Online therapy can be a great tool for busy moms.
For the past few months, I’ve been dealing with depression, despite being on anti-depressants. I assumed it was triggered by the chronic pain I have been experiencing since developing scar tissue adhesions following my hysterectomy for endometriosis. Having suffered from depression off and on since being diagnosed with postpartum depression many years ago, I didn’t want to let it get out of control. So I thought it was time to try out cognitive behavioral therapy via Online-Therapy.com.
Here’s a look at what my experience was like with online therapy.
How Does Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy Work?
I have tried online therapy before, in the form of online talk therapy. That means that I’ve video chatted with a licensed therapist to discuss my thoughts and feelings. I’ve also done talk therapy in person, so online talk therapy wasn’t much different from that, aside from the convenience of it.
But cognitive behavior therapy at online-therapy.com is a completely different world. First of all, it’s not talk therapy. It’s a series of activities that you do in order to help reprogram your brain. The idea being that if you can change your way of thinking, you can change your behaviors and ultimately, your mood.
Secondly, you do it all at your own pace. I decided to be more aggressive and try to complete all the sections in 30 days. This meant that I was logging on and completing at least one worksheet every couple of days. But there is no timeline, no deadlines, no schedules, no specific hours of availability. You can complete a worksheet in the middle of the night if you want to!
And finally, while you’re doing it all on your own, you’re never actually alone. You’re assigned one therapist to work with you throughout the entire process. As you complete sections and worksheets, your therapist will leave comments about what you’ve written. You can schedule a weekly live chat and you can email your therapist whenever you need to. Over the 30 days, I really did develop a bond with my therapist and looked forward to connecting with her during the weekly chats.
The Benefits of Working Solo
I’ve always been better working at my own pace. Some days I would complete an entire section with it’s corresponding worksheets, and other days I would just do part of a section and one worksheet. And while the worksheets are designed for self-reflection, I always looked forward to getting that notification that my therapist had responded to my answers. When it was time for our live chat session, I couldn’t wait to talk to her about some of the things we had worked on. She always had great input and feedback about the things I’d written in my worksheets.
While it was reassuring that my therapist was always there for me, I also felt empowered that I was taking control of my own thoughts and emotions. The worksheets really made me think. I was responsible for examining my own negative behaviors and how I responded to certain triggers. Taking ownership of my reactions to common situations made me want to change my behaviors even more.
Towards the last few sections, I became much more efficient at recognizing my negative thoughts and behaviors and how to replace them with positive ones, or healthier negative ones. At the time, I found some of the worksheets to be repetitive, but now I see that was done on purpose. Having to recall certain thoughts and behaviors over and over meant finding out which ones affected me the most.
The Online Therapy Toolbox
The sections and worksheets are just one part of the cognitive behavior therapy process. In order to get the most out of therapy, I needed to make some life changes.
Yoga and meditation was something I have been wanting to incorporate into my daily life for a while now. In the online therapy toolbox, there are a series of yoga videos that I can access at any time, and they include both short workouts and longer ones.
The online journal was another great tool available 24/7. As a writer, journaling has been something I’ve started and stopped several times throughout my life. But the online therapy journal isn’t just a blank page for me to write in all my thoughts, instead there were specific questions I needed to answer each day to get me thinking about how I wanted to feel. This made it easy for me to set goals each morning and be accountable for achieving those goals each evening.
The action plan was a place where I was really accountable for making progress. As I went through the online therapy course, I scheduled specific activities to help me get better. Things like yoga, exercise, socializing events and health appointments. As I completed each activity on my action plan, I checked off that it was done and it was added to my “ta-da” list (instead of a to-do list). Seeing all the actions I had completed towards improving my mental health gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Getting a Diagnosis
As I go through and complete the worksheets, my therapist reads all of my answers. She leaves a comment within 24 hours and I can reply if I want to. She was able to divulge certain things from my answers that I didn’t immediately see. Together, we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from some trauma related to my hysterectomy. I realized that I hadn’t grieved for the loss of my uterus in the right way and therefore, every time I felt pelvic pain, I was reminded of that loss.
Following that revelation, I began to work on activities to help me grieve. I started to write about the loss and allow myself to feel the emptiness, even cry about it. I now have an answer as to why the pain causes me to be depressed, and I have an action plan in place on how to replace that depression with something more positive.
Was 30 Days of Therapy Enough?
The thing about cognitive behavior therapy is that it’s not something someone else does for you. It’s something you learn to do yourself. It’s not like getting a massage, it’s more like learning how to drive. Once you learn how to change your thinking, it’s something you need to continue to do regularly. And the more you practice, the better and more confident you will get.
Online-therapy.com offers a course in cognitive behavior therapy. How long it takes you to complete the course is up to you. I managed to complete the entire course in 30 days but that doesn’t signal the end of my therapy. I now need to take everything I’ve learned and put into practice in my every day life.
Others may need longer than 30 days to complete the course and may want additional therapist support along the way. Thankfully, sessions are billed monthly and you can stop at any time with the click of one button. And you’ll still have access to your toolbox even after the subscription ends, so you can continue with the yoga and meditation, journal entries and action plan.
This was the right form of therapy for me because I find it easier to write out my emotions than to voice them. I was also in a place where I wanted to get better, and I wanted to take ownership of my own mind and moods. Those things were key to getting the most out of the online therapy experience.
If you’re not quite ready to do it on your own, consider the package that allows two live chats a week instead of one, so that you have that additional support. Online-therapy.com costs less than traditional talk therapy because you’re not paying for someone else’s time by the hour. I put off doing it for a long time because of the cost associated with it. But eventually I needed to prioritize my own mental health, no matter the cost.
So whatever your struggle is, I urge you to consider this option. You may not find a diagnosis or the root cause of your mental health issues in just 30 days, and you definitely don’t need to. For many people, mental health disorders are a lifelong battle. You may need to do multiple rounds of therapy or try a combination of treatment options to find relief. But if you’re interested in learning how to take control of your own mind and moods, then cognitive behavior therapy might be for you.