Addiction Studies

Understanding Addiction

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February 2021

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Psychiatry

I was a typical nerdy boy who wanted to be friends with popular, older kids at school. I often got excellent grades and even won at decathlon competitions, but I paid attention to becoming a football team’s water boy, hoping to get the jocks’ attention. My academic accomplishments became more insignificant to me than ever when Jack, the star quarterback, invited me to a party at his house one weekend.

Objectively speaking, I did not think that Jack meant to invite me. I thought he merely did it out of courtesy because I happened to be in the locker room as he invited the other players. Despite that, it did not deter me from going.


I half-expected the other kids to bully me when I showed up at Jack’s house. After all, my aesthetics screamed that I was not a part of their clique. Thus, you could imagine my surprise when a few jocks came up to me and handed me a beer in a can.

I could only look at it for a second, unsure whether to take it or not. I just turned 16 years old back then; I was nowhere near the legal drinking age. Due to my desire to please my potential best friends, I accepted the beer and chugged it. It tasted like I assumed urine would taste like, but the guys cheered me on, so I kept drinking until the can was empty. When I put it down, a lit cigarette came into my line of vision.

Nope, not a cigarette – a rolled-up weed. I realized that Jack was holding it, and he gave me an encouraging smile. “If you finish this, you’ll be one of us,” he said.

Brazened by that promise, I took the weed and brought it to my lips. It was so bitter that I almost spat it out, but I felt the need to do it to be one of the cool dudes at school. After my first roll, they gave me more weed and beer all night long.

Knowing I Was Going Down The Drain

True to Jack’s words, I became a part of their group after that party. People envied me and wanted to know how it happened, but I never tattled. I remained friends with the jocks for years and continued smoking pot, drinking, and even snorting cocaine several times when we entered college.

However, the only time I felt like I was genuinely going down the drain was when Jack came to a summer break party with meth, candles, spoons, and injections. It meant that he wanted us to try injecting illegal drugs into our bodies. Knowing I had to avoid that at all costs, I sneaked out of the party, arranged my transference to a university on the other coast the next day, and never spoke with Jack again.

While I did the right thing, it did not mean that I managed to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I could not go to rehab without letting my parents know why I had to do that, so I began looking for other ways to get help. That’s when I discovered online psychiatry and therapy.  

Is online therapy safe?

Yes, online therapy is generally safe, especially if you sign up at a reputable virtual platform. They can secure your details and have data-protection measures to keep hackers out. More importantly, no one will know that you are receiving therapy unless you tell them yourself.

Can BetterHelp prescribe?

No, BetterHelp cannot prescribe medication. It is a platform that helps mentally troubled individuals reach licensed psychologists and therapists without the fear of revealing their woes to others before they feel ready to do so. In case online therapy does not work, and the person genuinely needs antidepressants, the therapist or psychologist will most likely advise them to seek a psychiatrist’s help. 


Is it better to see a psychiatrist or psychologist?

In reality, most people tend to see a psychologist first, especially when they experience psychological symptoms but are yet to receive a diagnosis. If it turns out that they indeed have a mental disorder, the psychologist may recommend therapy for treatment. Many psychologists double as therapists, but they may refer you to another mental health professional if you meet one who does not.

Now, in case your symptoms are quite severe – e.g., delusions, hallucinations, panic attacks, etc. – it may be better to see a psychiatrist. The primary reason is that mental illnesses with such symptoms cannot be treated by therapy – antidepressants, sedatives, or stronger medications may work. Those are things that only psychiatrists can prescribe. 

What are the benefits of online therapy?

The main benefit of getting online therapy is that you need not look for a mental health facility that offers therapy. In truth, you do not have to leave your house at all as long as you have internet or mobile data. This is ideal for people with disabilities or who live in remote areas, considering their treatment can go on without meeting their therapists face-to-face.

Furthermore, online therapy is an affordable version of psychotherapy. Many people who have tried this treatment claim that it is not too different from going to a therapist’s clinic, except that they are not required to pay hundreds of dollars to receive therapy. 

