Frequently Asked Questions About Online Counseling’s Benefits

Content Warning: The beginning of this article may be too disturbing for some. 

After earning a culinary degree, I started working in some famous restaurants in New York until a world-class chef offered to mentor me if I agreed to become the head chef in his newest restaurant. However, the catch was that the new job was in London.

I was excited because I could finally get out of my family’s grasp. Although they would undoubtedly consider moving to the UK to be with me, I knew that they had limitations, too. None of them could leave everything behind in the US, especially not my father, who had a construction company to run. Hence, after some push and pull, I got their approval. 

Before I could board my plane, Mom hugged me tightly and said, “Make sure to have your pepper spray with you all the time. Aside from the big one in your bag, buy a keychain-sized bottle or three.”

I rolled my eyes. This was the stranger-danger talk again. I never encountered anyone who tried to act untoward around me, so I felt like it was a useless reminder at that point.

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The Harsh Truth

The first few days in London were beyond incredible. My new boss got a cozy apartment and a Mini Cooper for me, so I got to travel around the city independently. He even gave me access to the gyms and spas that he owned, saying that I could use the amenities anytime. It seemed like I got lucky in the boss department because of all the benefits I got before the actual job even started.

Then, a night before my first day at the new restaurant, my boss invited me over to his house, claiming that his wife wanted to get to know me better. I drove to their place at once, eager to please everyone. However, when I arrived, I sensed that no one else was there except for my boss. I still did not think bad of the situation; I kept telling myself that the wife would pop up anytime soon. My boss offered red wine to me, and I accepted a glass politely.

The topics that my boss wanted to talk about were quite casual, to be honest. He asked about my family; he spoke of the early days of his relationship with his wife. Just then, he asked, “Don’t you have a boyfriend back home?”

“Oh, no, sir,” I replied hurriedly, worrying that my boss might take that against me.

To my confusion, my boss smirked. “Well, my wife is actually out of town, so I’m practically single this weekend.”

My confusion turned into horror as my boss grabbed my head and kissed me roughly on the lips. I tried pushing him away, but he didn’t budge. Worse, he kept forcing his tongue into my mouth. Luckily, I remembered self-defense 101: crush the man’s jewels. I held on to my boss’s shouldered and kneed him between the legs so hard that he let go of me immediately.

“You’re fired!” he yelled angrily at my fleeting back.  

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Collecting The Pieces 

I packed my clothes in a hurry and took the earliest flight back to the US that night. My parents were surprised to see me, but their faces hardened as I told them that my boss tried to molest me. The entire family convened at the house, and they all got busy calling every authoritative figure they knew to make sure that my boss would pay for what he did to me. And he did – he lost his wife, businesses, and reputation and even went to prison.

All these happened in a couple of months, and I barely had time to process what I went through. I would sometimes have nightmares about the whole thing, but I never told my loved ones about them to avoid worrying them further. Before I spiraled down, though, I learned about online counseling through friends.

What are the advantages of online counseling? 

 Online counseling makes mental help accessible to people from different parts of the globe. It is an advantage, considering not everyone lives close enough to a psychologist or psychiatrist. This form of therapy promises that the patients can be guided through their issues without traveling anywhere.

Another advantage of online counseling is its affordability. You won’t need to shell out more than $30 or $40 for every hour you spend talking to a licensed therapist. That amount is not enough for traditional counseling.

Online counseling also offers convenience, considering you don’t have to schedule appointments or wait for hours at a counselor’s office. When you sign up, it will only take minutes to connect with a counselor.

Why is counseling important to mental health? 

 Counseling is vital to mental health because psychological problems are not like physical ailments that can mostly be treated by medication. When the patient goes through counseling, the counselor can walk them through acknowledging and assessing their problems and then coming up with solutions. Thus, the patient may never need to get prescriptions.

What is online mental health therapy? 

 Online therapy is a modern form of counseling in which patients can receive treatment through virtual communication. Some say that it can be as effective as face-to-face therapy, but further research is essential before mental health professionals recommend it to more people.

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What are the benefits of teletherapy? 

 You will realize that teletherapy ensures that the patient’s treatment does not halt due to the get-go’s distance issues. They need not travel to receive therapy – it can be done wherever they are in the world.

Since the treatment takes place at home most of the time, the patient may seem more at ease than ever. That is another plus because it allows them to open up to the counselor and speed up their healing process.

