Online Therapy For Agoraphobia | Best Services Reviewed

Agoraphobia belongs to the group of anxiety disorders. The main characteristic of agoraphobia is the overwhelming fear of situations or places from which there seems to be no escape.

One of the best ways to overcome this anxiety disorder is by talking to a therapist over the internet.

In this article, we’ll review the three best online agoraphobia therapy services. We’ll also explain the best type of therapy for this anxiety disorder.

Quick comparison table

#1

BetterHelp logo.

BetterHelp

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#2

Talkspace logo.

Talkspace

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#3

online-therapy.com logo.

Online-Therapy.com

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#1
BetterHelp logo.
BetterHelp

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#2
Talkspace logo.
Talkspace

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#3
online-therapy.com logo.
Online-Therapy.com

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best online agoraphobia therapy services

Man suffering from agoraphobia.

Let’s begin our reviews.

In this section, we’ve looked at the three best online therapy services that offer agoraphobia treatment.

1. BetterHelp

#1

BetterHelp logo.

BetterHelp

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#1
BetterHelp logo.
BetterHelp

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that provides mental health services. Thousands of licensed therapists use the platform to provide online therapy, which you can access for a weekly fee.

This online therapy platform offers help for a range of different issues, including agoraphobia and panic attacks. As anxiety is one of the predominant mental health issues that people currently experience, BetterHelp offers a variety of clinical therapists specializing in this area.

BetterHelp is basically therapy in your pocket. You can find professional help wherever you are, at any time, by phone calls, text messages or video chat. They have a website, as well as a mobile app, which you can use to get support.

The basic plan includes all services listed below, but the main, and most significant one, is weekly therapy sessions one-on-one with your assigned mental health professional. This service is similar to face-to-face therapy, but you can talk to your therapist even when you’re on vacation, traveling, or simply don’t want to go to an office.

With BetterHelp, you also get access to unlimited messaging with your therapist, over live chat. Using this, you can share your thoughts and feelings and get a response whenever you feel like you need support or advice, rather than having to wait for your next weekly session.

All BetterHelp therapists are licensed, accredited professionals, each of which offers different types of therapy. Specifically for agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders, BetterHelp therapists offer cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been proven as one of the most effective treatment options for these types of disorders.

The process of joining BetterHelp is quite straightforward. When you sign up, you’re asked questions about your issue, and what you’re looking for in a therapist. The questionnaire may seem long, but it’s designed this way to ensure that the BetterHelp team understands your situation thoroughly. Then, using this information, BetterHelp matches you with a suitable therapist.

Not “clicking” with your therapist, or feeling like you need someone else, is one of the possible problems that can occur on this platform. However, this happens all the time in traditional therapy as well.

On BetterHelp, if you’re not satisfied with your current therapist, you simply use the online portal to ask to change counselor, and you’ll be immediately assigned another one. Even though a mismatch is possible, BetterHelp gives you the opportunity to switch therapists at any time, and for any reason.

2. Talkspace

#2

Talkspace logo.

Talkspace

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#2
Talkspace logo.
Talkspace

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another online therapy site worth mentioning is Talkspace.

Similar to BetterHelp, Talkspace has a range of licensed cognitive behavioral therapists on the platform, experienced in working with anxiety-related disorders, including agoraphobia.

One of the best Talkspace features is the ability to choose your therapist. When signing up, you talk to a therapist over live chat, rather than filling in a form. After this conversation, three options will be presented, and you can choose which therapist you would prefer.

This process enables a two-way conversation – you can ask questions about the process, which is great. However, you can’t sign up at your own pace, like you can with BetterHelp.

Once matched with a clinical therapist experienced at helping people with agoraphobia, you can easily switch therapists in the future if you want to. The information you’ve shared with your previous counselor remains confidential, unless you want to share it with your new therapist.

One feature that Talkspace has and BetterHelp lacks is the ability to pause the service instead of quitting it. If you feel that your agoraphobia is improving, or if you’re on vacation, you can pause your service and once you return, your therapist will be waiting for you. On BetterHelp, you can ask to be assigned the same therapist once you return, but there’s no guarantee.

However, Talkspace’s basic plan doesn’t come with weekly 30-minute sessions. If you want to call your therapist, rather than using text messaging, you have to upgrade to a more expensive plan. In general, Talkspace is more expensive than BetterHelp, although this platform is covered by some health insurance plans in the US, unlike BetterHelp, meaning it doesn’t always cost more.

