Substance and behavioral addictions don’t just take a toll on the individual struggling directly with the disorder. More often than not, it creates a negative ripple effect into other areas of their life such as relationships, work and school.
Fortunately, there are plenty of treatments readily available for those struggling with drug, alcohol or behavioral addictions — including affordable, online options.
This online form of counseling and therapy (known as virtual counseling or teletherapy) is not new to the medicine world, but became increasingly popular during the pandemic-induced lockdowns, and still remains widely used.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how and when virtual counseling can be beneficial to you in your recovery, as well as what you can expect from virtual counseling as opposed to seeing one of your medical providers (doctor, therapist, or counselor) in person.
What is virtual counseling?
Virtual counseling — also commonly referred to as teletherapy, e-therapy, e-counseling, cyber-therapy and cyber-counseling — is a form of counseling that transpires over technology as opposed to in-person.
It can happen in real time, such as through a scheduled phone call or live video chat, as well as in a “delayed” format, such as through email, voice memos and texts.
Virtual counseling is nothing new, but was often conventionally thought of to be a resource only available to those too sick to physically visit their medical provider, or unable to (such as not having access to transportation). It is, however, available to everyone, and is not restricted to people who fall within those two categories.
Virtual counseling has become increasingly popular for those in addiction recovery, though it’s only recommended once you have reached a certain stage in your recovery, as inpatient rehabilitative services are crucial for stabilizing an individual in the initial stages of sobriety.
When to use teletherapy in recovery
There is a point in your recovery journey where you might be offered the opportunity to transition your therapy and counseling sessions online, as opposed to being required to attend in-person meetings.
This stage is typically when you are in an outpatient program, as outpatient programs are the beginning of your transition to independence. This is typically the phase in recovery when you are beginning to look for a place to live (whether that means living truly independently or enrolling in a sober living house), applying for jobs and perhaps resuming attending school.
Since an outpatient program is full of transitions, patients sometimes find themselves overwhelmed with how many new ventures and responsibilities they’re undertaking.
The time and energy it takes to attend recovery-based sessions and meetings in person can add to that overwhelm, making teletherapy an ideal alternative for those struggling in this area.
What to expect from virtual healthcare
Transitioning from in-person counseling to virtual counseling is an adjustment, but one that can be far less intimidating when you know what to expect.
Virtual healthcare typically consists of two things: a patient portal and virtual appointments.
You will most likely be assigned a virtual account within a patient portal. This “portal” is usually where you will be able to see your health history, review any medical tests you had done, request medication refills, schedule teletherapy appointments and submit payments.
Scheduling a virtual appointment is how you will receive your teletherapy sessions. These sessions might feel a little awkward at first as you adjust to speaking to your counselor through a screen and not in person. Sometimes silence will ensue, that’s okay; this is a different form of communication, and one you simply have to learn how to engage in.
Remember, your counselor is not there to judge you, but support, guide and encourage you.
Reach out when you need help
Whether you or someone you know is actively in recovery and needing additional support, or perhaps has suffered from a relapse since transitioning to independence, we’re here for you.
Here at Pyramid Online Counseling, we specialize in offering teletherapy services to help you foster strong behavioral health, well-being and happiness. We practice client-focused care, which means we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, we instead prioritize you-focused treatment.
Our team of experienced medical professionals is committed to identifying your needs and empowering your goals so that you can access the highest quality of life, both in and out of recovery.
To learn more about how we can help you on your road to recovery, fill out this form today.