Furthermore, online counselors are not tied to the eight-to-five schedule that traditional ones follow. Whether you feel blue at 2 P.M. or 3 A.M., a mental health professional will be available to help you get through your thoughts and emotions.

Is online therapy effective? 

 Yes, online therapy is technically effective. Many individuals have claimed to get better after a few sessions with their virtual counselor. 

What are the pros and cons of Internet-based counseling? 

 The primary advantage of internet-based counseling is that it is more affordable than traditional counseling. For instance, BetterHelp may charge you $30 per hour, while a regular counselor may ask for $150 for the same kind of therapy. Should you choose online counseling, you only need to pay for a fifth of the latter charges.

The convenience of receiving mental health assistance at home or anywhere you are is unrivaled, too. It entails that you need not be in the same place as the counselor before guiding you well. 

Aside from that, there is no risk of anyone else knowing that you get counseling. Privacy matters for a lot of people, after all. Sometimes, even if the counselor keeps your files confidential, a colleague or relative may still catch you walking in or out of the facility and coax you to reveal your condition. The fact that you can even chat with the counselor allows you to be as discreet as possible.

Meanwhile, the disadvantage of internet-based counseling is that it is not recommendable for a broad range of mental disorders. Sure, it may work for people with depression or anxiety, but it cannot help folks with severe psychiatric illnesses.

Online counseling may also take place through texts. While it seems like a pro, it is a con because many individuals cannot convey their thoughts and emotions in written form. Hence, the counselor may find it tough to help them.

Is online therapy expensive? 

 No, online therapy is inexpensive. If you want to avoid the services for free, there’s 7 Cups of Tea for you. In case you do not wish to see your therapist or be seen by them through a video call ever, you may get therapy from Talkspace. If you want the latter’s opposite and get the full experience without leaving the house, BetterHelp is an ideal mental help provider for you. 

What is the best online counseling? 

 According to research, Talkspace is the best online counseling provider. People like the fact that its app is easy to navigate and excellent therapists and customer support team. 

Does insurance pay for online counseling? 

 In reality, insurance companies do not pay for online counseling. However, some states have parity laws in motion that necessitate them to reimburse their clients’ virtual counseling payments.

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Source: pixabay.com

Is online counseling Safe? 

 Yes, online counseling is safe. That is especially true if you sign up for counseling at a trustworthy platform.

Which is better, BetterHelp, or Talkspace? 

 BetterHelp is better in the sense that the platform offers a live video session to clients. Talkspace has more straightforward features, considering they only allow the patients to chat or text with the counselors.

Will insurance companies pay for telehealth? 

 The answer is mostly no, considering there is no national law at the time of writing that requires insurance companies to reimburse a patient’s telehealth fees. Luckily, a growing number of states have parity laws that require them to do otherwise. If you are unsure, you may ask your agent about it.

What is a 95 modifier? 

 A 95 modifier refers to the total number of minutes that the mental health professional and the patient consumed during their video interaction. The former typically uses it to claim their fees.

How do I pay for my telemedicine services? 

 The payment method for telemedicine services is similar to that of anything you purchase – it can be through credit or cash. You may ask the provider which one they prefer to use.

What is the difference between e visit and telehealth?

When a mental health professional does an e-visit, you interact with the patient through texts or chats. As for telehealth, it involves the use of a camera to do a virtual face-to-face consultation.

Final Thoughts

Technically, online counseling is not designed for victims of sexual abuse. However, because it caused me to develop depressive symptoms, talking to a counselor virtually allowed me to have a confidante who would not look at me pitifully or say that everything would be okay. I preferred taking action more than being idealistic about my situation, after all.

Am I 100% okay now? No. I don’t think anyone will ever feel that way after such an ordeal. But what’s important is that I’m learning to be better every day. It’s all thanks to online counseling.

How Family And Friends Can Help Heal Their Sexually Abused Loved One

 

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If you are a friend, spouse, or parent of someone who survived sexual abuse like rape, we are happy to welcome you to this blog. We know that offering support to family and loved ones after a sexual assault or rape can be devastating, and we are grateful for being there for your loved one who survived.

When you know that someone you care about or love has been harmed, you may feel depressed and overwhelmed. There are times when both the survivor and the supporter battle with helplessness and anger after the traumatic event, and it will certainly take quite a while to respond.

