

According to one study in the Canadian Medical Journal, “…in some cases, online CBT was even more effective than traditional in-person therapy.”

Benefits of Online Mental Health Counseling

While it’s not for everyone, particularly for those with complex diagnoses, many find online therapy to be a convenient, life-changing alternative to traditional in-person solutions.

Here are some of the reasons people may choose online counseling.

  • Online counseling is often less expensive than traditional therapy.
  • Online counseling allows those who can’t get to an office—whether due to long commute times, lack of transportation, or disability—access to mental health services.
  • Speaking to a counselor online can be a less intimidating option than speaking to a therapist in person.
  • Online mental health counseling opens the doors to more flexibility in scheduling your appointments.
  • Those who are embarrassed or shy may find the relative anonymity of online therapy very helpful.
  • Many services also allow you to browse therapists to determine which counselor may work best for you.

How Much Does an Online Therapist Cost?

The cost of online counseling varies greatly depending on what service you choose. Some providers offer only subscription counseling that costs between $65 and $99 per week. That gets pricey really fast!

On average, you should expect to pay about $100 for online counseling. But again, many providers offer subscription services, which can make it far more expensive depending on how much you use the service.

At PlushCare, you can meet with a top online therapist for $119 per session or $99 for weekly sessions. Unlike many other therapy sites that offer text therapy, PlushCare offers clients the opportunity to video chat with their therapist for 45-minute sessions.

Can an Online Counselor Prescribe Medication?

Online counselors, therapists, and social workers cannot prescribe medication. However, if an online therapist believes you will benefit from medication, they may recommend you book an appointment with a doctor who can prescribe anxiety medication and other medications.

What To Look Out for When Considering Online Mental Health Counseling

When it comes to receiving online mental health care, there are countless options available, including HIPAA-compliant services like PlushCare that connect you to a therapist and help you learn healthy coping skills and stress management techniques. 

Just as you would choose an in-person counselor, there are several questions to ask yourself before starting online mental health counseling, including:

  • What is your goal?
  • What are your preferences?
  • What is your budget?
  • How is your privacy protected during your appointment?
  • What are your provider’s credentials and experience?

Online Mental Health Counseling Appointment: What to Expect

During your first online session, your therapist may ask you the following questions:

  • What symptoms are you experiencing?
  • What led you to schedule an appointment?
  • What do you feel is wrong with your life?

Your therapist will review your medical history and may also ask questions about your childhood, relationships, current living situation, and your career. Then, you and your mental health counselor will discuss the length of your treatment, different types of therapy, and patient confidentiality.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Affordable Online Therapy With PlushCare

PlushCare is proud to offer convenient, reliable, and affordable virtual doctor’s appointments you can access from the comfort of your home. Together, our virtual therapists and doctors will work to ensure you get the help you deserve.

To book an appointment with one of PlushCare’s doctors, click here. If our doctors believe you would be best treated with medication, they can write you a prescription to be picked up at your local pharmacy.

If you like to start by talking to a therapist, book a mental health counseling appointment here.


Read More About Online Counseling


Please Note: PlushCare does not have online psychiatrists at this time. That said, our primary care physicians are able to prescribe mental health medications such as antidepressants, and if necessary can provide you with a referral to a psychiatrist.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. The Effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. Accessed on December 17, 2020 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659300/

Mayo Clinic. Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts. Accessed on December 17, 2020 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/suicide/symptoms-causes/syc-20378048

American Psychological Association. A growing wave of online therapy. Accessed on April 30, 2021 at https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/02/online-therapy 

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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