For the next few episodes, I will be just taking one question, so that I can free up some of my time to put the finishing touches on the Kick Anxiety’s Ass Course.
For this week, the question is: Would online therapy be a good option for me, since I’m too depressed to do regular in-person therapy?
I have been dealing with depression and anxiety that have affected me since I was in high school. It has been tough all these years because I am not really enjoying my life for many things that run through my head. I have been procrastinating the decision to seek help or not because either I think it will be expensive or it will not be effective. Furthermore, I am really tired of feeling down most of the time with low self-esteem that causes me to be discouraged and not motivated about succeeding in life. My question is, do you think online therapy will be effective than having a psychologist face to face in front of me? I Don’t think reading a book will help me much. This is basically a question for advice or orientation about what do you think is the best method to overcome these mental issues.
I’m glad you’re in a position where you want to do something about this. It’s really easy to get comfortable and feel like there’s no point to changing your depression, so I’m glad you still have a little fire inside you that wants to move forward. One thing that I will mention is that depression will try to convince you that it’s not worth it to try to change in a variety of ways. It might skew your logic to make you think that something is pointless or too much of a hassle, so really try to challenge yourself if that is the case.
For instance, finances can definitely be a real limitation, but you need to be sure that you’re truly evaluating if it’s a limitation in your available money or if it’s that it feels like it won’t be worth the amount of money that you’ll have to spend (and not spend on other things).
Therapy can be expensive, but it depends. Full price sessions with a therapist/psychologist typically run $150-$250, but it’s a bit variable. If you have health insurance, therapy will usually be covered. Even if it’s only for a certain amount of sessions, you can typically petition to keep going.
Then there are sliding scale therapists that will take a lower fee if your finances are limited. I have a whole post about finding a therapist here. Just remember that there are definitely options for regular in-person therapy.
In terms of it not being effective – the research indicates that for depression and anxiety, it tends to be quite effective. Even making the decision to go to therapy and do something about your situation may help you get the ball rolling in the right direction and start making positive change for yourself. Ask yourself if you can afford to not do something about this. The alternative is doing nothing and continuing to feel the way that you do, right? So even if it doesn’t work, you’re not really any worse off. But it should work.
So my first part here is to encourage you to not rule out “regular” therapy. It could definitely make a big difference for you.
Now to the second part of the question – will online therapy be effective?
I have experience in this. I do online sessions every week and I did my dissertation on the topic, which required a lot of background research. The research suggests that online therapy is effective for many issues – depression and generalized anxiety being a couple with research support. In many studies, the effects are shown to be similar to that of face-to-face therapy. So yes it’s a really good way to get started.
I find that it helps with people who are too anxious or unmotivated to go to regular therapy as well as for people with inconsistency in their schedule.
There are different types on online therapy. The type that I do is over a video chat program and it’s basically exactly the same as regular therapy, just over video. I’ve also done audio only and text-based on occasion. A lot of the apps that are out there like talkspace or better help are more text-based. Some have options to see someone through video, but I’m not sure how easy that is.
My advice is to invest as much is reasonable into therapy because then you will take it seriously. I find that people with depression who use the apps tend to fall off and stop following up. It’s asynchronous, meaning the therapist gets back to you a certain number of times per week or day, depending on the arrangement.
If you do go for online therapy, I’d encourage you to try it with a private provider. Insurance still covers online therapy in some cases. I have certain clients that use insurance with me. You’d have to check on the coverage though.
In terms of reading a book – why not start with some blog posts or YouTube videos? I have my own book that’s designed to help people who are too unmotivated to read a big, boring self-help book that you might check out as well.
Overall, I’d say that the hard part is getting started. I’m glad that you have some motivation right now, so you should make the most of that and try to get started with anything. Once that ball is rolling, it will become easier to continue making progress and changing.
Thanks for listening!
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