For a lot of survivors, support is a vital aspect of the recovery process, and getting affectionate and validating reactions from family and friends can indeed make a significant difference.

You may have trouble finding the right words to say to help ease your loved one’s pain, but it’s okay if you don’t know everything. You can listen and be there for your loved one for support. Let the survivor know that you love them, you don’t judge them, and you trust in them. Sadly, there are no easy solutions for recovery from sexual assault, so it crucial that you are persistent when the process is taking longer than usual.

Aside from finding the means to support your loved one, you must do well to maintain your mental and emotional well-being. You might feel alarmed by the severity of your own emotions. It can be useful to acknowledge that it is common for families and supporters to live through their anger and frustrations. Recognize the effect that this event has on you, and find outside support systems for yourself. Caring for yourself can make it easier to help others.

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Spouses Of Rape Or Sexual Assault Victims

Most of the services that offer help and support to survivors and victims of sexual assault or rape also offer counsel for their spouses. For a spouse or partner to see someone that they love devastated by rape, this will undoubtedly make them feel a lot of negative and depressing emotions. Many spouses feel rage against the abuser and guilt and anger toward themselves because they were not able to safeguard their partner. All of these feelings can be remedied with the help of a counselor. As a partner of a sexual assault survivor, you will require emotional and mental resources and the strength to support your traumatized partner and be available for them successfully. Hence, you should seek ways of venting your emotions safely and get as much love and sustenance for yourself.

Your loved one may not behave reasonably at times or may inconsolably burst into tears. She may have outbreaks of anger, aggression, and mood shifts one minute and then feel withdrawn and depressed the next minute, isolating herself and not wanting any physical contact with you.

Helping The Survivor

Trust in what your traumatized loved one tells you and keep yourself from asking too many queries, or she might feel that you don’t trust her or what happened to her. Your loved one did what she felt was necessary for her to survive that fateful event. She may or may not choose to report what happened right away to the enforcers, but this is not the time to force her to do what you want. Your loved one needs to feel in control of her situation, as she probably feels that this control and respect have been taken away from her when she was sexually assaulted.

Ask her if there’s anything you can do for her if she has anxiety or nightmares. Acknowledge that your spouse may behave erratically and may even push you away for a time because she doesn’t want to be touched. Don’t think that she is rejecting you, and she doesn’t love you. She needs more time to regain confidence and recover from what happened. Ultimately, reassure your loved one that you love and support her all the way.

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Family And Friends

It is truly devastating for families and significant others to have someone they love suffer from the pain and trauma of being raped or assaulted. Families can feel helpless without knowing the right words to say. Providing time and support for them is a great help to the individual who has gone through the ordeal. If they finally want to talk and you are there for them, then you will be their comfort and strength. However, most rape victims have trouble talking to family and close friends for fear of causing them stress and anxiety.

Do not ever force the rape or sexual abuse survivor to talk about what happened to her and to accept why it did. Recognize the fact that she may have erratic moods, may present with depression, maybe in denial, may cry inconsolably, may choose to stay in her room the entire day, or display anger or rage towards anyone – even to you.

The best thing you can do for your loved one is to be with her and help her build her confidence again. You can ask her what she needs. Who knows, she might want a hug from someone she completely trusts.

 

 

 

 

Finding My Voice During A Mental Health Crisis

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I was a victim of rape in 2008. While walking down an alley one night, my perpetrator struck my head with a woodblock, and I thought that would be the end of me. But when I woke up and found out he raped me, I honestly wished that he struck me hard enough to die.

After all, the case became highly publicized in various media outlets. Although they were all sympathetic and kind enough to blur my face in the photos, my coworkers, friends, and family members found out what happened to me. Aside from the shame, I had to deal with their pitiful gazes whenever they visited me.

When I healed and got out of the hospital, the situation did not seem to let up too much. My loved ones were always like walking on eggshells around me, careful not to mention anything about the rape case. My parents even left their farm and squeezed into my tiny apartment because they were worried about what I might do.

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All this happened when the police folks were looking for the perpetrator. My parents’ concern was not misplaced, considering I was genuinely afraid of the bad guy coming back to kill me. The security cameras around the alley thankfully caught his face, so anonymous tippers called and pointed them to the man’s hideout.

When the court trials began, my parents wanted me to stay behind and let them face my perpetrator. They said, “You have experienced enough trauma in this vile creature’s hands. You don’t need to meet him at all.” But I figured that seeing the face of the man who tried to destroy my life with a single act would make me feel less afraid of him.

