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Here's How Online Therapy Can Help If You Deal With Bipolar Disorder

Jennifer Fritz
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Here's How Online Therapy Can Help If You Deal With Bipolar Disorder
The introduction of online therapy to the mental health world was a game changer for the field. Often referred to as e-counseling, these sites allow for direct access to considerate and licensed psychologists, social workers, and counselors who are trained to work with people in a multitude of different ways.

Whether it’s the convenience or the limited access of qualified therapists, top online therapy services are a viable alternative to seeing someone face to face. Though there should be no shame in seeing a therapist, many people worry about what others might think and wait far too long to take the first step. Online options eliminate this fear and people are much more apt to reach out.

But how does online therapy work? The many different online therapy options have created a plethora of choices for people in a world in which so much is now done remotely. People can do a session on their lunch break or in between meetings, while not having to leave the office. Others find participating in a session from home is ideal. Whatever a person chooses, the point is really that online therapy offers choices for people who have never known such choices before. 

Another major advantage with online therapy is time. A 50-minute, in-person therapy session can become a 2-hour session because of parking, driving, and the session itself, whereas a 50-minute session is just that—50 minutes. And this time could be even longer for those who live in remote areas and must travel further to see an in-person therapist.

Online Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

While a great number of people seek online therapy because of things like relationship issues, eating disorders, or anxiety, many seek support for other mental health disorders. An example is someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression), a mood disorder characterized by some sort of mood swings. 

More specifically, it is illustrated by a shift in activity levels, mood, and energy. The shift goes from extremely up (which is the manic phase) to extremely down (which is the depressive phase). There are 3 major types (and other variations) of bipolar disorder, and each have different characterizations. This is obviously a very simplified definition, and it is important to be much more clinically well versed if you want to learn more about it.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, almost all people are given prescription medications, and therapy is highly encouraged. Working with someone who is highly skilled in working with a bipolar diagnosis is imperative, and that is one of the many benefits of an online therapy site. Different variations of psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and stress regulation are some of the best-known therapeutic interventions for people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorders. Again, this is in accordance with the combination of therapy and their medication protocol.

Working With a Therapist for Bipolar Treatment

After a person has begun a medication protocol, they can begin their work with a therapist online. Doing psychotherapy or interpersonal therapy to figure out how bipolar disorder has impacted one’s life is a very important step. Learning to manage your lifestyle is also another thing to focus on. Adjusting to the diagnosis and then to a new way of living takes time and practice. This is where CBT might come in as well as some psychoeducation, depending on what is decided between client and therapist. As with any other diagnosis or disorder, the therapeutic process and approach varies by therapist and with each case.

Many online sites allow clients to choose therapists based on their areas of expertise. Many therapists specialize in working with people who have mood disorders or even bipolar disorders specifically. People should be sure their therapist is qualified, and that they feel connected. Being able to be honest in therapy is imperative to do the work honestly and authentically. Additionally, a connection to your therapist helps you feel committed to the growth process. Ethically, a therapist must refer you to another person if he/she feels ill equipped to work with you as well.

It is important to make sure that you feel connected to your therapist in terms of personality and style. Just like you would in a face-to-face setting or any other time you would be connected with a helping professional, you want to feel secure in your connection. However, just like any other setting as well, relationships do take a bit of time to develop, so be patient and remain hopeful. If you feel like your therapist is not a good fit, be sure to request to be transferred. You need to advocate for yourself—You are paying for a service and deserve to be happy.

More Ways to Be In Touch

Online therapy is easy and can be done from a phone, tablet, or computer. Most sites offer chat, phone, and video sessions, and in between you can message your therapist via your private portal anytime you like. Most sites have easy-to-navigate apps for your phone or device, which helps when you are on the run or unable to make it to your computer.

Online Therapy Is Cheaper

In many instances, you can have four sessions per month, depending on how you arrange your appointments. Prices range from about $35-$70 a week, while some have monthly packages with lower rates. Overall, online therapy is easier to arrange and cheaper. Although most online therapy is not covered by insurance, it is still just as affordable as in-person therapy by the time deductibles and copays are considered. 

For those without mental health insurance coverage, there is no question about affordability. This is especially true because of the frequent access you have to your therapist. In most cases, you can be in contact with your therapist daily, even just for a brief check in between your live sessions. For some clients, this consistency helps to keep focus, stay on track, and to be accountable.

Get the Help You Deserve

If you or your partner are dealing with bipolar disorder, don't hesitate to reach out for help.

In most instances, you can begin to see your therapist for live sessions within the first week of signing up, and homework can be given in between sessions. Depending on the therapeutic approach, there are worksheets and other tools that therapists can utilize in the treatment process. 

Online therapy sites are confidential and HIPPA compliant, and they follow even stricter guidelines than they did when they were first developed. Online therapy for someone who is bipolar is a great alternative to working with someone face to face. It can provide the same results and it allows for the creation of individualized treatment planning and better coping skills, which will help reduce the risk of relapse. Overall, online therapy can be a great option for people seeking support for a bipolar diagnosis.

Jennifer Fritz
Jennifer Fritz writes for top10.com and is a Licensed Social Worker. She received her MSW and PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has been an online therapist for several years. She specializes in areas such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, self-esteem and abuse.

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.