Frequently Asked Questions About Online Counseling Services

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When I was in high school, my younger sister Jen had a new friend named Eliza. Upon seeing her at home for the first time, I got a little worried. Not to sound like prejudice or anything, but if you saw someone wearing black lipstick and dark eyeshadow in the middle of the day, you would not think they were up to something good. I was worried that Eliza would be a negative influence on my baby sister.

I voiced my thoughts to Jen as soon as Eliza was gone, and my sister shook her head. She said that Eliza was merely misunderstood due to her fashion choices but that she was a good kid deep down. My parents were also concerned, but they could not precisely keep Jen from seeing her new friend at school, so they asked her to hang out at home instead of anywhere else to be sure of my sister’s safety.

A few months later, my little sister opened up about Jen’s problems over dinner.

“You know, Mom, Dad, I feel bad for Eliza. Her father does not care about her; her mother does not take her mental health seriously,” Jen confided.

“What’s up with her mental health? Is she a psycho?” I interjected.

My sister’s eyes widened. “Of course not!” she exclaimed.

“Then, what’s there to be taken seriously?” Mom prodded.

“Eliza got diagnosed with depression in 7th grade. Her parents would take her to the psychologist and buy antidepressants regularly, but they were still so mean to her. Because of that, she sometimes retaliates by doing exactly what her parents tell her to do.”

“How is that a bad thing?” Dad asked, confused.

“Like last weekend, Eliza asked for paracetamol at home because her head was aching. Then, she had a little argument with her mother about vegetables, and her mother remarked that she should take all ten tablets in the blister pack at once. So… she did.”

“Oh, my God!” Mom exclaimed, horrified. “How can her parents be so insensitive?”

“What happened to your friend?” Dad asked.

“Hmm, Eliza said she just slept most of that day,” Jen replied.

“She’s lucky that’s all the paracetamol did to her. That’s technically an overdose,” I commented, feeling bad for Eliza.  

“What do you all think Eliza should do?”

No one spoke for a full minute; everyone was in deep thought. Then, Dad said, “Perhaps Eliza should try online counseling to treat her depression first.”

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  1. What is the best online counseling service? 

 The best online counseling service is technically BetterHelp. This platform offers comprehensive mental health support, which is challenging to find in other online apps.

  1. Can I talk to a counselor online for free? 

 Yes, you can talk to a counselor online for free. There are counseling apps like 7 Cups of Tea that offer free counseling as a whole. However, if you want to chat or talk privately with a licensed counselor, you need to subscribe to a plan.

  1. Is online Counselling effective? 

 Yes, online counseling is technically effective, but it is not recommended for all kinds of mental disorders. Its effectivity also depends on the rapport built by the patient with the counselor. In other words, if the patient isn’t truthful to the counselor or the counselor isn’t too trustworthy, it keeps the patient from getting better.

  1. How do I start an online Counselling service? 

 If you want to offer an online counseling service, the first thing you should do is check your state’s licensure law regarding online counseling. Technically speaking, you will be able to practice within the state, but you need to make sure that doing so is allowed in other states, too.

Then, you must find out if your training and certification are enough to provide online counseling. If it’s not, you will most likely be required to accomplish more training. After that, finding a suitable platform for your services is essential to ensure steady client flow. If you cannot decide on any, you can create a website of your own and get clients through it.

It is also important to advertise yourself and be included in the online counselors’ online directory.

  1. Is TalkSpace or BetterHelp better? 

 BetterHelp is better than TalkSpace, provided that you want to see the therapist without needing to meet them in person. In case you only want to chat with them, TalkSpace may be more suitable for you than BetterHelp.

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  1. Is online therapy cheaper? 

 Yes, online therapy is much cheaper compared to regular treatment. The former typically starts at $30 per hour, while the former asks for more than $100 per visit or more.

  1. What are the three types of therapy? 
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Humanistic Therapy
  1. Is 7 cups therapy free? 

 Not really. The online community setting of 7 Cups of Tea is free, but it does not allow you to chat with a licensed therapist one on one. If the latter is your goal, you need to sign up and pay approximately $150 per month.

  1. Are there any free counseling apps? 

 Yes, there are a few free counseling apps. E.g., Providence, Take a Break!, Mindshift, etc.

  1. Is there an app for counseling? 

 Yes, there is an app for counseling – or a few of them. E.g., BetterHelp, TalkSpace, 7 Cups of Tea, etc.

  1. Is the Moodpath app free? 

 The Moodpath app is not 100% free. Its basic features are free, but you need to pay for the plan to get more features.

  1. Why is therapy so expensive?

Therapy is so expensive because therapists spend decades studying and training to get all the credentials necessary to become one. Not to mention, the licensure fees are not cheap either.

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Final Thoughts

Jen waited for the best day to suggest online counseling to Eliza to avoid upsetting her. When Eliza agreed to try it, they worked together to find a platform that offers it for free for starters. That’s how they found the Moodpath app, which practically allows you to track your mood and be more aware of how you feel. When she felt comfortable with it, Eliza finally told her parents that she wants to try online counseling for real, and they got her a BetterHelp plan so that she can talk to a counselor anytime.

Little by little, Eliza’s mental health improved. My parents and I would see a positive change in her whenever she would come by the house. Her dark makeup became less and less; she starter to smile and laugh more easily, too. My sister was correct from the beginning – her friend was merely misunderstood and needed help.

 

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