Frequently Asked Questions About Message-based Treatment

Do you know that texting can be used for therapy? Learn how texts from professionals can therapize you.

A writer stressed and feel troubled while looking for some ideas and doing some research for her next book. People have this writer stereotype: introverted, addicted to caffeine and alcohol, or simply insane. This image of a struggling and frustrated writer sometimes limits what we could be. Like everyone else, we should take care of our mental well-being. The stress that comes with being a writer is indeed real. Even so, having good mental health and healthy coping mechanisms can make your life and works better. Our work as writers can be taxing and tedious at times. Bombarded by deadlines, drafts, and lack of inspiration can deeply affect and demotivate us 
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People have this writer stereotype: introverted, addicted to caffeine and alcohol, or simply insane. This image of a struggling and frustrated writer sometimes limits what we could be. Like everyone else, we should take care of our mental well-being. The stress that comes with being a writer is indeed real. Even so, having good mental health and healthy coping mechanisms with the help of your therapist can make your life and work better.

Reading books and writing itself can be healing. Numerous studies have supported the physical and emotional benefits of reading and writing, including lowered blood pressure as well as reduced anxiety and stress levels. Our work as writers can be taxing and tedious at times. Bombarded by deadlines, drafts, and lack of inspiration can deeply affect and demotivate us. With this, how can you bring back the joy in writing and possibly improve your work?

Therapy is available to help us deal with all of these feelings and problems. For some, however, treatment can be a daunting endeavor. Sitting at an expert’s office and opening up maybe a terrifying situation. In this case, traditional treatment may not be an ideal option for you.

Despite this, other treatment methods are available for people who find traditional treatment ineffective or uncomfortable. Text-based therapy which involves messaging your therapist instead is a good alternative. In this type of treatment, you will communicate to your counselor through chat or other messaging platforms. It may or may not involve call or virtual sessions, depending on your service plan. Like other methods, this treatment may be beneficial for people who prefer messaging instead of real-time interaction.

This treatment is especially helpful for people who express selves better through writing rather than speaking. However, some downsides come with it, too. Delay in responses from your counselor and misunderstanding due to lack of verbal and non-verbal cues are possible. Meanwhile, you may opt to do an initial consultation to determine if this treatment mode is good for you.

Real Questions: Text-Based Therapy

Should You Message Your Therapist?

It depends on your arrangement with a specialist. It’s important to set ground rules and boundaries first. Remember, this kind of messaging should not replace treatment. Hence, it’s just an accessory to it. Most experts allow messaging, especially during emergencies.

Is Talkspace Real Therapy?

Yes, Talkspace is an online message-based therapy platform with licensed therapists. This treatment is a good option for people who do not have time for traditional treatment. Talkspace covers a broad range of mental health services. It offers unlimited treatment through subscriptions allowing you to message your therapist 24/7. However, although you can send messages to your therapist 24/7, they may not give immediate responses depending on time differences and working hours.

Is Effective Talk Therapy?

A study showed that early talk therapy treatments could reduce long-term risks for severe mental health conditions. Talk treatment, also known as psychotherapy, allows clients to discuss and voice their health professionals’ issues.

This form of treatment believes that mental disorders are mostly based on reactions to the environment. It treats such conditions through discussion, behavioral changes, and mindset changes. However, its effectiveness relies on the client’s willingness and honesty throughout the process, for the patient-counselor dynamic can affect the treatment’s success.

Does Online Treatment Work?

In general, yes. Research shows that online treatment is as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression. Online treatment offers a lot of benefits in terms of convenience, accessibility, and comfort.

Online treatment is ideal for:

  • People who prefer having treatment at home;
  • Those who want more time to process their responses;
  • People who express themselves better through writing;
  • Those who wish to notes of their treatment sessions;
  • People who feel pressured or judged during face-to-face sessions;
  • A greater sense of comfort and safety.

Is Online Therapy Bad?

Despite the advantages of online treatment, it has some limitations. In recent years, the information privacy of these sessions has been questioned. Make sure to use a site that has encryption. It is a must to protect your privacy. Clients must ensure a counselor’s licensing. This is to guarantee their qualification for mental health services.

Critical limitations of online therapy are the following:

  • You cannot receive a prescription. You will need to visit a medical doctor for one.
  • The tone of voice is hard to replace, and this can cue therapists on emotions.
  • Nonverbal cues are lost.

Is Therapy Harmful?

Therapy can be potentially harmful. For example, a client with past trauma will need to revisit these experiences to help the counsellor understand their current needs. Treatment may make the client feel re-traumatized by the experience.  Meanwhile, counselors with a narrow treatment approach can also be harmful or ineffective as some people respond better to medication than talk therapies and vice versa. Continuously forcing one treatment, despite being ineffective on the client, will be harmful.

What Not To Tell My Therapist?

You can tell your counselor anything. However, do this at your own pace. You don’t need to share everything during the first session. Take your time until you feel comfortable sharing difficult experiences. Rest assured, counselors are required to keep your sessions confidential except if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a client is dangerous to themselves or someone. They may need to have a third party involved in this case.

