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More than 46 million or 16.7% of Americans 12 years and above struggled with substance addiction while 10.5% had an alcohol disorder according to the 2022 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The good news is many of them achieved sobriety through inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Unfortunately, one of the barriers of recovery programs is that 92% of treatment facilities are in urban areas, making them harder to access for those in rural areas. Online therapy for addiction is a viable solution because it is accessible for anyone regardless of geographic location, mobility problems, or stigma associated with seeking help. However, finding the right online therapist is challenging because you have to ensure that a qualified professional can give you an effective and ethical treatment. Here are some tips to evaluate a potential therapist’s credentials and determine if they are a good fit for you.

Verify Credentials and Techniques

The competence of an online therapist plays a vital role in your recovery. Thus, it is critical that you assess their credentials ensuring that they are licensed or certified to practice in their respective field. For example, if you’re planning to hire a private tutor, your will want to assess their skills to make sure that you will be receiving quality instruction. A skilled tutor possesses a deep understanding and knowledge of the subject they’re going to teach. As such, they will be able to explain the concepts clearly in a way that matches your learning style. It is also possible for them to customize their teaching approach in accordance with your strengths, weaknesses, and pace of learning.

Searching for the right online therapist is pretty similar in nature. You will want to see their license or accreditation so that you can gauge if they are allowed to practice their craft or not. In addition, you can also check their education, training, and experience in treating addiction. Some will probably specialize in different types of disorders such as alcohol or substance abuse. A critical point of your research is to look at the approach used by the online therapist to see if it is in line with your needs and preferences. To illustrate, therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Motivational interviewing may also be a preferred method of certain therapists. Note that CBT focuses on identifying the challenges, beliefs, and thought patterns faced by the patient that contribute to their addictive behavior. It aims to address the underlying issues facing the patient and equips the individual with the practical skills and strategies to manage their cravings and cope with stress. On the other hand, DBT helps in managing and regulating ’emotional dysregulation’ so that patients can cope with intense emotions that push them to use as a coping mechanism.

Look at Confidentiality and Security

Trust is a vital component of addiction therapy whether it’s online or in-person sessions. Understandably, individuals who are seeking help for addiction already feel vulnerable and will hesitate to share personal information. Knowing that your privacy is protected can ease your mind and make you feel safe and comfortable. Therefore, if you don’t trust your therapist to keep your information private, you will not likely share everything that could help in the recovery process. Furthermore, many people with substance disorders face stigma and discrimination. Therefore, confidentiality in online therapy provides an assurance that individuals can ask for help without worrying that their personal information is divulged or discussed with others. Again, this can reduce barriers to seek treatment and encourage folks to access the support they require. Without a comprehensive information about a patient’s history, experiences, and challenges concerning addiction, therapists will not be able to address their specific needs that could lead to effective and positive outcomes.

Confidentiality agreements must also be accessible on the web platform that the therapist uses. It is also makes it easy to see the software that they use to see if it is secure. Generally, most will use integrated software which is part of the site to conduct counseling sessions which also utilizes a secure video chat. Some may opt for an external app. However, it is vital that you check if the app is legitimate before downloading anything. A platform that is easy to use is an advantage because you can easily book sessions and attend online consultations without technical difficulties. In addition to secure video conferencing and messaging capabilities, make sure that a reliable technical support is available to help you if there are issues or concerns.

Ideally, seeing a therapist in person before transitioning to remote counseling sessions can determine initial compatibility. However, if this is not possible, alternative methods of vetting an online therapist will include checking their credentials, license, education, and experience. Furthermore, confidentiality and security are other factors that can help you determine if you can work with an online therapist as part of your addiction recovery program.




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