Last month over 200 van life nomads sat in a circle at the Vanlife Diaries Tetons Gathering and talked openly about loneliness, depression, social media, and mental health. We shared, cried, laughed, commiserated, and connected about the highs and lows of life on the road.
I found myself sharing about a recent dip into depression I experienced the beginning of this year while I was stationary in Austin, Texas. I think people were surprised to hear my struggles with mental health, but I’m surprised that they’re surprised. My journey is not unique by any means– we’re all humans learning how to combat the physiologically ingrained limitations of our little human brains.
I try to talk about mental health a lot, particularly my experience with BetterHelp remote therapy, because I don’t want anyone to think they’re alone in this. We all have negative self-talk “lies” we tell ourselves that hold us back from becoming our happiest self. These lies typically come from our childhood but we often put ourselves in situations as adults (family, work, relationships) that reinforce the lies we tell ourselves and continue to hold us back.
There are so many books that help us see clearly how we’re holding ourselves back, including a few favorites, You Are A Badass, The Big Leap, and The Artist’s Way, but reading a book doesn’t always lead to actual, tangible change. That’s why I’ve incorporated remote therapy into my daily life. I’ve had a membership with BetterHelp for several months now and it’s not only helped me get out of my depressed slump, but it’s helped me shoot into the sky like a freaking rocket ship actualizing my potential to lead an awesome life. Seriously.
It’s no coincidence that I’m suddenly able to write, read, film videos, create content, and confidently negotiate for the treatment I deserve in work, life, and love. Having my therapist by my side even while I’m living nomadically is like living with a 24/7 mental health personal trainer.
Since that emotional day sitting and crying together in Wyoming, I’ve had dozens of people reach out to me on Instagram about BetterHelp. This article is for you. Here’s my BetterHelp review all about this awesome remote therapy app. It’s meant to answer your questions about remote therapy and make it more approachable, so if you think it might help you on your journey, you’ll give it a try. You have the power to create anything in your life. The only limitations on you come from your subconscious (that jerk).
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t–you’re right. ― Henry Ford
I started using BetterHelp in January. In this article, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about online therapy and show you a behind-the-scenes look at how online therapy apps actually work by sharing my real experience using the BetterHelp app. Therapy isn’t just about fixing your problems, it’s about working through them so you can be your happiest and healthiest self.
What is BetterHelp remote online therapy?
If we’ve already talked about BetterHelp and you know you want to give it a try, here’s a link for 10% of the first month. If you’ve come to this page looking for more information, I’ve tried to share as much as possible to help answer your questions!
Online therapy is typically cognitive behavioral talk therapy (CBT) where you can choose any of the following ways to connect with your counselor: video chat, phone call, real-time instant messaging, or text messaging (which you can access 24/7…THIS is my favorite part of the app, which I’ll explain more about below).
You get matched with one licensed counselor in your state of residency and that’s the counselor you have for the entirety of your counseling membership. If you don’t click with your counselor, you can switch counselors by clicking a button. You don’t have to tell them or “break up” with them in person– and it’s totally no pressure. I actually switched counselors after a few sessions and I’m so happy I did because my current girl is AMAZING and totally calls me on my BS.
We all click with different people and therapists know not to take that stuff personally!
How much does BetterHelp cost?
BetterHelp costs either $45 or $65 per week. This may sound like a lot, but a typical in-person therapist costs between $70-180/week and you have the hassle of having to drive to and from their office. You can have your BetterHelp session anywhere without having to plan your day around it. The lower plan $45/week only includes texting and the $65/week plan includes texting plus one video/phone/live chat session per week.
If $65/week isn’t sustainable for you, I recommend starting with the higher level plan for at least one month so you can see or hear your counselor’s voice at lease once to create that bond. Then you can downgrade to the cheaper plan with the same therapist and still get so many benefits of therapy by being able to chat with them anytime about how you’re feeling.
Insurance doesn’t typically cover remote therapy. From what I’ve read, most deductibles are around the same cost as BetterHelp, so it’s pretty much a wash.
Can I pick a therapist based on my specific needs and values?
A follower asked me recently if they can choose a faith-based therapist and another asked about couple’s therapy. The answer is YES to both. When you sign up for BetterHelp you go through an in-depth multiple choice questionnaire where you can specify what you want to work on and what type of person you want to work with. You can even choose executive professional therapy and get advice about your work and career!
What’s so great about remote therapy?
The best part of BetterHelp is the 24/7 messaging platform. It will change your life!
I hope you can tell through reading this how passionate I am about this!! The 24/7 messaging platform is a game-changer. BetterHelp has a super cool app that has areas for your sessions, worksheets, a journal, and the messaging platform, where you can text your therapist about anything at any time.
So, when you’re surrounded by family who doesn’t support your vanlife lifestyle and it’s making you feel anxious, you can text your therapist (been there, done that). When you’ve had too much to drink and feeling like texting your ex but you know it’s not the most mature decision….you can text your therapist (do I even need to tell you that I’ve been there before?). When you wake up at 4am stressing out about money or work or life or your health, you can text your feelings in the platform and let go of some of that anxiety.
