Online psychotherapy has grown increasingly popular in recent years. People are now able to access psychotherapy from the comfort of their own home, via online therapy apps offering a host of services and tools for managing mental health issues.
There are many different online psychotherapy apps available, so it can be hard to know which one is best for you. To make things easier, here’s an overview of some of the most popular online psychotherapy apps as well as their pros and cons.
One popular psychotherapy app is Talkspace. Talkspace has been around since 2012 and offers both text-based and video psychotherapy sessions. It also features a variety of educational materials to help users manage their mental health. The app offers 24/7 customer service support to help users in a crisis situation.
The main advantage of Talkspace is its affordability; it costs less than traditional psychotherapy sessions, and provides discounts on unique plans. It also offers video sessions, is easy to sign up for and, unlike some of its competitors, accepts insurance.
However, there have been complaints that the app can be clunky, and some customers have reported difficulty connecting with their therapist or being matched with a therapist relevant to their needs. Other clients reported unprofessional behavior by counselors; when combined with reportedly low pay for those counselors, this has resulted in poor client experiences.
Another popular psychotherapy app is BetterHelp. BetterHelp focuses on connecting people with trained therapists as well as offering educational materials on mental health topics. Their services include text-based psychotherapy sessions and video or audio calls with therapists when desired. The app also offers access to 24/7 customer support services.
The seeming advantage of BetterHelp is its broad selection of therapists – users can search for a therapist based on gender, ethnicity, or specialty area – for example, anxiety disorders or depression. However, some users have reported difficulties getting timely matches with an appropriate therapist due to limited availability, or being matched improperly because of outdated information. The company also does not take insurance, and is most focused on growth, which is evident in what insiders are reporting as its rushed therapist onboarding process, with short interviews conducted by nonclinical workers with minimal training.
Then there is Workit Health, a startup formed to help people control and reverse their opioid addiction, with a self-avowed aim of providing ‘low-threshold’ access to medication that reduces the risk of overdose deaths. Workit also offers therapeutic self-directed courses and support groups to patients. For the types of support the company can’t provide, it refers clients to other services.
Funded by record amounts of venture capital, WorkIt has found it difficult to provide quality support to clients, at least in the eyes of the counselors who worked for it, because of the number of clients they were responsible for. Growth and expansion seemed more important than quality of care. For instance, at one point, for a few thousand clients that it had in Florida, WorkIt employed zero counselors licensed in that state.
Finally, there’s CalmClinic, another popular psychotherapy app which specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy focuses on helping people understand how thoughts influence behavior, then teaches strategies to deal more effectively with difficulties by restructuring the thought patterns or behaviors behind them.
The main advantage of CalmClinic seems to be its ease-of-use. It provides interactive tools designed specifically for CBT: worksheets, quizzes, and tracking systems that guide users through each step in the process, from diagnosis all the way through completion of treatment. On the downside, despite having ‘clinically approved’ content on topics such as depression or anxiety disorders, its library section may have inaccurate or incomplete information on other topics, such as PTSD or bipolar disorder.
Before You Buy In
Generally speaking, regardless of which online psychotherapy app you may choose, there are certain caveats that should be kept in mind before committing to any particular program. First, it’s important to remember that none of these programs can replace face-to-face psychotherapy sessions.
Second, not all therapies offered through these platforms are evidence-based treatments, so do your research into each program’s efficacy before signing up.
Finally, because privacy laws vary from state to state, it pays to double-check what rules apply where you live before purchasing any services from remote providers.
While online psychotherapy apps offer a valuable resource for those seeking a way to access mental health services without having to leave home, they come with both pros and cons. Do your research into each program before deciding whether one is right for you. By doing so, you will ensure that you get access to quality care without compromising your privacy or financial security.