With so many of us relying on texting to communicate these days, it was only a matter of time before therapists started using text to communicate with their clients. The idea of texting a therapist when you need to talk about your mental health may seem foreign to some, but the comfort level with mobile devices, especially among younger people, has created an emerging trend.
Keep reading to discover all you need to know about this intriguing concept, so you can make an informed choice and determine if text therapy is the right choice for you.
How Text Therapy Works
Text therapy is a simple and straightforward concept, with just a handful of steps to make it all happen. First, you need to find a therapist who offers therapy over text (most don’t yet!). At Focus Mental Wellness, this is accomplished by answering a short list of questions that allows the service to match you with an appropriate therapist. In this process, you have the opportunity to choose your own therapist from those that offer text options – but this is not always the case and is dependent on the specific service or online platform that you use.
Once you’ve chosen a therapist that offers text therapy and registered for the service, you can start sending messages letting them know what you want to work through. Typically these messages are sent through a phone app specific to the service you signed up for. Unlike regular texts, they usually won’t cost you extra on your phone bill.
The general idea with text therapy is that you can text your therapist anytime you like, which is helpful in getting things off your chest and expressing how you feel in the moment. Your therapist may not text back immediately, but you can usually expect a response within a designated time frame, typically within a day.
What are the Pros?
Text therapy may not be the ideal choice for everyone, but it does offer unique benefits. Here are some of the pros of text therapy:
- It offers the same level of privacy as online or in-person therapy
- You can communicate with your therapist more subtly if you’re in public
- You may feel more comfortable expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions in writing
- People with social anxieties often find it easier to share their feelings in writing
- It’s relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of treatment
- It can be helpful for many types of mental health challenges
- It enables you to connect with a therapist from anywhere – whether that be at home, at school, or on a walk! (although, we don’t really recommend texting and walking at the same time!)
What are the Cons?
The concept of texting a therapist for support with mental health issues also has a few drawbacks. Here are some of the potential cons of text therapy:
- It can feel less personal than video, phone, or in-person sessions
- There is potential for communication errors
- It’s not possible to pick up physical or verbal cues
- You may not receive a response from your therapist immediately
- It’s not always appropriate for more serious, or urgent mental health issues
Overall, it’s important to understand that no matter the communication method, you don’t have 24/7 access to the therapist. When you’re engaging with text therapy and you can message any time of the day, it may feel like you’re being neglected if you don’t hear back right away. If you’re sensitive to delayed responses or want more immediate feedback on your questions, you might want to stick with the phone, video, or in-person sessions instead. If you’re fine waiting a little longer for a response, and enjoy the text communication method, then text therapy could be a great option for you.
What’s Typically Included in a Text Therapy Subscription?
When you sign up for a text therapy subscription, the details may vary from provider to provider, but there are some general characteristics that will be the same across the board. Here’s what’s typically included:
- You can text your therapist as often as you want
- You’ll receive a text from your therapist at least once a day during business days
- You can text them anywhere and anytime from any device, day or night
- Your communication will be private, safe, and secure
Is Text Therapy Right for You?
By now, you understand the general idea of text therapy, how it works, and the pros and cons. But is it right for you? Just because you really like the convenience of texting and enjoy texting in your daily life doesn’t mean that text therapy is right for you. And on the other hand, some people that don’t warm up to the concept right away find that text therapy is exactly what they needed.
If you answer yes to most of the following questions, then text therapy may be the right approach for you:
- Do you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer?
- Are you too busy to commit to a regular meeting time, whether in-person or online?
- Are you comfortable with the cost?
- Are you usually free to send text messages?
- Are you comfortable expressing yourself via text?
- Are you looking for more regular communication with a therapist versus every few weeks when you have a session?
Perhaps the best way to tell if text therapy is right for you is to give it a try and then monitor the results. If you feel better after communicating with your therapist, you’re comfortable with the platform and use it regularly, and you find that you’re making regular progress, then you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Texting a Focus Therapist
At Focus Mental Wellness, we offer text therapy that allows you to securely communicate with your therapist whenever you like. You get one response every weekday from your therapist and can also combine phone or video therapy sessions with your text therapy if you wish. All of our therapists are licensed mental health professionals that are dedicated to helping you live your best life.
Text therapy is not meant for emergency or urgent care situations. If you are experiencing severe mental health issues or need urgent care, contact emergency services. View crisis resources for Crisis Services Canada and other crisis hotlines, or call your local emergency line.
Get in touch with us today to book your first text therapy session and get the process started.