What is online therapy?
The term online therapy refers to psychotherapy or talking therapies that are delivered via the internet, most often through video conferencing, phone calls, messaging apps or email. Terms such as online counseling, e-therapy, telemental health, or teletherapy have also been used to describe online therapy.
The difference between digital and traditional therapy is the setting in which it is conducted, as traditional therapy usually entails in person therapy that occurs in a therapist’s office or clinic. Nevertheless, therapy in both settings is an effective way of dealing with mental health problems and distress and you can read more about therapy.
Although online therapy existed prior to the pandemic, the pandemic itself contributed to an increase in its use and the demand seems to have continued despite many businesses returning to face to face operations. Possible reasons for this may be the ease of access, affordability and acceptability of online therapy.
How to get therapy online in the UK?
As aforementioned, although some businesses have returned to in person operation some have also remained online.
You can therefore find digital therapy in the UK via traditional avenues such as the NHS. Any treatment offered through the NHS should be free and you can access therapy by talking to your GP, who will then refer you onwards to a suitable service, or you can refer yourself to your local IAPT ( Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service. It would be important to inform either your GP or the IAPT service that you would be interested in online therapy, as some may offer in person, a blend of both in person and online or solely online therapy. Often individuals will report that the long waitlists for the NHS are a deterrent from asking for help via this avenue.
Other alternatives for free or low cost online talking therapy can be charities such as your local Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, or Turning Point. You may also be able to access online therapy via your place of work or education.
Another way of accessing online therapy is going private. You may want to look through reliable websites of professional bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) or the British Psychological Society (BPS), to find an accredited therapist that practices online. You may want to use one of the various online therapy providers instead that have already made sure that their therapists meet the appropriate criteria to practice in the UK.
Nevertheless, private therapy is not affordable for everyone as seeing a Counselling or Clinical Psychologist in the UK can range from £120 to £180 per 50 minute session depending on their location, years of training and experience. Online and in person private sessions typically share similar costs.
Mindler is an online therapy platform that aims to provide more accessible therapy. We offer 50-minute sessions with accredited Counselling or Clinical Psychologists that cost £50 pounds and you are able to book an appointment within 24 hours. We also offer digital material that you have access to after your first appointment.
How does digital therapy work?
As aforementioned the context of online therapy is similar to traditional therapy but the setting differs as online therapy takes place virtually and can be attended via your smartphone or your laptop. The first step would be to find the most suitable online therapy provider or therapist for you and book an appointment. You may be required to fill in some information about yourself prior to your appointment and your first appointment is typically called an assessment. The assessment or first appointment is an opportunity for you to meet your therapist, discuss your symptoms and goals and collaborate on a plan. The appointments often take place via video chat, but can sometimes be over telephone or via messaging apps. Prior to your first appointment make sure that your device is working, that you have a good internet connection and that you are in a quiet space where you are less likely to be distracted or interrupted.
Mindler appointments with our accredited psychologists take place via the Mindler app, which you can download on your smartphone or tablet via the app store or google play. Once you have set up your account and logged into the application you will be able to choose your psychologist and book an appointment with them. In order to make the most of your appointment make sure your device is working, find a private and quiet space, use headphones and turn off phone notifications.
What does an online therapy session feel like?
If you have never attended a therapy session online or in person you may feel a bit nervous. Please remember that this is a completely normal response to starting something new. Nevertheless, being prepared can help us feel a bit more comfortable.
Before your session make sure that you remember what time and day your session is, you have charged your device, found your headphones, checked your internet speed and found a quiet and private space to have your session in. If you have any specific questions or concerns or worry that you will forget important information it may be useful to write things down.
During your first session the therapist may ask you questions about yourself, such as what brought you to therapy, what your symptoms are, how long they have been ongoing, and what your goals of therapy may be.
After the session you may find that you need some time to reflect on things, to decompress. You and your therapist may have agreed on homework for the week, which can be quite common when using an approach to therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This may involve tasks that you have agreed upon or specific reading. You may want to allocate time to do this in the week. It is also important to remember that a lot of reflection and change can happen outside of the session.
What is online talking therapy vs non-talking therapy?
Although talking therapy is effective in aiding individuals with ill mental health or distress it is not suitable for everyone. Non- talking therapies include self help books, ecotherapy, music therapy, dance therapy, art therapy and medication. Unfortunately some of these treatments may not be as widely used or researched as talking therapy. Nevertheless if you are interested in these you can look for practitioners in your area or talk to your GP.
