If you are looking for a convenient and affordable alternative to treatment, then online anxiety treatment may be an option for you. You may be interested in online treatment for many reasons, from not being able to get traditional treatment to having difficulty leaving home due to anxiety.
Regardless of the reason you choose, it is helpful to learn more about this treatment option before starting your first treatment.
Online treatment options
First, it is helpful to understand what type of anxiety treatment you can get from an online therapist. Of course, it depends on the therapist you choose; some therapists insist on one form of treatment, while others may mix or mix treatments based on your specific needs or problems.
Some forms of treatment that may be offered to you include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These forms of treatment can help you manage anxious thoughts, gradually face disturbing situations so that they don’t cause too much anxiety in the end, and learn how to manage and endure pain.
Together with your therapist, you will work to change your perception of external events and the way you react to them, as well as coping strategies you can use outside of treatment and when completing treatment.
Types of anxiety treated
What types of anxiety can be treated through online therapy? Almost anything you will see a face-to-face therapist can also be handled by an online therapist. Exceptions may include diagnostic tests that require you to meet face-to-face with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD), specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), then an online therapist is likely to help you Control symptoms and provide you with coping strategies.
Online therapy will use the same types of strategies you learned from face-to-face therapists, such as how to manage negative thoughts, how to set achievable goals, how to overcome obstacles, and how to build confidence. You will also learn strategies for managing stress and anxiety to improve your overall health.
Most people with anxiety disorders have difficulty managing thoughts, emotions, and feelings, and may have habitual reactions or behaviors that make their anxiety worse. Your online therapist will help you understand the patterns in life that need to be changed and learn how to make better decisions and control.
Although anxiety is usually an innate response to a stressful situation, also called a fight or flight response, it is possible to relearn how you react to gain control. In addition, if you experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as headaches, fatigue, feeling sick, or rapid heartbeat, your therapist may recommend that you use relaxation strategies to calm your body.
Face-to-face treatment and online treatment
What is the difference between face-to-face treatment and online treatment? The obvious difference is that you won’t see your therapist in their office; instead, you will communicate via the Internet, whether it is via video conference, text message, or email. Some therapists may also provide treatment over the phone.
In addition to these obvious physical differences, you can also expect to have varying degrees of contact with your therapist. Although face-to-face therapists will only communicate with you once a week, many online treatment packages include textual exchanges in addition to regular meetings. This means you can get additional support.
Do you think it will be difficult to trust or establish rapport with an online therapist? Research shows that the therapeutic alliance in online therapy will not be affected; in fact, it may be as good as face-to-face therapy.This means that if you show up and finish the job, you should feel that your online therapist is equally supportive.
If you have trouble feeling connected during online therapy, make sure you are taking advantage of video conferencing and not just text or chat-based options. Being able to see your therapist’s face and letting them see your face will increase the level of contact and should help you feel more supportive.
Transition to online therapy
What if you are already seeing a therapist and need or want to transition to online therapy? In this case, it is best to ask your current therapist about your options. If they can provide you with online treatment, that may be the simplest solution. On the other hand, if your current therapist does not provide these services, you can seek your own online treatment through services such as Betterhelp or Talkspace.
What to expect
Your first meeting with an online therapist will involve clarifying the most important areas of your life. Before the first meeting, find out the type of communication provided by your therapist and choose the one that suits you best.
Try to find a quiet place at home, don’t be distracted, and put a sign on the door that says you are in a meeting. It is natural to feel nervous during your first meeting. Do your best to make a preliminary plan based on the questions asked and the answers you provide.
What to look for in a therapist
What should you look for in an online therapist? Your therapist should be a licensed professional, preferably a graduate degree (Master, PhD, or Doctor of Medicine), such as a psychologist, family therapist, clinical social worker, or licensed professional consultant.
You should also look for a therapist who has experience treating the specific type of anxiety you are experiencing.
Benefits of online therapy
What are the benefits of online therapy? Some of them are listed below:
- Optional meeting in non-standard hours (outside of normal working hours)
- Being able to receive treatment in the comfort of your home, this is especially important if you have social anxiety
- If you do not have insurance, it is more affordable than face-to-face treatment
- If your schedule does not allow you to drive to the therapist’s office or if you live in a remote area, you can visit flexibly and conveniently
Limitations of online therapy
When is not suitable for online treatment? The following outlines several situations in which online treatment is not considered appropriate:
- If you have suicidal thoughts or are in crisis
- You can’t afford it
- Your anxiety is severe and debilitating, and you need face-to-face support for any reason
- It is difficult for you to communicate through video conferences or other online methods
- You are too young to access the service on your own
- You don’t have the necessary skills or it is difficult to learn how to use online services (in other words, it will put you more stressful than seeing the therapist in person)
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Whether you are considering online therapy for the first time or being asked by a current therapist to switch to online therapy, this can be a challenging time if you are living with anxiety. Be sure to check yourself throughout the process to identify when your anxiety may interfere with the treatment process.
It is normal to feel anxious about trying new things or having to change routines. In this challenging time, do your best to support you in other aspects of your life. You will be more capable of being prepared for treatment and willing to receive support and make improvements.