I was working in a University Counseling Center about five years ago when I realized how helpful online psychotherapy could be. Several of my therapy clients were graduating college before they were really ready to graduate from therapy. I wished that I could continue working with them, but most were leaving the area. Moves create an arbitrary end to therapy. I realized this wasn’t just affecting my clients. Data from the US Census Bureau suggests that the average American will move about 11 times. Starting over with a new therapist can be hard. It can be so hard that many clients simply won’t do it, even when they really need to. Online psychotherapy makes the therapist portable.
I watched as the demand for online psychotherapy grew so rapidly that legislative and professional bodies had to race to play catch up. Just five years later, not only are there legal and ethical guidelines about the provision of online services, many states are now pushing insurance companies to provide reimbursement for a variety of online services, including psychotherapy. As people have grown increasingly comfortable connecting online, industries are evolving to meet the consumer demands.
Last year I tried online psychotherapy for myself. As a psychologist, I’m just a little bit picky (okay, alot picky) about about my psychotherapy. Great therapy is about fit. The therapist should be extremely competent in the client’s specific needs and there must be a good connection between therapist and client. I realized quickly how limiting geography would be for me. Many of the best psychologists in my area were colleagues and friends, which meant that they couldn’t also be my therapist.
I kept hearing about a particularly good psychologist who worked a bit too far for me to commute. His name came up over and over again. Finally, I called and asked if he would be willing to do therapy online. To my great benefit, he agreed.
My friends and colleagues were right, his skill and style were a particularly good fit for me. But, to my surprise, so was the the mode of therapy. I never arrived to therapy frazzled by a frustrating commute. I had the time to spend a few minutes before sessions mentally preparing or jotting down some thoughts. I enjoyed sessions from the comfort of my own home and with my trusty dog by my side. I even found that the “distance” of working together online made it a bit easier for me to open up more quickly.
This may not be everyone’s experience, but it was such a positive and powerful one for me that I decided it was finally time to offer it to others. If you are interested in pursuing online psychotherapy, you can set up an appointment with me at https://itherapy.com/counselor/dr-amber-lyda/
Remember that good therapy is about fit. I encourage you to read more about me and also about others local to your area or online.
Our first session will be an assessment. Think of it as a mental health check up. I’ll ask lots of questions to get a good sense of who you are and how you might be helped. I’ll offer recommendations for treatment. They may be with me, or in cases where others would be a better fit, I promise to share that recommendation as well. The first session is not a commitment to therapy. You can choose to proceed or not. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and about the process. Each day is a new chance to invest in your best self.