How To Get Started With Free Online Counseling In 4 Easy Steps
If you've ever done an online search for 100% free counseling services, you may have been surprised at how many options were available. Mental health advocates are making their voices heard, which is helping to change the climate for those seeking care in the United States. If you’re interested in free online counseling, read on for an overview of different types and benefits, plus how to get started.
Why Seek Free Online Counseling Services?
Mental health is an important aspect of overall health. It can have a significant impact on a person’s day-to-day functioning, happiness and life satisfaction, and even their physical health. People may seek mental health care for a wide range of reasons. Some might want support in working through difficult life circumstances, relationship conflicts, or emotional challenges. Others may seek treatment for help managing symptoms of a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. For all kinds of reasons, millions of adults seek counseling each year.
However, not everyone is able to or comfortable with seeking treatment in a traditional in-person setting. Some people prefer or find it more convenient to connect with a mental health professional virtually, from the comfort of their own home. Plus, online counseling services are often more affordable than in-person sessions—and some are even free. That means that those who are seeking mental health support have one less obstacle when it comes to getting the care they need.
Types Of Online Counseling Services
You may be surprised at the wide variety of services that are available online at no cost, from free online counseling for depression to free online counseling for teens. Here are a few types of mental health services people may choose to seek out virtually.
When two people experience obstacles or challenges in their relationship, they may choose to seek the help of a relationship coach, therapist, or other type of marriage counseling service provider, whether online or in person. Sessions like these may help a couple work through conflict, improve communication, and rebuild trust.
There are all kinds of things that can cause friction in family relationships, from divorce or moving to illness or trauma. When a family has trouble resolving conflict or have otherwise started to relate to each other in a dysfunctional way, a therapist can be a valuable resource. In family counseling, you can bring your kids along with you so they feel heard too. While there are various methodologies of family therapy out there, they usually involve looking at the family dynamics individually and as a whole to identify disconnects and improve communication.
Individual counseling is one of the most common types of free online counseling. When you seek therapy as an individual, you can work with a mental health professional to focus on any mental or emotional challenges you may be facing in your life. Therapy can be a safe place for you to express and sort through complicated emotions and learn skills to help you improve your mental health overall.
Since money matters can cause significant stress in people’s lives, financial counseling has come on the scene as a newer form of therapy that some may choose to pursue. While mental health counselors generally aren’t qualified to provide financial advice, they can help individuals, couples, or families understand and improve the way they relate to financial decisions and related conflicts or challenges.
Key Benefits Of Online Counseling
So why do some people choose to pursue counseling services online instead of in person? The therapy method that works best for you is usually the one you feel most comfortable with, so your preferences play a significant role. That said, virtual counseling has a number of unique benefits.
It’s one of the main perks of online mental health services: they’re simply more accessible to more people. Those who have a busy schedule, don’t have access to reliable transportation, live in a rural area, or have a physical disability that makes getting around difficult or impossible, may access mental health treatment more easily online. Finding an online psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist in your area who you feel comfortable with is no longer a barrier, either, since the internet allows you to have access to a much wider variety of providers than just those who work in your local area.
While subscription-based therapy services like BetterHelp don’t accept insurance, they offer mental health counseling services at prices that are comparable to the co-pays of most insurance plans. Plus, there are a variety of services out there that provide treatment on a sliding scale according to income level, or even for free.
There’s a growing body of research that suggests that online counseling is a viable, effective alternative to in-person mental health treatment for certain conditions or concerns. A 2019 study, among others, demonstrated the effectiveness of video teleconference and phone-based interventions for mental health conditions. In addition, a 2013 journal article shares that some individuals find that online therapy feels even more personal than in-office sessions. Since having a personal connection with a mental health professional can help you feel more comfortable expressing your emotions, this element of online therapy can be helpful.
How To Get Started With Free Online Counseling In 4 Steps
Ready to try free online counseling? Here are the steps you can take to get started.
- Choose a provider. A quick Google search for 100% free online counseling will yield a variety of search results for free online counseling services.
- Weigh your options. Different services offer different resources, and the cost can vary too. Some are free to get started, while others offer certain services for free while others involve some cost.
- Sign up. Create an account or profile on the website you choose.
- Attend sessions with an open mind. Whether your sessions take the format of an online chat, a phone call, or a video call, entering them with an open mind can help you get the most from your experience.
In most cases, free online counseling sessions provide clients with information and resources that can prepare them for taking the next steps in their therapy journey. If you’re ready to pursue affordable online therapy next, a service like BetterHelp can connect you with a licensed counselor to meet with online—all for a cost that’s comparable to most insurance co-pays.
