TalkSpace 101: Get the Most Out Of Online Therapy

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You want to resolve a few, non-critical issues in therapy. If you can’t attend traditional counseling sessions right now, you may look into the option for online therapy, like TalkSpace. Now, you’re sold on the benefits of online therapy: no travel or commute, flexible schedules, confidential mental health counseling, support, and treatment via an Internet connection. Still, you may be wondering, “How do I get the most out of my online therapy sessions? Once you've chosen the right service and accredited therapist for you, you’ll want to take advantage of our three tips for getting the most out of online therapy. We’ve curated these tips from knowledge acquired through a discussion with California licensed clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, Psy.D. Dr. Barlevy helps clients with anxiety and other mood disorders, face-to-face and online.

Attend Your Online Counseling Sessions Regularly

Want to get the most out of your online therapy? Attend your 45-50 minute counseling sessions weekly or biweekly. You might reschedule your appointments, occasionally. Things happen in life. But, therapy requires commitment and regularity, even when it’s computerized.

Consider Dr. Barlevy’s advice: “Try to think of it in the same way that you would treat "live" therapy. If you don't attend your sessions, you won't get much benefit. The same is true for online treatment.” Prioritize your online mental health sessions, so you get the best treatment possible.

You want to solve your unresolved issues, so be sure to put in the necessary time and effort. Simply signing up for online therapy and plunking down your credit card won't be enough! Use a calendar, a smartphone, or Google Doc to keep track of your therapy sessions and attend them regularly.

Complete Your Online Therapy Exercises and 'Homework'

get the most out of online therapy Attending your scheduled sessions without following through on assigments given by your therapist won’t benefit you much. Practical homework helps you apply what you learn in counseling to real life. It’s a good way to advance your knowledge and skills between sessions. “A good therapist (whether online or live),” says Dr. Barlevy, “will ask questions, possibly give you homework and things that are designed to help you find answers to your problems or learn skills to help you deal with things in your life.” Research shows the positive effects of homework on therapy treatment and outcome.

It helps you progress toward your therapy goals and see your improvements over time. Make a note of your homework exercises and details, when your therapist assigns them. Then, dedicate time to completion, through planning. Create a schedule detailing the days and length of time you’ll work on your assignments – and do them.

Collaborate with Your Online Therapist

Collaboration is essential, if you want to get the most out of online therapy. We've already talked about committing -- to both your sessions and the exercises you'll be given there. But you shouldn’t stop there.

You should also ask questions about condition and treatment options, express your opinions about your therapist’s comments, give feedback on your therapist’s ideas, and communicate any concerns about the approach taken. When it comes to communicating your concerns, Dr. Barlevy advises you to do so early.

If you share your thoughts, a good therapist will not only modify her/his therapeutic approach but also clarify her/his thinking, for an effective therapeutic alliance. But also keep the following in mind: a trained therapist won’t provide ways to fix your problems. Instead, he/she will ask questions, listen to and acknowledge your responses, and give insightful feedback.

This requires you to self-reflect and follow through on your counselor’s recommendations. If you don’t collaborate and open up in therapy, then your counseling sessions won’t be effective.

Want to Get the Most Out of Online Therapy? Be Committed!

You believe distance therapy can help you work through your mental problems. And it can! But to get the best results, you must be an active participant. We’ve provided three ways to actively participate and get the most of online therapy: attend your online counseling sessions, complete your online therapy exercises, and collaborate with your online therapist.

Being an active participant in your therapy will help you get your money's worth and help you solve your issues.