Online Therapy 101

We know how life gets. Between work/school, time with your friends and family and other responsibilities (caring for your pet, working out, extracurricular activities, etc.), it can be reallllyyy hard to find time for yourself and head to an in-person therapy session.

Or, there may be an incredibly long waitlist for an in-person therapist in your area, and when you’re in need, you can’t wait that long! But that’s when online therapy (also known as “Telepsychology”) can be a great option for folks. It allows flexibility so you can focus on the path to healing.

Let’s talk about everything you need to know about virtual therapy!

The Pros of Online Therapy

If you’re wondering if virtual counselling is just as effective as in-person, we have good news — it is! There are many benefits to online therapy, such as:

  • The convenience factor of being able to log in from the comfort of your home
  • Removing the intimidation factor for folks who experience anxiety and may not want to enter a clinic
  • The same chance for connection and understanding with your therapist
  • The opportunity to access care for those who live in remote areas
  • More flexibility to suit your schedule and needs

What Do I Look For In a Virtual Therapist? 

Determining the best fit for your virtual therapist isn’t much different than when you’re looking for an in-person therapist.

If you’re wondering about their title or credentials, you need to do research by reading up on their bio or the types of therapists the organization employs or contracts. While “therapist” is a catch-all term for professionals who provide counselling, these folks can have various backgrounds. What you need may depend on your presenting concerns, what types of therapy you want to do or are best for your concerns, what your insurance company covers, etc. At DiveThru, our therapists are Registered Psychologists, Registered Provisional Psychologists and Registered Social Workers with a Masters in Clinical Social Work. We have a great blog on the different types of therapists you can read if you want to learn more.

If you’re really not sure by viewing their profile, you can always ask for a consultation. Many therapists offer free 10-15 consultations that allow you both to ask for details to determine fit before booking an appointment.

How Does Online Therapy Work?

Often, you’ll be sent an invitation to join a secure virtual platform (depending on the organization) at your allotted time. Your therapist will carry out the session the same way they would in person, such as reviewing consent, facilitating interventions, and working with you on your mental health goals. 

What Do I Need To Consider?

There are a few things you may want to consider when looking at online counselling:

The Location
Yes, you’ll be virtual, but where is the clinic located? Registered Psychologists have to be registered or have clearance to work as a psychologist in the province/state that the client is in. Other professionals may not have as strict regulations, so therapists may be located anywhere. Determine if the therapist’s location is important for you (e.g. will the therapist have knowledge about local resources you may need referrals to?) as it may influence which organization or clinician you choose to book with.

Tech issues
Poor internet sucks. It’s even more uncool if it’s impacting your therapy sessions! Consider the internet strength in your home and the connection prior to starting virtual therapy. It helps to have fewer tabs open or a good browser.

Body Cues
One of the pros of in-person therapy is that you and your therapist can read body cues or reactions more clearly. Online, there may be a bit of a disconnect. Consider this when setting up your camera. Make sure your therapist can see you clearly to help your communication and understanding of one another.

Therapy involves deep discussion of things you want to keep private between you and your therapist. Make sure you’re in a space where you feel safe, comfortable, and can avoid distraction.

Online therapy is a great way to get started on your mental health journey in a way that works for you. In fact, DiveThru just launched our own virtual-only therapy option for Alberta residents called Alberta Virtual! You can do our 5-minute matching survey and see your ideal therapist matches prior to setting up a session to easily help you narrow down your most fitting therapist.

If you have any questions about DiveThru’s Alberta Virtual, feel free to email us or call us at our studio!