Is Online Therapy in CA the Right Option for You?


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Online therapy has been around for a while, but skyrocketing demand for these services has led to an explosion in new telehealth programs. Because each state has its own regulations for mental health care providers, you can only work with a therapist who’s licensed in your state.

During the coronavirus pandemic, many California adults experienced psychiatric distress and decreases in mental wellness. Like everywhere else, therapists in our state were challenged to meet higher demands while limiting the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, videoconferencing technology and secure, optimized teletherapy systems were already in use. Therapists who weren’t already offering virtual sessions had immediate incentive to update their practices.

When making the initial shift to online therapy, California residents were some of the fastest adopters in the nation: 49% of adults in California used telehealth in 2021, which is 12 percentage points higher than the national average. Lightfully provides virtual therapy in California and Colorado with our Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP).

Are you thinking about finding an online therapist in California? There are a lot of good reasons to make the switch to online sessions. Keep reading to learn more.

Online therapy basics

In clinical terms, there isn’t much of a difference between in-person therapy and virtual. The same methodologies that work in the office setting generally work via videoconference. What might make a big difference, however, are your personal needs and preferences. For example, if you don’t have a reliable internet connection or a private space to log on for your sessions, online therapy might not be the best fit for you.

Online therapy allows you to work toward your therapy goals from the comfort of your own space or anywhere you can find some privacy. You can discuss everyday issues that affect your mental health, get educated on the processes going on in your brain and body, or develop skills for coping and managing your emotions. You may find online therapy less disruptive to your daily routine. 

Lastly, eliminating the trip to your therapist’s office comes with a lot of benefits. You’ll save some time and money, and nobody will ever see you going in or out. If the stigma around mental illness is a challenge for you, teletherapy might be a good option. However, if you find it easier to communicate in person than through a computer screen, our in-person Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) may be a better choice.

Benefits of online therapy

For a lot of people in California, online therapy is an effective choice. If you’re not so sure, learning about the benefits might help you with your decision.

Here are some benefits of online therapy:

  • Convenience and accessibility — Online mental health support provides convenient and easily accessible resources and assistance. Through video calls, individuals can seek help anywhere and almost anytime.
  • Privacy — Virtual therapy platforms focus on security and confidentiality. Those who may feel uncomfortable seeking in-person support enjoy more privacy accessing therapy from home.
  • Wide range of resources — Self-help forums, materials and tools for mental wellness were available on the internet before the pandemic. Now you can connect with your peers through newer formats like virtual support groups. Therapists can create enhanced interactive experiences with existing resources.
  • Affordability and cost-effectiveness — Online psychiatrist care in California is the same cost as in-person appointments. Also, there’s no added cost or time commitment for making the commute to your provider’s office.
  • Diverse and inclusive support — Telehealth is also inclusive and accommodating to individuals with limited mobility or disabilities, providing culturally sensitive support. People from marginalized communities may feel safer with a telehealth experience.

Lightfully’s virtual treatment program

We offer a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) that goes a few steps beyond what online therapy providers do. We take a comprehensive and holistic approach to support all-around mental wellness rather than simply reducing symptoms. vIOP sessions can take three to six hours per day, and you’ll engage with multiple therapy modalities. Your personalized treatment plan will be tailored to fit your needs, so you’ll have an individual therapist, family therapy sessions, online support groups and more. 

Here are some of the highlights of our vIOP:

  • Learning social and emotional skills in your home environment, where you’ll use them most
  • Small groups of 10 clients or fewer
  • Family therapy sessions to help you build your support system
  • Personalized treatment plan that you help create
  • Flexibility to adjust your treatment schedule as needed
  • Three to six hours of programming a day
  • One individual session with an experienced primary therapist per week
  • Monthly meeting with your collective treatment team
  • Most major insurance providers accepted, to keep your cost to a minimum

People choose Lightfully because we treat people, not symptoms. Take a look at our admissions page for details on our assessment process and how to get started.

Try a vIOP in California with Lightfully Behavioral Health

Getting started with a vIOP in California can be a big step on your mental health journey. Our vIOP goes above and beyond weekly appointments to help you build sustainable practices for lasting mental wellness. 

Our programs are structured to provide evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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