How does online therapy work?

Those of us who are new to online therapy may have some simple, reasonable questions: Does online therapy work? And how does it work? How Is online therapy at Newberg Counseling & Wellness different than larger corporate companies like BetterHelp?

Consider reading this article published by the American Psychological Association, which we think summarizes a lot of the issues really well. “Research studies, many of which are listed in bibliography format by the Telemental Health Institute…indicate that telemental health [online therapy] is equivalent to face-to-face care in various settings and an acceptable alternative.” “Even more encouraging,” the article goes on to state, “is that when digital interventions are positive, effective experiences for patients, they may go on to seek face-to-face therapy,” says Megan Jones, PsyD, adjunct clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. Online therapy “can really be a nice first step in treatment for someone who needs more intensive therapy,” and in many cases clients receive excellent ongoing care for a variety of issues in the online formats. Online therapy has opened up the therapy world to clients who live in rural areas, are home-bound because of illness, or who do not have access to transportation.

The article does suggest some appropriate limits to online therapy: “Of course, online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than digital therapy can provide.” Newberg Counseling & Wellness does not recommend online therapy for clients who experiencing active suicidal thoughts.

How does online therapy work? Anyone with a stable internet connection and a screen can receive effective therapy this way. For online clients, we ask that you sign a form giving consent to receive online therapy, and then we would proceed to let you know how to use our secure online interface. Prior to your appointment, your clinician will send you a link that can be accessed from a computer or mobile device. We recommend that you have headphones or earbuds handy to minimize noise interference and to make sessions more confidential. Increasingly, insurance companies are covering online therapy in the same way they cover in-person services. Contact your insurance company if you are uncertain of your telehelath benefits and ask if your plan covers “virtual behavioral health services”.

Online therapy with Newberg Counseling & Wellness is quite different than services that you may have received from BetterHelp or other corporate online counseling companies. We offer more personalized services and have higher standards for protecting your privacy and health information. According to the Federal Trade Commission (March 3, 2023), “BetterHelp used a wide variety of tactics to share the health information of over 7 million consumers with platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for the purpose of advertising.” This treatment of client information is never acceptable and is a stain on the counseling profession.

At Newberg Counseling & Wellness, we are driven by different values, putting the healing and care of our clients first rather than the bottom line. We follow a professional code of ethics and go above and beyond to make sure our services are not only HIPAA compliant and private, but also ethical and customized to your personal therapeutic needs.

As you think about navigating online therapy as a client, here is a link with some really helpful information about how to set up your space and your computer or device.

Looking to make an appointment or contact us? Click here to get started

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