Is online therapy as effective?

Yes, various studies have proven the effectiveness of online therapy over the years. In all honesty, they go as far as saying that online treatment is as effective as face-to-face therapy. That is especially true for online cognitive-behavioral therapy, given that people with depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, and other common mental illnesses have found relief through online therapy.

How do you get therapy if you can’t afford it?

If you cannot afford therapy, you may try doing the following:

  • Inform your therapist about your financial situation. Many mental health professionals may have an ongoing professional fee, but it does not mean that you cannot ask them to make an exemption and lower their costs for you. It all comes down to honesty and agreement.
  • Go to a university mental health clinic. This suggestion is ideal for people who live close to universities with psychology programs. Some students tend to volunteer at outpatient hospitals and offer therapy for free. Although they do not have the same number of experiences as seasoned therapists, they have the same training or knowledge that the latter may have.
  • Try group therapy at local institutions. Considering there is at least one mental health facility in your area, feel free to check if they offer group therapy. This is generally cheaper than one-on-one treatment, so you may be able to afford it. If you can find one that does not charge anything for group therapy, that’s better.
  • Consider getting online therapy. Online therapy is more affordable than traditional therapy by a mile. You may receive the latter for one-fifth of what other therapists charge if you meet them face-to-face.

Is online therapy cheaper?

Yes, online therapy is cheaper than in-person therapy. When you sign up for the latter, you may get unlimited chances to chat or talk to a psychologist or therapist for as low as $35 per week. If you choose one-on-one therapy, $100 may not be enough for a one-hour session with the therapist.

How much does a therapist cost a month?

The cost of seeing a therapist depends on various aspects. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, New York, and other parts of the country with a high living cost, the fee may start at $200 per session. In other inexpensive cities, it may begin at $150. However, if you want to try online therapy, you may only need to pay $30 every week.

What is the difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome?

The main difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome is that only one of them belongs to the autism spectrum – and that’s the latter. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is in a league of its own, in the sense that people with this disability are known for their impulsive and hyperactive behaviors and lack of attention. Despite that, mental health professionals conclude that an individual has ADHD before scraping that diagnosis and realize that what they have is Asperger’s syndrome.

How can you tell if a girl has autism?

These are the telltale signs that a girl may have autism:

  • She asserts control by dictating what game to play or how they should play it.
  • In case the girl does not get her way, she prefers to play alone.
  • She feels lost in a social function and tends to copy others’ behaviors.
  • She deals with mental breakdowns at home, although she may never do that anywhere else to blend in.
  • She can be overly sensitive to the extent that she removes clothing tags or avoids deodorants.

How can you tell if someone has Asperger’s?

Someone with Asperger’s syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • They cannot make friends and often chooses to self-isolate instead of socializing with their peers.
  • They cannot meet others’ eyes when they are talking or distinguish sarcasm from honesty.
  • They tend to misbehave unknowingly.
  • Having great common sense is not one of their best qualities.
  • They show intense fascination in specific subject matters, but they cannot talk about others.
  • They thrive well when they have a schedule to follow.

Do people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy?

It has always been said that people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy, but it is not entirely true. Yes, they do not understand others’ feelings, reactions, or tones. Yes, they may even be baffled whenever someone cracks a joke and end up taking the latter seriously. However, they can still be compassionate at times.


Can BetterHelp diagnose you?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose you. The platform houses many licensed psychologists who should be able to do that, but there is a strict regulation to only make diagnoses face-to-face. All they can provide online is therapy.

Does Asperger’s syndrome get worse with age?

The answer depends on how early the Asperger’s syndrome has been diagnosed or what the diagnosed individual has done to treat the condition. Although Asperger’s syndrome cannot be cured permanently, many people end up leading everyday lives, getting married, and excelling in the workplace. The only time it may worsen with age is if it’s left untreated.

