Online therapy is very convenient and there are many free online therapists to engage. If you are struggling with your mental health but not quite ready to see a therapist, Online Therapy Services can help. However, the problem for most people is to find one. It can be difficult because there is a lack of information on how you can do it.
So, how do you begin your search for free online therapy services? Here are important questions to answer:
What kind of online therapist do you need?
Many therapists have a specialty. They may for example specialize in addiction, sexual problems, marriage counseling, etc.
You can even choose a therapist depending on your preferred method of therapy e.g. CBT, psychoanalysis, or person-centered therapy. The choice is big and it depends on what kind of problem you are looking for help with.
What kind of problem do you have?
If you are not completely clear about the nature of your problem, make a summary of it. After all, a therapist who specializes in a certain problem can analyze your case from a wider perspective. This is not always the case with general practitioners.
How long have you been looking for help?
At what point did you think: “This is no longer something I can solve alone, I need to turn to someone?” Many therapists offer a first session for free. This is known as a “consultation,” and can be very beneficial for you.
You get to try out whether the therapist and you “click” and whether this person feels like someone who can help you. However, this does not mean that the therapist will necessarily accept your case. You can also ask whether he or she offers free consultations.
Are you insured?
Some therapists are only able to help with certain issues if your health insurance covers these. This is not the case with everyone, but make sure to ask beforehand. Many therapists work independently of an insurer or public funds. Therefore, they offer their services completely free of charge.
Have you read online therapy service reviews?
Some therapists offer their services for free during a trial period of several weeks or months. Therefore, you can “test drive” the therapist first to see whether it is worth continuing the therapy.
If the therapist offers this option, read reviews of how he or she has dealt with previous clients. If you want to continue, start the therapy at the end of the trial period – if not, end it there and then.
Is your therapist is accredited?
Just like all other professions, therapy is legally regulated, unlike psychotherapy. Therefore, make sure that your therapist holds an official qualification as a “Psychotherapist”.
Is your Therapist insured?
Insurance companies normally insist on this because they usually want to be able to check the qualifications of their therapists. They do this before sending them insurance claims for their clients. This also protects you, the client, in the event of complaints or lawsuits.
What is your feel for your therapist’s fields of specialisation and experience?
You might be able to find out this information on their website (if they have one), or via telephone inquiries. Many psychotherapists offer counseling services for issues such as work/life balance, emotional difficulties, relationships, and so on.
These services can be beneficial. However, for complex or specific issues, it might be better to see a therapist with experience in that particular field. For example, someone who specializes in eating disorders. If you are uncertain about the suitability of your potential therapist then you should feel free to ask them directly.
Do they have their website?
Online therapists that are serious about their work would often have a website. This allows them to display their qualifications, experience, and specialization on an easily accessible platform. That way, prospective clients can peruse at their convenience.
It is more likely that your chosen therapist is legit if they have their site. However, there are always exceptions. It is still advisable to check them out with the relevant regulatory bodies as well as check for feedback from past clients.
How do they treat your confidentiality?
The therapist’s professional code of conduct should ensure to keep any information you disclose to them confidential. However, it is important to enquire about how they will handle confidentiality if you are considering working with someone. If this seems unclear, leave them out and look for clarity on the same from other platforms.
Where to get free online therapists
- Online forums and support groups
These are not just for those who have a mental or emotional disorder. These groups can be helpful, especially when looking for guidance about specific problems. Some offer 24/7 help via text and chat rooms for free.
- Dedicated Websites and Apps
Platforms such as Talkspace offer a smartphone app for your therapy use. Through it, you can connect with licensed therapists. The user interface is straightforward. However, it does take some getting used to before you can access the service smoothly. The core of the service focuses on video sessions, but text chat is also available.
- Mental health organizations
Mental health organizations have also taken to the online space. You can reach out to them for free therapy.
- Learning Institutions
Some universities provide their own set of resources — such as counseling — for students. They integrate these services into a student health program and you can use them for free if you qualify.
- State health departments
State health departments also provide information for their residents. These provide resources such as an online screening tool for depression and could get you all the help you need for free.
Online therapy services are more affordable than conventional in-person therapy services. However, a diligent search should help you locate low-cost or even free therapy services. Use this guide to identify such.