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Quality Online Therapy: How to Choose

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, nearly all psychologists are offering their counselling service via video or phone.

Finding a good online psychologist can be like finding a needle in a haystack! In Melbourne alone there are thousands of online therapists.

Whilst searching for online therapy may feel a little overwhelming at first, it’s worth the effort, because if you land yourself a psychologist who is a good fit for you, you should expect improved wellbeing as well as achievement of your personal goals.

In fact, online therapy has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy.

What to Consider in Finding Good Telehealth and Online Therapy Services

If you simply just pick any psychologist off the internet, it’s unlikely they will be a good fit for your needs and personality. For example, they may not be “experts” in the areas you’re seeking help for or they may not be relatable to your personality.

Therefore, it’s important in your search for good Telehealth and online therapy services to be specific in your search.

There are 3 major pointers to consider in finding good Telehealth and online therapy services

Find an Australian online psychologist

I believe it’s a mistake to not see a psychologist based in Australia. There are many large companies in the US that offer online therapy to Australians, but unfortunately a few problems arise from seeing someone overseas.

  1. There is no Medicare rebate. If you’re Australian and your psychologist is also Australian you can most likely access Medicare rebates (and some psychologists may bulk bill you).
  2. You’re on weird time zones, making it challenging to arrange appointments.
  3. An overseas psychologist will not share an understanding of Australian culture and lifestyle – for example, you would need to explain things like our university system or coffee and food obsession.

TIP: In your search for an online psychologist, it’s worth looking for someone local, as you may eventually want to meet them in person, particularly when the coronavirus outbreak subsides and comfort increases to venture outside our homes again.

Find a Psychologist with the Right Speciality and Personality

It’s important to realise psychologists tend to focus their careers in specific areas of mental health and there is no such thing as a ‘jack of all trades’. While most psychologists will be able to help you with common problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress, they need further training and experience to help with issues, such as eating disorders, trauma, alcohol abuse or relationship difficulties.

It’s also worth considering the personality of your online psychologist. Just as you may not like your colleague at work who is direct and matter of fact, you may not like a psychologist with these same personality traits. Similarly, while you may love people in your personal life who enjoy a laugh, you’re also more likely to build a good relationship with a psychologist who has a good sense of humour.

It’s worth also considering the age and gender of your Telehealth psychologist. While age and gender has nothing to do with the quality and skill of a psychologist, it can make a difference to your comfort level and willingness to open up during the therapy process.

Consider practicalities when choosing a psychologist

Depending on your finances you may like to consider an online psychologist who bulk bills via Medicare or a private psychologist. Differences in pricing can range from free of charge to approximately $200 out-of-pocket. If you have private health insurance, fortunately your ‘extras’ will chip in for private psychology Telehealth sessions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Telehealth and online therapy services also widely differ in the online platforms they use to conduct video sessions. You may have a preference for a particular platform, otherwise, be prepared to use either Skype, Zoom or Coviu,; all of which have excellent reputations for their security.

Depending on your availability, you may like to consider the hours of operation of your online psychologist. Many psychologists work daytimes with a combination of after-hours (and sometimes on weekends).

How to Find Suitable Telehealth and Online Therapy Services?

The easiest way to find good Telehealth and online therapy services that suit your needs is to either seek a recommendation from your GP or a friend, or research online.

Searching online may take a little time, but thorough research will pay off. I recommend following these simple steps:

  1. Find local psychologists that offer online therapy. Make sure to search for bulk billing online psychologists if you can’t afford any out-of-pocket expense.
  2. Select four local psychologists who fit your criteria – e.g. age, gender, speciality.
  3. Thoroughly read their profiles to get a “feel” for their personality and style. Narrow down your list to two psychologists.
  4. Contact your final two psychologists to chat about what you’re seeking help for. Since a good relationship is paramount to the success of therapy, pick the psychologist who made you feel most at ease. If you can’t speak to a psychologist before making an appointment, usually an intake support staff will openly discuss the personality and style of their psychologists.

Telehealth and Online Therapy Services at Peaceful Mind Psychology

Located locally in Melbourne, Peaceful Mind Psychology offers Telehealth and online therapy services. Our team of psychologists are professional and warm, with training and experience across a broad range of mental health areas. Read here for a full list of our services and skills.

We offer online therapy via Skype or Zoom. Our psychologists work during daytime and after-hours (including Saturdays).

Contact us today to learn about our fees and be personally matched with a psychologist who suits your needs and personality.