5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Perfect Online Counselor

Week 3 Blog: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Perfect Online Counselor

It’s no secret that finding the right provider for you is a very daunting task. Many times, that in itself is the reason that some people choose not to pursue the care they need and want. Many people don’t feel comfortable speaking their mind and opening up to someone they are not comfortable around. So, how do you pick the right one?

1: Location

The first and most important consideration is that your provider is legally allowed to serve you. With telemedicine, all licensed providers must have a license in your state! So, if you are located in Tennessee, a provider can’t give you services if they are only licensed in California. Now, if you are looking for services that are provided by a life-coach or another non-licensed providers, this rule does not apply and you can receive services across state lines.

2: Compatibility

Second, look for compatibility. You want someone who is going to make you want to attend that session.  So, how do you find out if you’re compatible? Probably the best way to do this is hold an initial consultation or short screening phone call. At first, you both will essentially be interviewing each other, so take your time. It might take multiple consultations before you’re ready to open up to this person, and that is perfectly fine!

3: Experience

Third, you have to make sure your provider is experienced. Sure you can find someone that is a great friend to you and has great advice, but how does that make them different from your family, friends, etc? Be sure to do your research, and ask a provider what type of license they hold. On top of that, ask how many times they’ve treated people experiencing similar issues to you. Although every case is different, it still helps to have that background experience.

4: Availability

Another important question to ask is availability. Most providers offer online therapy in addition to their in-person sessions. Make sure to ask your provider how busy they are with these sessions, and have them provide you with their availability to make sure they are open to help you when it’s most convenient for you! Also, telehealth is great because it allows you to receive services from someone located far from you, but make sure you take any time zone changes into account when scheduling with your provider!

5: Rates

As unfortunate as it is, healthcare is a business and services can be pricey at times. With that being said, many providers offer lower rates for online therapy because it’s easier on them!  Make sure you ask your provider about their rates before-hand, and compare them to other providers too! Many providers also use a sliding-scale payment method, ask them about that as well and maybe you can find yourself a cheaper rate!

When it comes down to it, choosing a provider is something that can be intimidating, but if you know the right questions to ask you’ll be able to find someone who meets and exceeds your expectations.  Also, remember to be patient. You may not find your perfect counselor right away, but it will be worth the time and effort when you do.  The beauty of telemental health is that location is no longer a barrier; the sky’s the limit with the number of providers that are available out there – it’s just a matter of finding the right one.