How to find an online therapist
As if taking the first step to speak with a therapist isn't challenging enough! You need a little help, and it’s really hard to know where to begin. If you live in New York City and struggle to make it in to meet with your therapist in-person, there are many who are trained in Telehealth and offer psychotherapy sessions for individuals or couples using video sessions or telephone, which may be a way that better suits your lifestyle. Face-to face is ideal, but if you could use some psychological support, online therapy is better than going it alone.
It can be downright overwhelming sifting through professional therapy profiles on Psychology Today—there are so many experts and options to choose from. I'm a New Yorker, and I get it! You’re very busy with work, social and home life. You travel frequently with demands and a schedule that makes it challenging to schedule regular therapy appointments in an office. You and your partner have schedules with moving parts—you’re rarely even in the same room together. Busy New Yorkers frequently begin therapy but then discontinue because of multiple cancellations and appointment change requests. It becomes a barrier to treatment to feel as if you can’t commit to regular psychotherapy session times. Just when you get some momentum, you have deadlines or you have to travel, and then you’re embarrassed to reach out to the therapist to reengage, so you begin a new therapist search. Clients with high visibility or high-profile individuals needing therapy that provides more privacy, discretion and anonymity, do not want to risk being seen entering a therapy suite or sitting in a waiting room.
It can also be challenging to find a good therapist in New York. And, even more of a challenge to finally find a “good fit” for you. It’s an investment of time and money, as well as emotional energy to begin the process of opening up to a stranger and discussing concerns such as anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, a crisis, feeling “stuck” or relationship challenges. New Yorkers often feel that their lives look great on the outside, but privately they struggle with stress, acting out or isolation and loneliness. These are but a few of the concerns that many busy, professional New Yorkers struggle with. What follows are some helpful tips to guide you in the process of finding a therapist who works online, doing virtual therapy, otherwise known as teletherapy, telemedicine, telehealth, video chat, to name but a few terms.
Some individuals searching for an online therapist find professional websites such as Psychology Today to be helpful. You can scroll through and match your needs and goals with therapists who have the skills or experience to help you, examples may be loss, transitions, career problems or chronic sadness. Reviews on Google or other sites such as HealthGrades.com can be unreliable for all sorts of reasons. Some therapists offer consultations to better understand their style and whether you are a good fit to work together.
Once you find a therapist to work with online, or in-person, give them a chance. Many clients are ambivalent about beginning therapy to begin with, and give up early without giving the therapy experience a fair chance. Sharing problems and concerns can activate feelings of shame or other symptoms which causes many run, and fast! Only to find themselves in the same state.
A therapist who is open to working with individuals or couples online is accustomed to accommodating busy professionals, and therefore make it easier to keep clients engaged in therapy. Experienced therapists welcome the opportunity for you to discuss your urge to flee—your conflicts and ambivalence—and they will help you through it or help you find someone else who might be a better fit. If it really does not feel right, you can find another psychotherapist or psychologist, or ask for a referral.
How does Online therapy work?
How does finding an online therapist work? Ask a potential therapist if they are able to accommodate your needs. I am delighted to meet with my clients in-person or via Skype, FaceTime or a HIPPA-compliant telemedicine platform such as Simple Practice or DoxyMe for video conferencing. To work remotely, you need a reliable wifi connection, privacy and a computer, iPad, tablet or smartphone, and many platforms work on PC’s and Apple computers using Safari, Chrome and Firefox or other browsers. With a New York lifestyle, sometimes this option is necessary when work/life demands are great, or you are ill, moving or out of town and cannot meet in-person. There are many platforms available now such as Talkspace, Betterhelp, Breakthrough and 7Cups as options, all different, with pros and cons. These are great places to find therapists who are just beginning to practice therapy, offer lower fees, and are in-network insurance providers.
In my opinion, regardless of what research tells us about virtual therapy, I believe that face-to-face sessions are always optimal, and the only option for many, especially with certain mental health concerns. But times are changing, and I’ve come to embrace online therapy, and it can feel as connected and related as my face-to-face sessions.
With many clients, I am able to deliver the same types of modalities that I use in-person, such as: psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal, humanistic, cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, DBT skills, mindfulness, focusing-oriented therapy, relationship counseling, executive, stress and well-being coaching and even EMDR online with higher-functioning clients.
What is online telemedicine?
For psychological consultations, therapy, mentoring and coaching, mental health professionals and their clients are able to conduct private sessions remotely without missing sessions. This ensures the continuity of our work together and facilitates progress and much needed emotional or goal-attainment support.
Who benefits from private thera-coaching or online therapy?
Busy professionals who can’t meet in-person
Couples with parenting conflicts or are in different locations
Clients who are able to ensure their privacy either at work or home
Clients who are highly-motivated for growth and change and are able to continue our work together even, and especially when demands are high. This can be a time of necessary “pause.”
Individuals who do not have local access to highly-trained professionals, therapists and coaches
Clients who struggle with phobias, agoraphobia, physical illness or pain, disabilities, emotional concerns such as severe anxiety, and more. Skype sessions are an incredibly supportive option.
Clients who are high-functioning and not suffering from severe mental illness. I am licensed to diagnose and assess this and offer my support regarding your personal situation to ensure your psychological safety.
One added note: Online therapy is now frequently reimbursed by insurance.
Kim Seelbrede, LCSW, high-level, expertly-trained personal and executive coach and licensed psychotherapist working with individuals and couples online or in-person, from the convenience of home, office or while traveling, in the US or internationally.