Can BetterHelp diagnose ADHD?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose ADHD. Aside from the fact that psychologists cannot conduct a psychological evaluation or diagnosis online, specific mental health professionals deal with ADHD. That’s something that BetterHelp is not equipped for. 

Final Thoughts

The first couple of mental health professionals I talked to were hesitant to accommodate me and advised me to rehab. However, I could not do that, so I kept looking for a psychiatrist or therapist who did not mind offering therapy to a reforming substance abuser. Luckily, more than a handful of mental health services providers chose from, so I eventually received the help I needed to get my act together. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Brief Therapy

There are many reasons why individuals seek out therapy help. Those who have problems with excessive alcohol consumption, gambling, mental illness, or any form of addiction might reach out for professional help to find healing and recovery. 

There should be no shame in going to a therapist and hope for a better life. So if you are thinking of getting professional help for the first time, make sure to ask questions or clarifications about therapy.

There are many available forms of therapy. For one, individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one on one sessions with the patient and the therapist. Together, they go through the issues that the patient is facing. It is an effective treatment that helps develop healthy coping skills to deal with various stressors, emotional challenges, and mental illnesses.   


Another form of psychotherapy is group therapy. It involves one or more therapists working with several people together. Group therapy allows individuals to feel that they are not alone in their struggle. It allows a safe space to share thoughts without judgment. Group therapy also enables individuals to receive feedback to improve their awareness of the self and the environment.  

Both individual and group therapy help people educate themselves and others about the recovery process and formulate goals for their future selves.  

If you find yourself needing help very soon and you’re financially unequipped to handle long-term therapy, brief therapy is a type of counseling for you. It is time-limited, usually lasts for six to twelve sessions. However, each session’s duration can vary depending on the problem at hand. Brief therapy focuses on clients’ presenting issues and current life situations. 

For your information, here are some frequently asked questions about therapy, specifically, brief therapy.  

How do I get the most out of group therapy?

Group therapy is an excellent method to gain various perspectives on a particular set of issues. However, like other therapies, you can maximize your gains from group therapy by putting in the effort and doing your work. Being open and having an open mind is one of the most important aspects of getting the most out of group therapy.

It’s often more difficult for us to see ourselves clearly than when we’re looking at other people’s situations. Openness helps you gain awareness of your emotional state while gaining greater insights from other people in the group.

How do you maximize a therapy session?

Any form of therapy requires time and money. Hence, it is essential to know how to maximize each therapy session to achieve your desired goal. It starts with choosing the right therapist for you. Because therapy is a collaboration, you should be comfortable opening up about your state of mind to your therapist. It will also help if you schedule each session to not lapse with other commitments to give the therapy your full attention.

Is it normal to cry at every therapy session?

Yes, it is normal and helpful to cry during therapy sessions. In fact, it is often a crucial part of the therapeutic process. We refer to this process as catharsis, which is a way of releasing repressed emotions in the form of tears. It helps you overcome and get over your issues and problems brought up during the therapy session.

How many sessions is brief therapy?

Brief therapy usually consists of around 6 to 12 sessions with time limits. The duration of each session and the therapy’s length often varies depending on the issue at hand. The therapist and client will determine the number of sessions together, along with the initial sessions.

What do you talk about in group therapy?

You can discuss numerous topics in group therapy to give you a chance to gain insights about yourself and others. Many group therapy people talk about the best and worst life moments, success stories, and past traumas. It’s also a space where you can educate each other about your recovery process and talk about your goals and dreams.

Group therapy discussions allow you to understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes by sharing and listening. This process reduces feelings of isolation as you discover that you are not alone in your struggle.


How do you facilitate a group therapy session?

Group therapy sessions must follow basic guidelines to make them efficient for the participants. It aims to make participants feel involved in a welcoming social circle. It’s important to incorporate fun and engaging activities in group therapy sessions while maintaining personal boundaries and private space.

Furthermore, since these sessions would involve the confrontation of sensitive issues, unexpected things may surface in the process. As a facilitator, you have to make sure that you can calmly handle behaviors that spark violence.

