Online counseling is becoming more popular. As technology improves and online counseling services become more numerous, many people will start to prefer speaking to a counselor from the comfort of their own home rather than seeking one in real life.
Online counseling can also be cheaper, sort of. While a month of online counseling may end up costing less than a month of traditional counseling, there are still some drawbacks. It’s much harder to find online counseling outlets that will accept insurance. Besides that, it’s also much harder to find pro bono services.
If you’re financially in a pinch, you may wonder if free counseling online is possible. We’re here to tell you that while it is more difficult, it is possible. Let’s look at some options you may have.
Many online counseling websites charge money, but they do offer a free trial. It may be for a week, maybe two, and if you cancel before then, you don’t have to pay any money.
A week or two for counseling doesn’t sound like it is enough, and usually, it’s not. You do need around five or more sessions to accomplish your goals. However, one or two sessions, along with texting, may help you if you need something that’s quickly fixable, or if you just need a jumpstart on seeking help.
Hotlines Have Free Chats
When you think of hotlines, you typically imagine the phone. However, the major hotlines tend to have other outlets as well, including online chats, which are free to use.
A hotline is typically associated with something severe, such as abuse or thoughts of suicide, but they can be used if you just need someone to talk to. The people behind the hotlines are not professional counselors and not a long-term solution, but if you need an active listener and someone to help guide you to some resources, it’s worth it to chat with one and see what they can do for you.
Some Traditional Counselors May Have Online Services
With traditional counseling, it’s much easier to find free options. Whether it’s from your insurance, or a pro bono slot, you can get the help you need for your personal problems or your relationships at no cost. Some counselors may offer online services, such as scheduling a video chat with you or communicating through email. Many are incorporating more remote features as online counseling continues to evolve.
Some Online Therapy Outlets May Accept Insurance
As online therapy and counseling continue to grow, many insurance providers are starting to incorporate online therapy and counseling into what they cover, and more online therapy websites and apps are starting to accept insurance. Talk to your insurance provider to see what they cover.
School Counselors May Offer Online Services
If you’re in college, you have free therapy options available. Whether you want to talk about your education, or your stresses as you go through college, school counselors are there for you. Some may use email or even video chat to communicate with you, making it easier to find free online counseling.
Self-Help Using Apps
Okay, this isn’t talking to a counselor, but there are many mental health apps where you can get some good mental health workouts in, and it may be able to help improve your problems. For example, you can find meditation apps for free or for a free trial, and these can help with various issues. From sleep problems to anxiety, learning meditation and mindfulness is a good solution. Many of these apps are developed by professionals as well, so you know you’re getting quality help. For more severe problems, we do recommend talking to a person, however.
While they may not be led by a professional, looking for support groups can help you with your issues. For instance, if you’re a recovering alcoholic, forums dedicated to that can keep you from relapsing and you can connect to people who are dealing with the same issues as you are. These support groups are usually free to join, and they can be good if you need some quick advice. Just remember that these people are not professionals, and for more severe issues, you may want to talk to a professional counselor.
Free Vs. Affordable
Quite often, you’ll find online counseling services that bill it as affordable, not free. Affordable online counseling services might be your best option if you have some money to spend. Also, since these services charge monthly, that may make it easier for you to pay them.
With online counseling, you usually end up paying less due to the fact that therapists and counselors can work from home. In addition, online counseling gives you a few plans to choose from. If you can’t afford much, you can pick the basic plan, which can still offer you quality care for less money.
While it’s more difficult to find free online counseling, it’s not impossible. With enough digging, you can get the help you need for no extra cost to you.
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