Online therapy is rocking my life

Photo on 1-30-13 at 3.41 PM

My Grumpy Cat face

I’ve always avoided in-person therapy.

When I speak to anyone who I genuinely accept as an expert or someone “important”, my eyes water. If I start talking about anything I’ve got any emotion tied up in whatsoever, you bet your ass I’m gonna cry. And not adorable little sniffles of sadness. No no. It’s full-on ugly bawling, with snot and sobs and stuff. I become incapable of speech, incapable of thought. I am just cry.

What I’m saying is, I’m not so good at talking about my feelings.

I’ve always wished there was another way, a way more suited to my way of communicating. So when I learned about online, text-only therapy, I was intrigued.

I went with BetterHelp.com, which was offering a free introductory week. It charges $45/week (billed monthly) but you can cancel anytime. When you sign up, they ask you some questions about your situation, your needs and your preferences. Everything can be as anonymous as you want, though they do obviously have your credit card on file and they ask for an emergency contact. It doesn’t bill itself as a replacement for in-person therapy and it’s definitely not right for every situation, but I think it’s a great lean-to in the therapy world.

The “sessions” are conducted through a basic long-form message thread. You and your counselor have access to it 24/7. You also apparently get one free 15-minute phone call per month, with the option to buy more, but I’m not super interested. I get an email notification when he’s sent a message, so I can log in to check and either respond immediately or think on it and come back later. It’s a nice, delineated back and forth, which is ideal for me.

I was matched with a counselor who specializes in working with young adults with anxiety (check) and careers issues (uh-huh), among other issues. Cool! So far, he’s been asking for clarification and fine-tuning our focus, which is good. He’s also been bringing quotes and videos that he wants me to think about and see whether I relate (so far, uh-yup).

I haven’t had any major breakthroughs or anything, but it’s already promising enough that I’m prematurely calling “worth it!” I don’t see this as a permanent part of my life–and TBH, I can’t prioritize that cost in my budget long term–but I’ll definitely be sticking with it for a while.

6 thoughts on “Online therapy is rocking my life

  1. I’m still mulling this over. I recognize the substantial cost savings. Not sure about the relatively impersonal aspect of it. But I’ll stay tuned to see if you have any follow-up reviews!

    • It’s totally not for everyone. I was thinking of suggesting it to my mom, but I know she would hate it because she’s often reading and re-reading posts to try to guess at the author’s inflection. I think even making use of the once a month phone call could help make that less impersonal. My counselor just happens to have a very warm tone, which is great.

      I was reading an in-depth profile of my Myers-Briggs type, and one of the things it mentioned is that INFPs HATE the phone. They either prefer in-person discussion so they can get all the feedback possible from body language, tone and expression, or they prefer typing because it gives the opportunity to draft and re-draft thoughts. That’s so me!

    • I’m thinking about it. I’m hedging a tiny bit on the price vs. help. I’ll do an update post soon, I’m sure, and then possibly draft something up for OBH.

      • What do you mean by “hedging”? Hedging because you haven’t made a final analysis of price versus help or hedging because you’re nervous about posting something involving money on OBH?

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