It’s so great. It’s like having a tiny mobile support system with you 24/7.
It’s the best (and the only) choice for nomads.
For the first year I was on the road, every time I’d fly back to Austin, I’d visit my old therapist in person. It was helpful, but we never really got into anything of substance: too much had happened so we’d scratch the surface but we never really get anywhere. Now that I can continue weekly therapy wherever I am, I can keep my personal growth train moving forward.
It’s awesome for first-time therapy newbies because it’s minimal risk with maximum convenience.
Finding a therapist to see in-person can be a daunting task and it’s hard to know where to look (if you are looking for in-person therapy, I recommend checking out the database at Psychology Today). Also, scheduling time to drive to their office and meet with them for an hour every week is a time suck for most of us, who have really busy schedules.
As a digital nomad who travels full-time, online therapy has been a total game changer in supporting my mental health while living and traveling solo on the road.
How does online therapy actually work? (A step-by-step guide)
I’ve gotten a TON of questions asking about the sign-up process, which I know can be sort of intimidating, so this is meant to demystify it for you. Here’s how the BetterHelp sign-up process work step-by-step:
Step One: BetterHelp homepage.
At the BetterHelp homepage, you are prompted to answer about 30 multiple choice questions including:
- Have you ever been to therapy or counseling before?
- How would you rate your current sleeping patterns?
- Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious?
Step Two: Sign up for your account.
Next you see a note explaining confidentiality: online therapy is completely confidential!
Step Three: Answer a gazillion multiple-choice questions.
Step Four: Select your plan and preferred gender.
The biggest deterrent for my followers so far has been the initial investment: $180 is a lot of money to spend before talking to someone. I totally get it. But if you think you’re ready to try therapy, you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t– I’ve been a member for 6 months and don’t have plans to stop anytime soon.
Step Five: Match With Therapist & Schedule Session
You’ll be matched with a therapist within approximately 24 hours and you will get an email about messaging each other to set up your first meeting. PRO TIP: I recommend having this first session as a video chat or phone call so you can create that human connection with your counselor right away and get a good idea whether or not they’re the right match for you.
Step Six: Your First Online Therapy Session.
What to expect at your first session:
- Your therapist will go through some legal language and disclaimers.
- You’ll discuss your high-level goals and reason for pursuing therapy.
- You’ll be given homework, likely a Goals Worksheet.
- Schedule your second session.
Step Seven: Use the texting platform 24/7! It’s amazing!
I can’t stress this enough: PLEASE make sure you use BetterHelp’s 24/7 messaging platform. We often feel our lowest at weird hours of the night. If you’re feeling depressed or lonely at 3am, you can’t really reach out to friends and family without totally freaking them out. The texting platform gives you an outlet you can use anytime without feeling like you’re bothering anyone.
You can use this portal completely guilt-free without worrying about burdening anyone with your feelings, because that’s the whole purpose: it’s a safe place to vent your feelings anytime. Your therapist doesn’t see the messages until they’re back on the clock so you are NOT burdening anyone! This is something that has never existed in regular in-person therapy before and it’s honestly amazing.
Sometimes you just want to VENT. You can journal (which I totally love and advocate for), but sometimes sharing it with someone and putting it out there just makes you feel better.
Here’s the platform in action: I was feeling depressed when I hurt my ankle and I texted the platform at 3am to vent all of my feelings. I immediately felt better, even without getting a response at the time, because I felt like I let out my frustrations in the heat of the moment in a safe guilt-free way.
The next day, my therapist responded:
When I re-read my emotionally charged message to her and then read her logical response, it put things into perspective. I realized I was being dramatic and my situation was temporary and something that would pass. Having an objective professional calmly respond to your in-the-moment emotional responses really put things into perspective.
Being able to look at your words later and have a professional give you objective advice in writing is so cool. It’s helped me grow so much.
Things to remember about remote therapy.
Don’t be afraid to explain the type of treatment you want.
Some people like therapists who push their boundaries and some want a softer approach. If you tell your therapist the type of treatment you want, you’ll have a more successful experience.
Feel free to change therapists anytime without feeling guilty.
You are not offending anyone by changing course. Different people connect differently and the most important thing is that you find a good fit for you.
Ask the therapist directly if you can use the 24/7 platform anytime.
The answer will be yes, but I still recommend asking your therapist about the 24/7 texting portal so you feel 100% comfortable using it at anytime.
Re-read your messages in the texting portal to take note of your personal growth.
Being able to read your words and your therapist’s words outside of your sessions will help you learn more about yourself and keep the lessons you’re learning clear in your mind.
Ready to give it a try?
Click here for your 10% off promo code for BetterHelp. I’d love to hear your BetterHelp reviews and I hope you love it as much as I do!