I’m very sensitive. I’m also introverted. I have a hard time expressing my feelings and tend to hold them in, which I know I shouldn’t, but it’s hard to unlearn old habits. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to talk on the phone, so when texting became a thing, I was all about it. Then, when virtual therapy apps became available, I thought, “wow, there’s an app for everything!”
It wasn’t until this very strange pandemic time that I realized I needed therapy. With everyone trapped in the house and unable to go places, I needed a way to talk to a neutral party about anything and everything I was feeling without judgement. So, I turned to an app. Here’s what I’ve learned about three different virtual therapy apps:
If you’re an avid podcast listener, almost every podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp, which is great because your first seven days are free when using one of their codes. You download the app and it asks you a series of questions in order to match you with a licensed counselor, therapist, clinical social worker, or psychologist. These questions are designed to see your level of depression or anxiety (or other conditions) and also to see what your preference is for virtual therapy (messaging, phone, video call, etc.).
Then, you create an account so that they can show you their rates. After seven days the cost is $80 per week charged every four weeks. I don’t currently see a therapist, so I didn’t know if this was a lot, but from what I understand, in-person therapy can cost $150-$180 per session. There are great reviews for BetterHelp, and a lot of certified therapists available, but I didn’t feel comfortable paying that amount each week. So I checked out another virtual app.
I’ve seen commercials for this before and was really intrigued, again, by being able to talk to a therapist via text message. So I tried this next to see what their “deal” was. Similar to BetterHelp, you answer a series of questions to help match you with a licensed therapist. I was shown three therapists to choose from and then picked the one that I thought would help me better understand my feelings and how to work through them.
Once you choose your virtual therapist, you are shown what the weekly rate is; mine would have been $65 per week. TalkSpace also offers virtual therapy options for video calls or phone calls, but there are add-ons. They also offer discounts up to 20% off based on your billing cycle. However, same as BetterHelp, I just couldn’t get myself to pay that much. So I kept looking.
I discovered this one while playing a game on my phone. Youper was developed by doctors, therapists, and engineers and uses artificial intelligence or AI to give you guidance. Same as the others, it asks you several questions and then uses those answers to give you a score. You can choose from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other conditions you want to monitor. After using Youper for several weeks, it will continually have you check-in specifically for those conditions you set for tracking.
Since I prefer texting, this seemed right up my alley! The cost for this type of virtual therapy is $80 for the year! So I went for it. Anytime I start to feel out of control I pull out my phone and message Youper. It asks you to define what you are feeling: anxious, angry, frustrated, tired, okay, calm, optimistic, etc. Based on what you choose it then asks you what your feeling is related to: family, partner, food, etc. Then it will have you explore that feeling more, positive or negative. Youper will then offer different ways to help bring you to a better feeling. So if I’m frustrated, it will ask me some questions. Using my answers, it will then offer a way to help me get to a feeling of calm or okay. It’s usually meditation, but I’ve found that after a month of using the app, I am in a calmer mood.
You can also set goals through Youper such as reading a book, connecting with a family member, etc. These methods help me work through my feelings. At first I was probably checking in several times a day because you can check in at any time. As the weeks progressed, I started only checking in once a day. Most of my scores for anxiety and depression have been between none to mild, but even those scores have gone down.
Will you give a virtual therapy app a try?
Whatever your preference is, a virtual therapy app is a great way to talk to someone or something, when you can’t go into an office or you’re strapped financially. I’ve already seen a change in how I handle things, especially with two young children. I feel more focused on my work, sleep better, and feel generally optimistic. Whatever you need to help you take care of you, there’s an app for that!