If I was already spending that money, why couldn’t I just sign up for online therapy, and get the care I needed without leaving my apartment?
So, I decided to give a try.
I chose Talkspace in particular because I knew from talking to other folks that they’re of their queer and transgender clients (of which I am both).
They didn’t ask me to review their services, or offer me any kind of incentive to talk about them. This is not a paid advertisement, friends, so you can trust that everything here is my honest opinion!
If you’re intrigued by online therapy but not sure if it’s for you, I wanted to create this no-nonsense resource to help you decide.
While Talkspace is the platform that I use, this is advice that I suspect will apply to other platforms as well.
As with any therapy experience, you ultimately get out of it what you put in. That being said, there are definitely some signs to look for when deciding if online therapy could work for you:
Between my $15 copay and the Lyft ride to and from the office, paying for online therapy wasn’t actually that much more expensive for me.
For $39 dollars a week, I can send unlimited messages to my therapist (text, audio, or video, as lengthy as I want) and get two thoughtful responses per day.
If I need a video call for a face-to-face experience, I can pay extra for that, either as part of my plan or on an as-needed basis.
If you have insurance and your therapy is already sufficiently covered, online therapy will not be cheaper. However, if you have travel expenses and copayments (like me), or you’re already paying out of pocket, online therapy might actually be cheaper or at least fairly reasonable.
I still think this is the best $39 bucks I spend every week. But for folks who are low-income, this isn’t necessarily accessible.
One of my biggest issues with face-to-face therapy is that, by the time my appointment rolled around, a lot of the more intense situations or emotions had already passed, or I couldn’t remember them once it was time to talk about it.
I often walked away from my sessions thinking, “Jeez, I wish I could just talk to my therapist when things came up, instead of having to wait until our next appointment.”
I felt like I was wasting time, like our appointments were basically me trying to remember what was bothering me or just filling up our time.
If this sounds familiar, online therapy might actually be an awesome option for you. With Talkspace, I’m able to write to my therapist at any moment, so when situations or emotions come up for me, I can articulate those things to my therapist in real time.
We’re actually talking about the issues that are most present and important for me, instead of what I happened to remember during a scheduled time.
It’s important to note: If you’re the sort of person that needs an immediate response, online therapy might not feel as gratifying at first. It took a period of adjustment to get comfortable with spilling my guts, knowing that I would have to wait to hear back from my therapist.
But I did get used to it! And it’s a format that’s working much better for me.
A lot of my best emotional work happens through writing (this probably doesn’t come as a shock, seeing as I’m a blogger).
体育投注网址Online therapy has been like having a diary that actually talks back, compassionately and competently guiding me through my process.
If you know that you’re the kind of person that finds it cathartic to write everything out, online therapy can be an awesome platform for you. There aren’t time constraints or character limits, so you’re given permission to take whatever space and time that you need.
If writing isn’t your thing, you can always just monologue with an audio or video recording. Sometimes you just need 5 minutes to ramble uninterrupted, and online therapy is great for that, too.
I grew up in the age of AOL Instant Messaging. Some of my deepest and most vulnerable connections have happened digitally.
For whatever the reason — maybe it’s social anxiety, I’m not sure — I find it much easier to be vulnerable online.
I think online therapy is the best possible platform for folks like me, who simply find it easier to be honest when there’s the safety of a computer or phone screen between us and our therapists.
In just a couple of weeks, I disclosed more to my Talkspace therapist than I had with my previous therapist that I’d worked with for over a year体育投注网址. Being online helped me access emotions that I found it difficult to tap into in a face-to-face appointment.
体育投注网址(I think it helps, too, that this is therapy that can happen in the safety of my apartment, whenever I’m ready, while I’m hanging out in my pajamas and hugging my cat and eating nachos…)
But what’s great about online therapy is that I now have a safe space to express myself at any moment, without the fear that you’re “too much” for that person.
If you’re an “external processor” like me, where nothing feels resolved until you’ve actually gotten it off your chest, online therapy is actually awesome.
I feel like there’s more balance in my relationships across the board, because every single day, I have an outlet for what I’m thinking or feeling that doesn’t rely exclusively on my friends and partners.
That means I can be more thoughtful and intentional about who I reach out to and why.
A lot of reviews I’ve read talk about how online therapy isn’t designed for folks with severe mental illness. But I don’t actually agree with that — I just think that folks like us have to be mindful of what support systems we put in place, and when we use them.
Every person with severe mental illness should have a crisis plan. This is especially true for those of us who use online therapy, which means we won’t always get an immediate response when we’re in crisis.
体育投注网址I use online therapy to explore my trauma history, manage my OCD and depressive symptoms, and navigate the daily triggers and stressors in my life.
I also have a psychiatrist that I see regularly, support groups that I attend on an as-needed basis, and I can also contact my previous therapist if I’m suicidal and need to be referred to local crisis resources (like outpatient services or hospitalization).
My Talkspace therapist knows that I have a history of suicidality and self-harm, and we’ve talked about what steps we would take if I were in crisis again.
I think online therapy can be a great option for folks with severe mental illness. (For me personally, I feel much more supported checking in with my therapist 10 times a week online, as opposed to seeing them just once a week, if that.)
The key is that online therapy should never be the only option, and you and your therapist should work out a crisis plan upfront.
My therapeutic needs were a bit… complicated.
体育投注网址I’m a queer and transgender person with a history of complex trauma, struggling with depression, OCD, and borderline disorder. I needed a therapist that can handle all of the above, but trying to find one who was up to the task was daunting, to say the least.
When I signed up for Talkspace, I first talked with a consultation therapist (kind of like a clinical matchmaker) who would help me find my ideal therapist. Upfront, I gave them as much information as I could, and they gave me three therapists to choose from.
One of them was a trauma-informed therapist who was also queer and transgender, who was well-versed in the disorders I was dealing with. We also came from a similar perspective, valuing a social justice-oriented and sex-positive approach.
Talk about a perfect match!
Rather than searching for someone within a reasonable distance, you can connect with any therapist that’s licensed in your state. This widens the pool of available clinicians, and ideally connects you with a therapist that meets more of your needs.
体育投注网址(The great thing, too, is that switching therapists on apps like Talkspace is super easy — and those therapists will have access to your previous conversation logs, so you won’t feel like you’re starting all over again.)
If you’re a marginalized person that needs a therapist from your own community, your odds of finding the right therapist are much higher with online therapy. To me, this is by far the best part of the process.
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This article originally appeared .
Sam Dylan Finch is a leading advocate in LGBTQ+ mental health, having gained international recognition for his blog, , which first went viral in 2014. As a journalist and media strategist, Sam has published extensively on topics like mental health, transgender identity, disability, politics and law, and much more. Bringing his combined expertise in public health and digital media, Sam currently works as social editor atHealthline.