Online counseling makes mental health treatment more accessible for a wider segment of the population. Since both low-cost and free online counseling options are available, it also removes the financial barrier for many. If you’re interested in pursuing online counseling, getting started is easy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How can I see a Counsellor for free?
If you search up "free online counseling" in the United States, you may be surprised to see a long list of mental health experts. Since most counselors are under specific platforms, the problem may be choosing a trusted platform for free online therapy. It may be helpful to read through the reviews and testimonies before making a final choice. Meanwhile, it's crucial to note that your relationship with your counselor is essential. Hence, you should trust your mental health expert and be open to him or her to give medically reviewed treatments. Without a connection or bond between you and the counselor, online therapy will not be effective.
Asides from the need for a connection between you and your counselor, your counselor's experience level also matters. With reputable platforms like BetterHelp, there's no need to worry about your counselors' experience level. In most cases, a specific counselor focuses on a particular area. For instance, some may concentrate on depression anxiety, marriage counseling, or specific disorders. When you get a counselor for free, you need to confirm his or her license. In recent times, credentials are one of the most important factors to consider in choosing a counselor. Always ensure that the professional holds a valid license. Without one, you can't be sure about the outcomes of the therapy session.
How can I get counseling with no money?
Due to the importance of mental health therapy in the world today, it's possible to get counseling without money. There are a lot of ways to go about it. You may need to speak to your health insurance company if you have one. Ask for a list of providers within your location, which offers the help you need. With insurance, you only need to spend a small amount of money compared to that without health insurance. However, there may be a tendency that you don't have insurance. If you do not have a plan, you may need to try out other medically reviewed free online therapy options that are medically reviewed with little or no cost.
Training clinics are helpful by offering patients a sliding scale. By definition, a sliding scale is a scale of fees that varies according to a particular standard variation. Hence, you wouldn't have to pay as much as the standard fee. Another way to get a reduced cost for therapy is by subscribing to community mental health centers. They offer low-cost online therapy options and health services for those in need.
Interestingly, support groups are highly helpful, as well. Support groups are traditionally free or come at a low cost. Besides, support groups can be a great start to a new life.
- Are there any free counseling apps?
With the increase in the need for counseling today, so many platforms develop medically reviewed ideas to help people's mental health. One of the significant innovations is free therapy apps for stress management, anxiety depression, and more. They provide services that support and help those feeling anxiety and depression or stress.
Interestingly, there is a long list of apps available on the internet as therapy options. For this reason, it would help if you choose the best of them. However, selecting an app is not an easy or straightforward task. Hence, try reading through app reviews and testimonies. Platforms like 7 Cups of Tea and BetterHelp provide an application for users.
Even with free counseling apps, there are crucial things that you may need to analyze before using them for online treatment. For example, you should confirm whether the app is user-friendly. So, tiny details like navigation are vital. A free counseling app should be easy to use. Besides, the online counseling platform should be completely compatible with your mobile device. In other words, if you use an Android device, ensure that the app supports your operating system. You should find all these details on the counseling app's official website. Using a medically reviewed free counseling application has its advantages. Aside from the fact that you don't need to pay, you can also enjoy the ease of online therapy or online treatment.
- Is BetterHelp for free?
One of the reputable counseling services available is called BetterHelp. However, it isn't free. Clients need to pay a specific amount of money to enjoy their benefits. Fortunately, their service doesn't have a high cost as well. A fair number of people use BetterHelp and pay fees as low as $60-$80 in one week. Compared to the services online that you will receive, the cost is entirely worth it. Some of the traditionally free services like support groups are very beneficial, but it's incomparable to speaking with a mental health professional.
At BetterHelp, online therapy providers are well-experienced in their various fields. Mental health professionals are skilled at dealing with issues like anxiety disorders, relationship counseling, and more. On the platform, you are paying for the mental health services of licensed professionals and social workers that are great at helping people. Now, visiting an online psychiatrist and psychologist or even a counselor has its benefits to seeing a physical one. In your online therapy session with BetterHelp, you are linked to an expert mental health provider.
- What are the 3 types of therapy?
