What if Texting Isn’t How I Want to Talk to My Therapist?
Online therapy is a relatively new development in the healthcare industry. The ability to access therapy without the need to physically travel is a tremendous innovation — making mental health services available to thousands of people who might not have been able to access nor afford treatment in the past. Online therapy — also known as teletherapy, e-therapy, or cyber-therapy — has experienced a growth in popularity due to its accessibility. Online therapy has already helped millions of people experience a better life.
However, with any innovation, there is bound to be some level of skepticism. Critics may ask: “Does online therapy work and are there any risks?” Furthermore, what if texting just isn’t how one wants to speak to their therapist?
It’s true — texting can feel slightly limiting for some. Many may feel that it’s hard for them to fully express themselves through texting. However, the great thing about the advent of online therapy is that it has opened up many different therapy options both for licensed therapists and for clients. For some, text therapy enables them to plan out exactly when and how they want to get their point across to their therapist. For others, spontaneity and the opportunity to physically interact with a therapist is more important. If you’re in the latter group, you don’t have to feel apprehensive about beginning online therapy — the technology is flexible enough that there’s likely a communication option that works well for you.
Why Choose Text Therapy?
There are many benefits to text therapy, the schedule flexibility being one of them. Text therapy is perfect for those who can’t find time to schedule a face-to-face session. In your busy life, keeping track of all your thoughts and feelings while you wait for your once weekly therapy session can be emotionally draining.
Text therapy is beneficial for those that need to speak about their emotionally charged thoughts immediately. There is no need to wait to get something off your mind — you can quickly articulate your current mental state while you’re facing a pressing issue. Text therapy can feel like keeping a diary, a way of recording your current thoughts and feelings for the day. Later, clients can read their past messages and see how far they’ve progressed in therapy.
Another key motivator for text therapy advocators is cost. The cost of text therapy is far lower as compared to the regular cost of a weekly in-person session. Besides the reduced cost of therapy itself, you also save commuting, parking, childcare, and scheduling costs. You don’t have to take time off work or spend money on transportation when you can conveniently text your therapist on the go.
Alternatives to Text Therapy
Texting your thoughts and feelings can be tiring, as can articulating them aloud, and you may not want to go through the trouble of rereading your messages for any typos or mistakes before sending it. With Talkspace plans, however, you can switch up your communication methods. Let’s jump into the benefits of audio and video messages.
Speak your truth with audio messages
Audio messages offer an option for those who don’t enjoy texting. With audio messages, you can speak a stream of consciousness and see where your thoughts take you. Audio messages also don’t require you to stop what you’re doing to text. Instead, you might set your phone down and speak while washing the dishes or watching Netflix.
With therapy via audio message, your therapist will be able to make informed responses based on the tone and cadence of your voice. You can receive audio messages from your therapist as well so that it’s like leaving messages for a trusted friend. Like text therapy, your audio messages will be saved so that you can review your audio conversations later. For those that have anxiety, they will be able to see how their speaking confidence has improved over time.
Go face-to-face with video messages
When people hear the term “online therapy” or “teletherapy,” video therapy is usually what comes to mind. For those that feel as if they won’t be able to convey what they mean without physical expression — skeptical eyebrows, a therapist’s smile of approval — sending a video message your therapist may be the right choice for you. Some clients report that seeing their therapist face-to-face with video messages gives them an experience closer to an in-person therapy session. Seeing their therapist and being able to look them in the eyes helps patients find the courage to discuss their problems. Like audio messages, video messages gives patients the chance to say what’s on their mind without having to format it in a text. Video messages also offer a great option for those that need a more in-depth response or clarification from their therapist.
Feel like you’re in the office with Live Video
If sending and receiving audio and video messages to your therapist isn’t a therapeutic mode that works well for your style, you can upgrade your plan to try Live Video. Talkspace plans offer video sessions either once a month or once per week. You’ll be able to schedule your sessions for whenever works best for you and your therapist, but also be able to text and send audio and video messages between live sessions. You’ll see your therapist’s every reaction and they’ll be able to take careful note of all of your progress, including the subtle and nuanced meaning between your words.
Text Therapy Is Always an Option
The best part about online therapy, in all of its options, is that it’s there for you whenever and wherever you need it. If you feel an intrusive thought, annoyance, or problem pop into your head, you’re always able to open the Talkspace app and talk to your therapist about it.
When finding an online therapy service, you should always make sure that it meets HIPAA requirements so that everything you send to your therapist is assured to stay private. Also be mindful of security standards. Talkspace is HIPPA compliant and uses banking-grade security to keep you safe. And finally, remember — Talkspace’s therapists are always licensed and have over 3,000 hours of clinical experience. No matter what you need help with, they’ll be able to guide you, whether it’s face-to-face or via text.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
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