A woman looking for counseling with the use of her phone. Messaging treatment is a great alternative for people who prefer messaging to manage their stress and anxiety instead of real-time interaction. 
Source: pixabay.com

Can I Hug My Therapist?

It depends on the therapist. Some will be perfectly OK with the idea, and some won’t.

Make sure to set boundaries and discuss this with your therapist. Counselors, in principle, are not allowed to initiate hugs due to ethical guidelines, as these can be easily misinterpreted. Hugs and other forms of touch may lead to softening and breaking boundaries between the client and counselor, which can be dangerous for either of them.

Signs Of A Bad Therapist

Here are some signs of a lousy therapist to watch out for:

Crossing Boundaries: if they make you uncomfortable, touch you inappropriately, make sexual advances, or ask to meet you outside treatment sessions.

  • Misaligned Or Poor Training: if they lack sufficient or specific training to address your issues and attempt to treat your problems
  • Dismissive: if they seem disinterested, do not provide actionable guidance, always reschedule, ignore what you tell them, and dismissive of your issues.
  • Controlling: if they try to control your behavior or enlist you to support their personal or business interests.

Is Therapy Working?

Your treatment is working if you start to feel better. You may observe a shift in mindset, better relationships with others, and altered diagnoses. Remember that progress looks different for everyone in terms of time and goals.

Therapy is a dynamic process. Goals can change over time. And the process is not linear. Sometimes, feeling worse can also be a sign of progress. Treatment requires clients to deal with issues – these changes can be challenging. Feel free to discuss with your counselor how progress can look like for you. They can define your goals and measures of success.

Is It Normal To Hate Your Therapist?

You may not always like your counselor. Anxiety and stress in the treatment process are expected, and you will not always agree with your counselor. Hating your therapist can be due to several factors such as the treatment process itself, the stress either you or the therapist is experiencing, or something else. Make sure to recognize the difference between short-term stress due to disagreements or working on specific issues and a long-term problem. Long-term issues may be due to a bad counselor. Or simply because you don’t get along with them.

Do Therapists Give Up?

In general, counselors do not “give up” on clients. However, the following are cases where a counselor will stop seeing a client when:

  • The client cannot pay for their services;
  • The therapist determines that the client’s issues are outside their training and license;
  • The therapist finds the client particularly difficult to work with;
  • There is no improvement on the client;
  • And when the therapist determines that the client is well enough to be on their own.

Do Therapists Cry In Therapy?

Therapists crying in treatment is not a rare occurrence. A study reported that over 70% of counselors have reported having cried in treatment sessions. Therapists described themselves, tearing up rather than sobbing. The study covered beginners to experienced and noted that older and more experienced counselors were more likely to cry.

This occurrence can be dependent on the dynamics of the client and the therapist. Some therapists feel comfortable doing so and feel it positively impacts the relationship through sincere empathy. However, some clients can find counselors crying off-putting or upsetting.

Do Therapists Fall In Love?

From an ethical and professional perspective, counselors don’t fall in love with clients.  Treatment is intrinsically an unbalanced relationship where a specialist focuses solely on the client. Their responses may be incredibly supportive and loving, but it’s from a therapist’s standpoint rather than a friend or relational partner. A brief attraction or infatuation may be possible, but counselors should not let it go further from that.

Can Therapists See Through Lies?

Yes, but it’s OK. It’s natural for people to present a better version of themselves. We also tend to see things from our perspective and remember them a bit differently each time. Therapists understand this and will wait until you’re ready to share honestly.

Conclusion

There are many instances where we neglect our mental health as writers. Deadlines and other demands can carry us away and allow us to forget both our physical and psychological health. Regardless, we are still humans. Rest from work and other possible stressors in our life is important. Good results won’t come if we continue to burn ourselves out.

Many writers find comfort in words. Words are part of who we are – our work and most likely passion. Writing may also be the path on which we can heal ourselves. The therapeutic power of writing and reading are supported in numerous studies over the years. There are ways and methods on how to use writing to express and explore ourselves in treatment. It includes text-based treatment as an option.

Woman writing down things to do to manage her anxieties and problems better while relaxing in a park
Source: pixabay.com

Text-based therapy services offer a messaging platform that connects us with a specialist we can talk to asynchronously. You are free to message your counselor any time, but there can be a delay in the response. But rest assured that a counselor will get back to you with a thoughtful response to your problems.

This treatment is for you if interacting with your therapist is a great hindrance in expressing yourself. This treatment can help reduce the anxieties of talking, which then allows for more comfort. Compared to traditional treatment, this treatment is usually more affordable and convenient.

If you find yourself managing your stress and anxieties better, it’s an indicator that message-based therapy is effective. Although progress is measured differently from person to person, reaching goals set during treatment sessions is a good gauge. Of course, this kind of treatment may not be for everyone. Feeling re-traumatized, harassed, or uncomfortable is a sign that you either have to change your therapist or treatment mode.

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