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How-To: Get the Most Out of Your Online Mental Health Care

Top10.com Staff
How to Make Sure You're Getting the Most of Your Online Mental Health Care
In 2017, it was estimated that more than 1 in every ten people is suffering from a mental illness of some sort, and the numbers continue to climb as life becomes faster, busier, and more stressful than ever before.

The solution is to provide more support, access, and guidance--and online mental health care is doing just that, in a more convenient package that’s better suited to our modern society.

And it’s working! Through the techniques, skills, and knowledge being imparted by telehealthcare systems all over the world, millions of people are more empowered and able to cope with their daily struggles. 

Wondering if you could benefit from online mental health care? If you’re struggling with emotional or mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, PTSD, eating disorders, social disorders, or others, chances are telehealthcare can help. 

Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your online mental health care right now.

#1 Write down your goals

Whenever you’re starting a new endeavor, it’s important to have clear goals. If you aren’t clear about what your goals are for these online mental health care sessions, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to concretize your thoughts and feelings:

  • What are you expecting to get out of your sessions? 
  • Do you need practical advice? Emotional support? Or a sounding board to bounce ideas off? 
  • What are the specific areas of mental health, or life in general, that you are trying to work on?
  • What are some current or past issues that you’d like to work through with your therapist?

These questions can be used to clarify your goals for more productive sessions. 

#2 Prepare your space 

While it’s important to be emotionally prepared for therapy, you’ll also need to be prepared technically. In terms of online mental health care, this means making sure you have a decent internet connection and a device to conduct the sessions over. You can use your computer, cellphone, or tablet for most services. If you are around others, you’ll probably want a closed room and headphones to maintain your privacy as well.

#3 Dedicate the time and effort

Online therapy is convenient, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. Telehealthcare has the same goal as traditional forms of health care: to help you achieve and maintain your health and wellbeing. When it comes to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, social disorders, PTSD, and others, there are a lot of techniques, tools, and information therapists can give you to overcome and manage your struggles. 

But YOU have to do the work. And that means dedicating time and effort to the work. While you can schedule online sessions at any time of the day or night, it’s important to be aware and totally devoted to the work involved. That means preparing yourself before sessions with questions or topics you want to discuss, being mindful and present during the sessions, and doing the exercises after the sessions. This will ensure that you get the most out of your online mental health care sessions.

#4 Honesty is the best policy

It can be difficult to open up to somebody you’ve just met, but holding back is counterproductive to therapy. Everybody has issues they’re dealing with, and therapists know that better than most. Realize that you’ve got nothing to prove, and everything to gain from sharing honestly with your therapist. Remember they’re there to help.

#5 Take notes

Mental health care is a work in progress. You’ll learn new tools, hear new ideas, and walk away with a different perspective. As mentioned, this is when the work begins; implementing those ideas and tools into your daily life. And that’s where the real growth and change can be seen.

But many people walk away from a therapy session completely blank. Within five minutes, they’ve forgotten what they talked about during the session, and all benefits are lost on them. This is why it is so important to take notes. This can be during the session or afterward, just jotting down a few sentences or keywords to help you remember what was discussed. What’s more, if you have an online mental health care service that provides you with unlimited chatting, you can keep a running log of questions and answers. You can also shoot the therapist a message when a question or issue comes up. Then they’ll answer you when they read the message. 

It’s also a great idea to keep a counseling journal. You can write down your thoughts, reactions, and feelings after each session and look back to see progress you’ve made, areas you’ve grown, or issues you feel still need to be worked on. It’s very important when working on mental health issues to have a big picture view, and looking back at where you came from can provide you with the clarity to see which areas require more work, take pride in the great accomplishments you’ve already made, and have the strength and encouragement to keep going. 

#6 Take advantage of the different communication methods

The ultimate benefit of telehealthcare is variety. There are so many tools to utilize for maximum efficacy and benefit. Maybe you’re most comfortable having a video session where you can see the therapist right in front of you. Or perhaps you warm up most during a phone conversation. Other people prefer to have the convenience of 24/7 chat functionality. 

Whichever method you prefer, it’s available to you. So take advantage of it. And by all means, use as many of the tools and methods available as you like. You might prefer video sessions, but need a quick question answered via chat. Or you might be sick of technology at the end of a long workday and just want to record a voice message for your therapist. If an interesting article piqued your curiosity, send a link to your therapist to discuss during one of your sessions.  The possibilities are for you, so seize your mental health.

#7 Embrace the flexibility of online sessions

Another beautiful aspect of online therapy is that it allows for non-traditional improvisation that in-person therapy simply can’t accommodate. For example, maybe you want to have a session while holding your cat (incorporating animal therapy too). Or you might enjoy baring your soul while wearing your coziest pajamas or drinking your favorite tea. Online means flexibility, so embrace your options!

#8 Use verbal cues instead of relying on body language 

Because sessions are conducted online, body language won’t be as effective at communicating your emotions. You’re going to have to verbalize your thoughts and feelings. This is excellent practice in bolstering your emotional and language skills. It will also help you get more out of your sessions. Putting your thoughts and feelings into words will help you clarify what’s going inside you, both for your therapist and for yourself. These are valuable life skills.

#9 Verbalize your needs and give feedback

Don’t be afraid to express your needs. The therapist is there to help you. If you aren’t quite getting what you need, express it clearly. Some helpful phrases you can use include:

  • Can you offer some practical tips for putting that into action?
  • What are some helpful techniques I can use when this happens?
  • How can I cope with this very real and present situation?
  • Can we brainstorm that idea some more?

#10 Get prescriptions when you need them

Talk therapy, CBT, and other forms of therapy are invaluable tools for managing mental issues. But there are some issues that require medications to correct an imbalance or provide support in other ways. Some online mental health care services can provide you with the prescriptions or referrals you need. Your therapist can help you explore this option and answer questions and offer resources regarding prescription medications. 

A New Way to Get Support 

Online mental health care is bringing vital services to people struggling with mental health issues on a daily basis. Convenient online sessions, flexible communication methods, and cost-effective subscriptions mean more people can get the help they need at last.

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors and writers with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.