Mindler also offers self help materials that you can access without having to talk to a therapist on a wide range of topics such as depression, anxiety, OCD, burnout etc.
What’s the effect and benefits of online therapy?
At Mindler we offer blended treatment. This involves 50-minute sessions with an accredited Clinical or Counselling Psychologist alongside our self-help materials, also known as iCBT. The benefits of blended treatment are its effectiveness, accessibility, affordability and convenience.
Research (Kleiboer, et al., 2016) suggests that therapy sessions along with iCBT can be more effective than therapy sessions alone. Additionally clients can use iCBT, in between sessions, in their own time, in order to work towards their therapeutic goals, which suggests that the therapeutic time is not limited to the session time and can also reduce overall treatment duration. Which in turn can save time and money.
Often clients may report that they have forgotten what was spoken about in the session, especially when they have been out of therapy for a while. The iCBT is always available for clients to revisit if they need a refresher.
The blended model enables the therapy sessions to be more focused, as reading through the specific iCBT programme that the client and therapists have agreed upon enables the client to learn and understand more about themselves and their presentation outside of the session and allows for time in the session to elaborate on significant points.
How much does online therapy cost in the UK?
Online and in person private sessions typically share similar costs. You may be able to access therapy via charities which may be free or low cost, or alternatively through the NHS where it is free.
In regards to accessing online therapy privately, the qualifications and experience of the practitioner will be reflected in the price, seeing a Counselling or Clinical Psychologist in the UK can range from £120 to £180 per 50 minute session.
Mindler aims to provide more affordable online therapy by offering 50 minute sessions with accredited Counselling or Clinical Psychologists that cost £90 pounds.
Can online therapists prescribe medication?
In order to answer this question it is important to elaborate on the distinction between psychologists and psychiatrists. Psychologists in the UK typically study psychology and may have a Doctorate in Psychology or Philosophy, which enables them to use the Dr. title in front of their names. Psychiatrists have studied medicine and are medical doctors. Both work with mental illness but only psychiatrists or a medical doctor such as your GP is able to prescribe medication. Hence online therapists or psychologists are not able to prescribe medication in the UK.
What kind of therapies are available online?
Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) encompasses any form of CBT that is delivered via the internet. The idea behind CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms are all linked.
Online couples therapy involves couples therapy that is delivered via the Internet. Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on minimising communication difficulties and conflict within a relationship
Anxiety can be defined as fear without a known object or source. Online treatment for anxiety may involve learning more about one’s triggers, how to cope with anxiety in the short term, like tools to calm oneself down and ways in which to reduce anxiety in the long term.
Family therapy online
Online Family Therapy involves Family Based Therapy that is delivered via the Internet. It is a specific approach to psychotherapy that focuses on various issues of a family, placing different individual difficulties in a broader context, of a family as a whole.
Trauma is used to describe a deeply distressing experience. Online trauma therapy may involve cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. Online trauma therapy will therefore include one of the aforementioned approaches to therapy and will be delivered via the Internet.
Online dbt therapy
Online Dialectical and Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is DBT delivered via the internet. The premise of DBT, whether online or in person, suggests that some individuals are more sensitive in certain emotional situations, typically involving romantic relationships, friends or family. They may also have difficulties with distress tolerance and self regulation skills. DBT tackles these difficulties by enabling the individual with vital tools to allow them to cope with a crisis rather than be overwhelmed by it.
Online emdr therapy
The focus of exposure therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) does not change when delivered online. Online EMDR therapy may possibly be enhanced by the fact that individuals receiving treatment can utilize different home comforts during treatment.
Compassion focused therapy online
Compassion focused therapy (CFT) online adheres to the same ideas. CFT links cognitive behavioural therapy along with ideas from evolutionary, developmental and social psychology, Buddhism, and neuroscience. Compassion, as the name of the approach suggests, is vital to CFT, as the ability to feel compassion towards oneself can increase one’s mental wellbeing.
Online ocd therapy
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder described by continuing intrusive thoughts frequently accompanied by repetitive behaviors. Treatment for OCD typically involves CBT and medication. Exposure therapy is a form of CBT that is particularly useful in the treatment of OCD. Online OCD therapy would therefore most likely involve CBT and exposure therapy.
Last updated on: 2023.02.24
Author: Antigone Lanitis