And I was right. Although I didn’t cause a scene at the court, I had a few chosen words for my perpetrator.

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I Am No Longer Afraid Of You

Getting raped can be the root of a lot of mental health issues. It seems like you have only been violated physically, but the scar goes deeper than that. Almost every night before the trial, I had nightmares about a faceless man trying to do unspeakable things. It came to a point where I drank a gallon of coffee and refused to fall asleep so that I’d have nothing to be afraid of.

However, when I saw the man, my fears drained out of my system. His personality was different from the scary person that I envisioned. He sat with hunched shoulders and a resigned look on his face. Our eyes met one time, and I watched him flinch. That’s when I realized that I scared my perpetrator, and it made me feel somewhat good.

I Can Make It Despite The Odds

When I woke up at the hospital with bruises all over my body, I had no idea how to move forward. My boss was kind to file for an indefinite leave on my behalf to muddle through everything. She even said, “It doesn’t matter if you need to take six months or a year off. Whenever you are ready to work again, your position will always be there.” I could only nod absentmindedly back then because, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to die after finding out what happened to me.

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Ever since I attended the court trial, I understood that the incident should not dictate how I should live my life afterward. The rape was a massive deal, yes, but I could choose not to let it ruin me forever (which I did). Instead of being pulled down by it, I went back to work, learned some self-defense techniques, and improved myself.

I Will Pray For Your Soul

Raping anyone is a mortal sin, although it has not been written in the Ten Commandments. I believe that doing it gives you a ticket straight to Hell. As we all know, when a soul goes there, there are no longer do-overs.

When the judge asked my perpetrator regarding his plea, he said that he’s guilty. Then, the man looked back and practically started begging for my forgiveness while crying. I’d be plastic if I showed any pity because I didn’t feel that way for him. All I said was, “I will pray for your soul.”

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Final Thoughts

Here I am, 12 years after my tragic case closed. It took a while before I could talk about the rape case openly and move on from it, but I got there eventually.

Was it easy? Heck no. My parents and I had to shed buckets of tears first and put in hours of family counseling sessions before it happened. Slowly but surely, my mental health improved, to the extent that my folks could return home and leave me alone. You see, I can even share my story with the rest of the world now.

Hopefully, you can find your voice during a mental health crisis, too.

Helping Out An Abused Co-Worker During Lockdown

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It was my last day at work, and I was wrapping up my table when I passed by my office mate Diana on the way out. We were told that the whole city was going to be on lockdown the next and that the office will have to shut down for a week. I heard rumors that we will be working from home, and we were told to bring our work laptops and other work essentials. Diana, as I passed by, was crying, and I could see that her arms had bruises in it.

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Rugby World Cup 2019 In Japan Was A Success

Japan hosts Rugby World Cup 2019, proving that they can pull out the best when it comes to the sport. It was a showdown between Scotland and Japan, and both are after the quarterfinal place in the World Cup. It was one of the most powerful and emotional nights in the competition history of Ruby.

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Japanese people who watched the event live or at their homes are very hopeful for the first-ever quarterfinal win of the country. The Japanese supported their team and wished them to win. There are lots of exciting moments and unreal highlights that took the crowds’ energy into the next level. The game rode a wave of emotions that night that makes everyone feels anxious, thrilled, excited, and hopeful.

The game is so intense and physical that some of the players wrestle their way out to get the ball. Both teams know that a single mistake can change the whole vibe of the game, so they tried their best not to let go of the ball. On the first try of the game, the Scotland team got the score. However, after a couple of mishaps, the Japan team managed to stay in the possession and pulled through. The team managed to incorporate a creative team play, which focused more on attacking opportunity. The team put themselves on the line, both attack and defense. And as the countdown is on, Japan became victorious after a very intense physical endurance.

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Loudness took over the Yokohama stadium because the Japanese are all chanting and celebrating for the victorious moment. It is the first time in history that the rugby world cup has an Asian quarter-finalist. Thus, it makes all the hardships all worth it. And now, the team is aiming for a bigger goal, and the Japanese people couldn’t wait to support them with all their hearts.

 

Pandemic Lockdown Brings Rise To Domestic Abuse

In this uncertain time, it is miserable to know that there has been a rise in domestic abuse during the lockdown. Behind closed doors of some homes, the number of arrest surge to raise a significant percentage. Helplines are inundated with a lot of concerns, which makes them prioritize the risk of saving someone from domestic violence amidst the restrictions of the pandemic. At times like this, the abused individuals feel all the pressure.

