Mental Health Wellness May 8, 2018

Virtual Options for Therapy Anytime, Anywhere!

When I wrote about the affordable therapy option, Open Path, a few weeks ago — I realized I neglected an integral part of that conversation, virtual counseling / therapy. In recent years the options for someone to see a therapist more conveniently and affordably have really moved with the times. We’re constantly on our phones, texting, face-timing, scrolling through social media — or at least I know I am. And with that, the rise of companies such as TalkSpace and BetterHelp have slid right in to accommodate. 

With sessions costing as low as $35/week, unlimited options for connecting with your therapist multiple times a week, and being able to talk, text or video chat them — we all need to sign the hell up, haha! I know at times it’s difficult to face another human and tell them your deepest secrets and insecurities, so virtual therapy can may be the way to take the edge off. Or perhaps you travel a lot so can’t stick to a routine in-person schedule, virtual therapy options may be right for you.

Personally, I haven’t used virtual therapy (aside from e-mailing my therapist between sessions) just yet so I had to call in an expert. I reached out to my Prophyte (skeewee), Madison S. Myrick, a clinical social worker and therapist who recently joined the BetterHelp team. She’s going to give us the run-down on the benefits of virtual therapy and things to know before exploring it.


Why did you decide to join BetterHelp as a therapist? 
I’m a military spouse, so I needed to start planning ways in which I could work remotely. I liked the idea of starting my therapy business subtly, meaning not having to directly deal with billing or coming out of pocket in expenses to start a practice. In addition, I already have a full time job with the Department of Education in Hawaii, and it was becoming really challenging to find therapy work I was interested in. I chose BetterHelp because they had a fluent application process and their system was efficient to use. They also have amazing costumer services.  
 
Why do you think there has been an uptick in the amount of virtual / remote therapy options these days? What are the benefits? 
Virtual and remote therapy is the new wave. For many people, they may not have insurance to cover therapy because they’re self-employed or may not be working at all.  For others, they are employed but travel for work often or move frequently for work. Finding a therapist and having to depart from them can be quite challenging, so this eliminates the heartache of losing a provider.  Many providers are also able to keep their clients who relocate due to the option of virtual therapy. 
 
Do you think virtual therapy should replace traditional face-to-face therapy, or is it something that can complement it?  
I don’t think virtual therapy should replace the traditional face-to-face therapy.  Many therapists and clients enjoy face-to-face interaction as it aids in instant rapport development.  Virtual therapy complements traditional therapy. With BetterHelp, the service may have similar benefits, it’s not capable of substituting for traditional face-to-face therapy in every case. Providers are not able to make any official diagnosis, to fulfill any court order or prescribe medication. 
 
What are some things to be cautious about when exploring virtual therapy options?
When exploring virtual therapy options, you can go through your insurance company or certified therapy applications.  Counselors on BetterHelp and other platforms are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC). All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board after successfully completing the necessary education, exams, training and practice. While their experience, expertise and background vary, they all possess at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. Platforms should also be supported by the Mental Health America, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), Department of Health Human Services, and other mental health organizations. Online platforms will also have reviews from major news sources. 
 

 

Although virtual therapy options are something that a few experts debate about being helpful or not, it’s important to remember that when choosing a therapist, counselor, life-coach — whatever you’d like to call it, just make sure it is right for you. What is your life like? What is your communication style? Do what feels most comfortable, and will have you consistently going back (or logging in). 

This is the first of AishaBeau.com’s two-part Mental Health Awareness Month series. Next week I’ll be inquiring with Madison about prepping for your first therapy appointment. Now that you’ve decided to actually make the appointment, what can you expect next? 

 

Madison S. Myrick, MSW, LCSW

 

About Madison S. Myrick

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou.

Life is full of twists and turns. However, you can build resilience and empower yourself by recognizing your strength and committing to your own well-being. It takes courage to seek help, do the work, and move forward – I commend you and welcome you!

I attended Howard University, where I earned my B.S. in Health Science in 2009 and Master of Social Work (MSW) in 2012. Throughout my practice I have enjoyed working with adolescents and adults. As a military spouse, I understand the idea of the unknown, tough transitions, relationship and family conflicts, and / or how trauma can take a toll on a person. It is important to me to guide clients to find their path. We will work collaboratively to heal old wounds and alter your perspective to positive thinking patterns. Together, we will develop effective coping skills to meet major life transitions head on, along with encouraging positive interactions and supportive relationships in the process. 

I focus on the areas of major life transitions, Trauma, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, relationship issues, interpersonal conflicts and military transitions. In addition, my therapeutic approach combines cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, psychodynamic and solution – focused therapy. I’m passionate about helping clients reach their full potential, and I’m committed to making your therapy experience holistic, productive, and positive. Let’s work to establish a strong state of wellness so you can thrive through adversity. 

Learn more about Madison and reach out to her yourself here!

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