Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders contribute to 14% of the global diseases, according to the World Health Organization’s report. And the report also claims that nearly 75% of these people have no access to proper mental health care. Stigma, unavailability of a therapist, and lack of time, money and energy are some of the factors behind this mental health gap. Online therapy is a reliable solution to most of these problems. Online therapy is providing therapy over the internet, through phone calls, or a mix of both. And if you are a licensed psychologist or a counselor, this article is for you. Do you want to make some extra money from the comfort of your house, or help people fight mental illnesses in remote corners of the world? Continue reading to know how to become an online therapist.
Online Therapist Job
An online therapist does the same job as that of a clinical therapist, but virtually. The basic requirements to become an online therapist include: the license provided by the state board to practice counseling, a high-speed internet connection, and a smartphone. Most state boards require a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or social work to become a licensed therapist. A person with a doctorate in psychology or philosophy can also become a psychotherapist. Therapists can also have licenses based on specialisations such as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Most of the service provider platforms expect a minimum of two to three years experience.
Engage Patients with Popular Mental Health Platforms
Some of the popular service provider platforms are BetterHelp, Talkspace and 7 Cups. They can become full time online therapists, or can also fill the free hours between existing appointments in the clinic. Online therapists have complete control over their work hours and number of clients. They have the choice of fixing appointments with the online client, or just talk to them over phone calls, text or email when free. They are expected to reply to the patient’s messages at least once a day on weekdays.
Therapists will be provided with the patient’s mental history in an online file. They will have a secure login option where all the client’s files and conversations are saved. But like any psychotherapy job, the therapist has to spend a few hours to analyse and make observation reports on the client for further treatment. And that time will not be accounted for. And as the site doesn’t employ you, but rather connects the providers and patients, you will have to pay a basic membership fee.
Pay per hour ranges from $15 to $50 based on experience and area of expertise. It is lesser compared to fees earned through clinical therapy. But the low income rates are compensated by the increased number of patients and expanded reach. It also helps you to get clients from far away towns and remote areas. The service provider platforms take care of acquiring clients, billing them, insurance and even taxes. This saves a great deal of time and increases your popularity. After a few years of practice, one can become an independent online therapist too.
Therapists can do additional courses to specialise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Humanistic Therapy, Mindfulness-based Therapy and Family Therapy. They can also specialise in treating specific mental illnesses such as PTSD, Schizophrenia, and Substance abuse. Every client looks for a therapist that caters to their specific needs and these specializations help you attract more clients. Once you attain the stage of being an independent online therapist, you can try blended therapy. Here, the patient can have both face-to-face and online sessions for better healing.
Online therapists are in demand today. You can use your knowledge and skills to make money from the comfort of your house. But also, your service will help people who have no access to therapy. A better mental health directly contributes to making one’s life better and easier. Healthy minds make a better nation. And this is your chance to help the world heal.