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The Awful Side Of The Abuse

For more than two months, since the lockdown got implemented, there is a lot of domestic violence going on. However, only a few of them were reported to local authorities because people try to consider the situation as part of the world’s changing condition. Some look at the abuse as something ordinary since families are in a house dealing with the global health crisis altogether. Some abused individuals somehow create a validation that whatever they are brutally experiencing is only a temporary part of the pandemic. That when everything turns back to normal, the abusive actions will also go away. Somehow, these unfortunate people often find themselves defending the abusers and are using the lockdown situation to excuse themselves from doing the right thing.

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However, not all situations are like that. There are some cases of domestic abuse that connect to the difficulty of this pandemic. One of them is the source of financial issues. Since families are experiencing a limited supply of everything, people inside the house get stress. There’s the buildup of anxiety as well as anger that eventually lead to physical and emotional torture. For some families with stable monetary resources, the abuse might be different. Perhaps they complain about some stuff they can no longer access or anything like that. But for those living on the most unfortunate side of the world’s countries, they are battling not only domestic abuse but also emotional and mental pain.

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Due to the lockdown, it seems like the control that one person has over the other has just increased tenfold. And given that undesirable situation, the abused individuals still find it hard to leave the relationship. It is as if the pain and suffering become normal as couples inside the house are struggling with their situation. And with the limited access to help due to this pandemic, abused individuals can only care to wish that it will all soon come to an end.

Honestly, for most people, they will say that the abused individuals should leave and try to forget about everything. But it is not that easy, especially in a pandemic situation like this where everything people do is just restricted. Abused people will choose to stick to the emotional and physical pain because that is how they knew they could survive. Most of them cannot find the strength to pull out a decision that will change their lives forever.

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People Still Have A Choice In Life

Despite the struggle, abused individuals should think that there is always a way out of their situation and that it is not always the bad one. If these people find it in their hearts to consider their overall health instead of sticking into their fear, they might be able to save their lives. And if they can’t do it for themselves, they can at least use the strength to protect their children’s well-being. Yes, the mental and emotional battle will not be that easy, and it might haunt them forever. But if they think about it, leaving the whole abusive situation and aiming for better health is all worth it.

Rape Crisis: Now Is The Time To Speak

The message in the 2018 rape crisis conference is very strong. Though, for me, it somehow points out that some women are vulnerable and incapable. Yes, I agree with that. However, the mentality should not have to stick with that ideology. Every woman always has a choice. The only problem is, most of them make bad decisions. Honestly, it is not about what a woman can’t do. It is always about what they need to do to end the silent damage of sexual abuse.

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There’s a discussion about how a woman should take care of themselves in times of harassment. Speakers also include suggestions on how women should pay attention to their surroundings. Truthfully, it seems pretty helpful. However, not all women are prepared because, most of the time, sexual abuse occurs unpredictably. Therefore, there are lots of instances those women, even though they believe they know what to do, cannot handle the momentum.

Another problem with society dealing with sexual harassment and rape cases also includes victim-blaming. Yes, it happens all the time. Too much information gets shown in the media, and a lot of people are gullible to believe it. That instead of helping and comforting the victim, they condemn her for being a vulnerable woman.

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The irony of the situation is evident. A lot of people are not that concerned at all. They may share their opinions regarding a rape case, but they do not fully understand what it is like to be in the victim’s shoes. There are these idiotic people who think they always know better. But not until it happens to them or to someone they know, they realize it is not something they can talk about loudly. Yes, a rape victim should speak of her experience. However, it should not put pressure on her.

Psychiatrist Believes A Girl’s Rape Is Not Consensual  

“Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.

I was raped when I was only 12 years old by a male friend.  I was afraid to tell anyone because I knew they will blame me that it happened.  And it did not stop there. It happened again and again.  Am I really to blame? 

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In My Mother’s Eyes

It is hard to forget how it felt to be the apple of my mother’s eyes.  It felt good to be normal, loved, and cared for as a little girl.  My mom was the sweetest and had the most beautiful face I would want to see every day, especially when I remembered how she laid her eyes on me as if I was going to be her sweet and beautiful baby forever.

 

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Continue reading “In My Mother’s Eyes”