Therapy is broad and has different types. Due to the importance of therapy today, each one of the kinds of therapy is crucial. Interestingly, the various types of psychotherapy are closely linked and related. They all deal with mental health issues to ensure a better life. The three types of therapy are:
- Counseling: The diverse kinds of counseling are crucial to help people overcome significant challenges. However, this type of therapy primarily deals with providing support for everyday problems. It is very beneficial to individuals needing stress management, anger management or couples with marriage challenges. Besides, counseling is also effective at assisting people in making crucial choices like career options. For this reason, many schools adopt a system of employing a licensed therapist to help students through fundamental life problems or mental health issues. You may also discover this in a support group. Mostly, an online therapy session is traditionally around an hour-long, once a week or month. You may regard counseling as one of the most common types of therapy among the three therapy options. Besides, it’s very relatable as well.
- Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Traditionally, this therapy is useful for treating stress, anxiety and depression, and more. It helps patients with mental health problems focus on their emotions instead of feeling overwhelmed. Besides, the therapy also encourages clients to let go of the past and future worries. Overall, mindfulness-based-therapy teaches to stick in the present, ignoring the past. Under mindfulness-based therapy, there is stress-based therapy, as well. In MBSR, some activities like meditation, yoga, and regular exercises are encouraged. In some cases, these exercises are combined with MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) to assist with depression.
- Family Therapy: Just as the name sounds, family therapy is created to help families overcome a particular challenge. Examples of different events include divorce, death, adolescent issues, grief, substance abuse, or mental health disorders. Other therapies under family therapy consist of the Systemic Family Therapy, Supportive Family Therapy, CBT, and Psychodynamic method.
Other kinds of medically reviewed treatments exist aside from counseling, mindfulness-based therapy, and family therapy. Examples include couples therapy, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and more.
- What is the best free app for anxiety?
Anxiety is a significant mental health challenge for a large number of people. Mental health issues demand the use of helpful tools to provide support. Due to daily challenges and more, some applications help deal with anxiety. Please note that there is a long list of apps that you can use to treat anxiety depression. It's also crucial that you remember that direct counseling should be the best option for dealing with anxiety stress and depression. Some of the best available apps for helping anxiety include Happify, Brain.fm, Pacifica, Mood Path, TalkLife, Worry Watch, and more. These apps are helpful, based on popular opinions. However, you should always consult a therapist or for help, if you notice any anxiety signs. Meanwhile, in cases where this may be due to physical harm like domestic violence, please make an emergency call.
- Is BetterHelp worth the money?
As a site, BetterHelp focuses on providing help for various people in need. Hence, just like every other reputable online counseling and therapy site, BetterHelp offers adequate support for clients in need. Thus, you should be asking if online therapy sites are worth it generally, instead of BetterHelp. Fortunately, they are worth the money. The platform provides online therapy and counseling services for different classes of individuals. Generally, due to the mental health challenges that people face daily, using sites like BetterHelp is essential for support. Impressively, this site provides mental health experts in the field that are willing to support you through challenges.
- What is the best type of therapy for anxiety?
There are different kinds of therapy for anxiety that are helpful. However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most commonly used therapy for anxiety disorders. It's useful in treating panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, phobias, and other mental health problems. Please note that this technique may not be utilized as a treatment for depression. CBT deals with the way we view the world as a whole. However, you should know that it comprises two different types of therapy. These types include Behavioral therapy and Cognitive therapy. Behavior therapy deals with the way you behave and act when something happens that triggers anxiety. For cognitive therapy, it deals with your negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. It would help if you got a medically reviewed treatment for this condition. CBT primarily deals with the fact that what we think influences how we feel.
- What is the best type of therapist?
The best online therapist for you strongly depends on the kind of therapy you will receive. However, it's crucial that you understand why you need to get therapy in the first place. Many therapy treatments are based on previously diagnosed psychiatric disorders like Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Besides, it's crucial that you find an online therapist that has excellent experience and is trained in specific types of therapy. It would most importantly be best if you asked enough questions when conversing with your mental health professional. Besides, the best kind of therapist possesses a legal license to practice in a state. Also, he or she receives regular professional training with malpractice insurance as well. It's crucial to know the best kind of mental health professional for the sake of your general wellbeing.
- What is the difference between therapy and counseling?
Counseling, therapy or psychotherapy are traditionally used hand-in-hand. However, unlike counseling, therapy occurs for a much longer time. Traditionally, a medically reviewed counseling session is always shorter than a therapy session, and it only deals with a few issues. Counseling focuses on a specific subject. For instance, it deals with addiction, anger management, stress management, and other mental health challenges. Unlike counseling, therapy deals with the problem of one's state of mind and perception in relation to the interaction with the world. Hence, if a person has a mental illness like depression or anxiety disorder that affects their daily life, therapy is advisable to help navigate those struggles.