Therapy FAQ

How to Find an Online Psychiatrist

Making access to in-person therapy even more challenging, there’s a growing psychiatrist shortage in the U.S., affecting over 150 million Americans. The nearest psychiatrist may be miles away in the next city or have a long waitlist.  Luckily, lengthy wait times and therapist shortages are no longer barriers to mental health thanks to online therapy […]

therapist william snyder By William Snyder, LPC

Updated on Jan 12, 2024

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Making access to in-person therapy even more challenging, there’s a growing psychiatrist shortage in the U.S., affecting over 150 million Americans. The nearest psychiatrist may be miles away in the next city or have a long waitlist. 

Luckily, lengthy wait times and therapist shortages are no longer barriers to mental health thanks to online therapy platforms. With a few clicks of a button, you can leverage technology and schedule a virtual appointment with a licensed psychiatrist within a few days. Online psychiatry lets you skip the waiting list, eliminate travel time, and jumpstart your journey to mental wellness quickly and conveniently. 

Here, we’ll detail how to choose the best online psychiatrist for your needs and what to expect in a session.

Understanding Online Psychiatry 

Also known as telepsychiatry or virtual psychiatry, online psychiatry allows you remote access to a certified psychiatrist. Telepsychiatry harnesses technology such as video calls to connect clients with licensed psychiatrists. It has all the trimmings of in-person psychiatry, except it’s delivered over the Internet to increase accessibility.

The American Psychiatric Association estimates there are 45,000 licensed psychiatrists, pointing to a crippling shortage, despite concerted efforts to bridge the gap. Among U.S. counties, 77% have a severe lack of mental health providers, forcing patients to wait months when scheduling an appointment.   

Telepsychiatry helps bridge the gap in psychiatric care by eliminating geographic limitations. It broadens your horizon and grows your options by empowering you to connect with a psychiatrist in a different city with free calendar slots. 

How Does Online Psychiatry Work? 

Like other forms of telemedicine, online psychiatry leverages modern technology to connect clients to licensed psychiatrists or nurse practitioners. Telepsychiatry is typically powered by online therapy platforms such as Grow Therapy, which maintains a network of licensed mental health professionals who accept clients virtually in the state or state they’re licensed. 

To partake in online psychiatry, prospective clients must sign up on the platform and choose a psychiatrist that fits their needs and preferences. You may then book an initial session where a clinician will evaluate your mental health concerns, take your medical history, and recommend treatment. If you need medication to manage your mental illness, your psychiatrist may prescribe psychiatric medication such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants. 

Is Online Psychiatry Effective? 

While in-person interactions have long been the corner of psychiatric care, telepsychiatry can be a valuable and accessible option for delivering mental health care and support. Recent studies suggest that online interventions can provide positive outcomes when treating mental health illnesses, including:

The success of the therapy can be attributed to live video messaging facilitating face-to-face interaction between mental health professionals and their clients. Typically, psychiatrists rely on a combination of their extensive training, client responses, and non-verbal cues when providing mental health treatment. They use client responses to understand their perspective, identify symptoms, and assess the severity of their conditions. 

Visual cues such as body language, facial expressions, and demeanor provide additional information not explicitly communicated. This comprehensive approach allows for a thorough assessment, diagnosis, and ongoing management of mental health treatment. 

The interaction allows for collaborative decision-making, where the psychiatrist accounts for the client’s needs and preferences when formulating a treatment plan. Depending on the client’s behavioral health needs, the treatment plan may include talk therapy, lifestyle modification, medication, or a combination of approaches. 

Regular, face-to-face interaction allows the psychiatrist to monitor and evaluate a client’s response to prescribed medication. A clinician can monitor potential side effects, assess their efficacy, and help with medication management. 

Who Should Use Online Psychiatry? 

Online psychiatry is as effective as in-person therapy since live video conferencing enables a licensed therapist to conduct a thorough assessment when prescribing treatment. While both modalities lead to positive therapy outcomes, telepsychiatry offers unique benefits. While everyone can use this form of therapy, it’s especially beneficial for people who:

Telepsychiatry increases accessibility for everyone who needs psychiatric help, allowing you to seek therapy without disrupting your life or routine.

Benefits of Online Psychiatry 

Online psychiatry is an attractive and practical option for receiving mental healthcare. It eliminates many traditional barriers that drive the reluctance to seek mental healthcare. Virtual psychiatry offers numerous benefits, including:   

Online psychiatry covered by insurance

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While effective, virtual therapy may not be suitable for everyone. Some mental health conditions may require more intensive options and are better served by in-person care. Speak to a mental health professional to determine the best type of treatment for you.

What to Expect From Online Psychiatric Services 

When seeking mental health support, online psychiatric services can be a positive and transformative experience. However, knowing what to expect when signing up for the services is helpful and allows you to make the most of your virtual mental health journey. 

Reputable online therapy platforms adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. They conform to the same confidentiality and privacy standards when visiting a psychiatrist’s office. 

Such platforms use secure and encrypted communication channels to ensure all therapist and patient interactions are safe from unauthorized access. They use end-to-end encryption to ensure your therapy session is only accessible to the intended participants. Platform administrators cannot access your data because the files are heavily encrypted and stored securely. 

The delivery modality is the main difference between online and in-person therapy. Your psychotherapist will follow the standard mental healthcare protocols, including confidentiality, empathy, positive alliance, and nonjudgement. 

How to Choose an Online Psychiatry Service 

When conducting your search for an online psychiatrist, it’ll be most helpful to use a platform with filter options to let you narrow down your selection to suit your needs. Keep these considerations in mind:

How to Evaluate an Online Psychiatrist 

Online psychiatry increases your options, so you never have to settle for the first psychiatrist with an open slot. You can be as picky as you wish when choosing an online psychiatrist to ensure a perfect match. 

Your primary care physician can provide additional guidance or referral to help you get psychiatric care that aligns with your healthcare plan.  

Get Started with Online Psychiatry Today

Online psychiatry services can help you overcome geographical limitations and schedule a session with a board-certified psychiatrist within two days or less. Telepsychiatry reduces the search for a qualified psychotherapist to a few clicks of a button and lets you access mental health specialists at your convenience. 

Make your search simple with Grow Therapy, which gives you access to a network of more than 3,500 therapists across 46 states. Our licensed psychotherapists offer hour-long sessions at affordable rates and accept insurance. 

FAQs

  • Online psychiatry can effectively treat various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.

  • Licensed online psychiatrists can prescribe medication such as antidepressants but will not prescribe any controlled substances such as Xanax, Adderall, and Ritalin.

  • Telepsychiatry is as effective for children and adolescents, provided they can access the necessary technology and parental support.

About the author
therapist william snyder William Snyder, LPC

William Snyder is a licensed professional counselor who works with adults experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, depressed mood, loss and grief, identity and self-concept difficulties, relationship problems, life-transition difficulties, and traumatic memories.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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