Can Therapists At Betterhelp Prescribe Medication?

This article will focus on whether or not therapists available at Betterhelp can prescribe medication. In any situation, the reasons will be cited and the article will also comment on the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists. It will also comment on the use of medications for mental health problems. The article will also introduce the audience to the online company Betterhelp.

Can Therapists On Betterhelp Prescribe Medication?

Therapists can not provide medication through Betterhelp because of the following reasons:

  • They are not qualified 
  • Betterhelp does not permit it
  • Online Diagnosis – A Dilemma
  • Clients – Truthful?
  • Reality Vs Virtual – What Factors To Consider

Before we look at the reasons as to why therapists on Betterhelp cannot prescribe medications, we will provide a general introduction to this online platform for mental health services.

Betterhelp – Mental Health Services Online

Betterhelp is one of the largest online platforms that provides multiple services for all types of people who are suffering from mental health problems and require counseling. 

Members and clients do not have to go anywhere but can sit at home and avail a multitude of services that are affiliated with this online platform. Hence they avoid traveling, save time and can avail services keeping in mind their limitations caused by their mental health problems; sometimes people are not in the condition to go outside the house for therapy or counseling, they need services at home!

With around 1700 licensed professionals onboard, more than 900,000 clients and having conducted at least 70 million sessions online, it would be insufficient to say it is just one of those online platforms that provide mental health services! The best thing about Betterhelp is that it is available to all people regardless of their background and ensures people can choose the medium of communication that is most appropriate for them such as chatting, calls or video sessions with their counselors.

Betterhelp is a platform that connects clients and service providers such as clinical and social workers, marriage and family counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists so that those who are in need of mental health services can get them! 

Why Therapists On Betterhelp Cannot Prescribe Medications?

As we pointed out earlier, therapists on this platform cannot prescribe medications probably because of the reasons we identified. We will now look at each reason in detail.

They Are Not Qualified.

It is necessary to understand the difference between therapists and psychiatrists. A therapist is someone who can provide a broad range of treatments to people who are suffering from mental health issues. The important thing is to recognize that it is psychiatrists and not therapists, psychologists or counselors, who can prescribe medication, online or not online!

Psychiatrists are professionals who have a medical degree but have also spent many years qualifying in the field of psychiatry and will be associated with the American Psychiatric Association. They are doctors who understand the profession of mental health; they are the ones who are licensed and qualified to prescribe medications to help treat the mental health issues clients experience.

Therapists however, are not qualified to prescribe medications and may be held accountable if they engage in doing so. Psychologists on the other hand, in some regions, have minimal control over medication prescription; they can prescribe some but not all medications that a psychiatrist prescribes. Psychologists actually focus on psychotherapy to treat mental health disorders.

Betterhelp Does Not Permit It

Another reason why neither therapists nor any other professional presently working with Betterhelp cannot prescribe medications to clients online is because it is not allowed in the terms and conditions of the company.

The terms and conditions of Betterhelp clearly state that Betterhelp is just a platform that helps clients pair up with counselors who can provide them with quality services; it also states that if the client does not find the counselor suitable then they should switch to another one. It also clearly states that the counselors or other professionals are not their representatives or employees in any way or manner.

This section on Betterhelp’s website further states that this platform is not meant for diagnosis or any sort of clinical intervention that is meant to be carried out in in-person therapy. It strongly states that the platform is also not meant for exchanging any information with regards to drugs or medications; in simple words, it is discouraging taking advice from the professionals at this platform with regards to medications for the client’s mental health needs. 

This is another reason why therapists or in that case any professional cannot prescribe medication to clients on this online platform.

Online Diagnosis – A Dilemma

Have you ever wondered what the person on the other side of the phone looks like? It’s an interesting phenomena where you can hear them but not see them for who they truly are. You could talk and talk and still not get a complete picture of the person you are engaging in conversation with – this is one of the dilemmas people face in the online world.

A counselor or even a psychiatrist for that matter cannot have a complete understanding of the person they are assessing when it comes to their profession; they may feel they have enough information but even they know that it is not true. They may offer the perfect advice but it would be risky to prescribe medication without taking into account other types of information.

There are so many things professionals take into account when they decide whether or not they deem medication necessary for a certain client; body language, tone of voice, abnormal body movements, eye movements and how they present themselves or behave generally in a meeting are some of the things that need to be taken into consideration.

Clients – Truthful?

How can you tell if the person on the other side of that chat box is telling the truth? Do their actions align with what they are saying? Is there any other way to determine if they actually need the medications they demand or you think they require other than written or articulated words.

This is a very common happening where clients lie about their own selves for various reasons; they may be embarrassed, confused about themselves or acting with a certain intent. In whatever case, they will provide invalid dates and how could they be held accountable or information cross checked when they are not even required to provide their true name online at Betterhelp.

Keeping this possibility in mind, the policy of Betterhelp clearly prohibits the prescription of medication for clients on the part of professionals; the professional may be clearly capable of and sure of the diagnosis according to the information they have; however, they have no method to validate this very information they are so dependent on!

Reality Vs Virtual – What Factors To Consider

There is a huge difference between how one sees things online and in the real world. Betterhelp is a platform that connects people from across the globe; although we all are very similar, we live in places that are worlds apart and that makes all the difference.

It is sometimes difficult for the service provider to perceive the differences in culture, religion and social background that may be contributing to the mental health issues of the individual. Not to say communication is a tool that allows us to get across most boundaries but keeping in mind the sensitivity of things and the end goal, it is necessary to realize the possibility of making an incomplete diagnosis that leads to a wrongly prescribed medicine. 

It is difficult to truly understand the other person’s situation until you are near them or in it with them; being there gives you a better view of their problems and probably a new perspective. So, probably because of this reason, Betterhelp does not permit its professional service providers to prescribe medication to their clients; its not worth the risk.

Conclusion

This article answered the question of whether therapists at Betterhelp can prescribe medications to clients. After arriving at the conclusion that they can’t, the article listed and discussed the probable reasons for this. The article also discussed the differences between a psychologist and psychiatrist in the context of who can and who cannot prescribe medication.

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