What is a process therapy group?

Process therapy groups usually consist of 5 to 10 individuals, where they can freely share their concerns and struggles. This therapy process’s primary focus is to promote interaction among members by sharing stories and contributing feedback and responses. Receiving these multiple perspectives and support provides an opportunity for developing self-awareness, which is crucial for growth and change.

How do you give feedback in group therapy?

Feedback is one of the best aspects of being a part of group therapy. If you want to give good feedback, make sure that you’re specific about which remark you’re responding to. Try to be as honest and direct as possible with your responses by providing concrete examples.

As much as possible, try to avoid giving direct advice to a person struggling not to make them feel unheard. However, it will help share both positive and negative feedback you have in mind while remaining polite.

What should I not tell my therapist?

The basis of therapy is to have a safe environment to share your honest thoughts and feelings—may it be good or bad. Note that everything you tell your therapist is kept confidential with certain law limits on required legal disclosure. Other than that, it will be helpful to open up to your therapist on whatever’s in your mind. You may be surprised at the things you will learn about yourself when you let yourself be vulnerable in your sessions.

Should I take notes during therapy?

While others may find it unusual, it’s actually helpful to take notes during therapy sessions. It’s hard to remember everything about a therapy session because it can be emotionally and mentally charging. Thus, some people find note-taking helpful in processing ideas, steps, and coping mechanisms. You can also write down your thoughts during a particular moment or write down questions you want to ask later on.

How do you approach a first therapy session?

During the first therapy session, the therapist will ask about your personal history and reason for seeking therapy. It will help them assess the current situation and come up with a tailored therapy process. To make your first therapy session fruitful, be open and prepared to talk about your feelings and problems.

Some people would write down a list of why they seek therapy to relay it clearly to their therapist later. It’s also vital to ask questions to make sure you understand everything accurately and to create realistic expectations about the therapy.

Can therapists hug their clients?

Therapists have professional training in the ethical guidelines involved in therapy. It is not appropriate for therapists to initiate hugs or other physical contacts with their clients in principle. Note that the client-therapist relationship is not personal but professional. Physical contact can deprive therapists of objectivity as professionals and may impair the therapy progress.

Is it OK to text your therapist?

Different therapists each have their own set boundaries around communication between sessions. But generally, texting your therapist is fine as long as it is task-oriented or related to rescheduling of sessions. You can also send your therapist a text message during crises for them to provide professional guidance outside sessions.

Do therapists cry in therapy?

In a study, around 72% of participating 684 therapists and trainees report having cried in therapy. It does not consider the duration and intensity of “crying” as shedding tears or tearing up. During therapy sessions, the crying of therapists is a subject that hasn’t been discussed and researched at large. The majority of therapists also report that they have no training in dealing with crying while doing therapy.


Being open-minded to new perspectives and letting go of your prejudices about receiving professional help enables you to get the most out of therapy sessions. Although it may be hard at first, your willingness to undergo the recovery process can change your life for the better. 

Many preconceived notions about therapy can harm its effectiveness. It can also affect people’s enthusiasm to find healing and recovery in their problems. Whether you opt for long-term or brief therapy, you are the significant key in your progress. 

Therapy is a collaborative journey. Your therapists won’t heal you alone. You have to work together to build healthy coping abilities and responses to the stressors surrounding you. Therefore, you have to be committed to making a positive change in your life and sacrifice your time and other plans for your sessions.  

It’s essential to know how to get the most out of a therapy session since it requires your resources, such as time and money. Moreover, it will also help to achieve your desired goal more efficiently. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Read materials about therapy to help you learn more about getting professional help.    

Another important thing to remember is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and become a part of a community. Holding back your emotions can only lead to repression, which will eventually find its way out of you one way or the other. 

Showing emotions doesn’t make you weak; it is all part of being human. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Let go of the things that are holding you back and accept good things in your life. Through this, you can change your life for the better.