3. Online-therapy.com

#3

online-therapy.com logo.

Online-Therapy.com

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#3
online-therapy.com logo.
Online-Therapy.com

Agoraphobia Therapy

Overall rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another online therapy site you might find worth exploring is online-therapy.com.

Suitable for agoraphobia, online-therapy.com is entirely based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the most effective psychotherapeutic approaches for this disorder. The goal of CBT is to help you recognize, reevaluate and overcome distorted thoughts and unhelpful behavioral patterns.

All therapists on online-therapy.com are licensed CBT specialists with a minimum of three years of experience. You can read each therapist’s biography upon signing up, to ensure you find someone experienced at providing agoraphobia therapy.

With online-therapy.com, you can communicate with your therapist over chat, a phone call, or a video session. Whichever subscription plan you buy, you’ll also get access to their online tools, such as worksheets and online journaling.

Although you don’t have to use these online treatment tools if you don’t want to, they can be useful, because cognitive behavioral therapy often relies on self-reflection, which the worksheets can be very helpful with.

The long-term goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help you become your own therapist, to be able to recognize the disorder and learn how to control it. This process takes significant practice, which homework and worksheets can be very helpful for, in conjunction with sessions from your licensed therapist on this website.

Which is the best type of therapy for agoraphobia?

Woman receiving anxiety therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the most effective types of therapy for agoraphobia.

Anxiety is the predominant symptom of agoraphobia, and CBT focuses on teaching you how to better tolerate anxiety by directly challenging your worries and gradually returning you to activities you’ve previously avoided. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you which factors trigger a panic attack, as well as techniques that could help you stop them.

CBT is commonly used when treating an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks, and phobias, including agoraphobia.

The core principles of CBT are based on the idea that psychological problems emerge from unhelpful and distorted ways of thinking, as well as conditioned patterns of unhelpful behavior. CBT relies on the fact that people can learn better ways of coping with their psychological problems, reduce their suffering, and live better, happier lives.

CBT works on changing thinking patterns. This psychological treatment teaches you how to recognize cognitive distortions, reevaluate them, gain a better understanding of your own disorder and your thoughts, and use problem-solving skills to cope with difficult agoraphobic situations.

Patients who go through CBT feel more confident that they can control their own disorder, instead of their disorder controlling them.

CBT also helps you change your behavioral patterns – facing fears instead of avoiding them, and role-playing to prepare for difficult interactions. Sometimes, this type of treatment involves exposure therapy, which involves slowly introducing you to the source of your fear, helping you to eventually overcome this anxiety trigger. Exposure therapy is typically used in the later stages of your treatment program.

CBT may also involve cognitive restructuring techniques, which helps to gradually alter negative thoughts and attitudes you may have, especially around social situations and being in open spaces.

Benefits of online therapy for agoraphobia

People with agoraphobia sometimes have a very specific problem. Patients might experience panic and fear while in open spaces or crowded places, or on public transport, possibly leading to a full-on panic attack. Those with severe symptoms might not even be able to leave their own home for fear of panic attacks.

If you’re experiencing these behavioral agoraphobic symptoms, online therapy could be a good place to start. For people who experience extreme anxiety upon leaving their house, merely going to face-to-face therapy can be daunting.

Online therapy reduces exposure to anxiety at the early stages of therapy and allows you to work on your agoraphobia from the comfort of your home, or any other comfortable environment. It might also help you to open up with your therapist, helping to make therapy more effective.

Data shows that online therapy can be just as useful and effective as traditional face-to-face therapy, but it heavily depends on which sort of treatment you prefer. Some people may prefer talking to someone face-to-face, while some find this treatment more anxiety-inducing.

Can agoraphobia be cured?

Woman suffering from agoraphobia.

Around a third of people with agoraphobia eventually free themselves of agoraphobic symptoms, with the right professional help. You can treat agoraphobia and eventually free yourself of the disorder.

For others, after going through therapy, you might experience agoraphobia again in the future, when faced with extreme stress. In this case, it may be worthwhile to seek treatment again, for a short period of time, to help you re-learn the techniques you used to avoid having a panic attack.

What is agoraphobia?

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes fear of places from which there seems to be no easy way to escape, especially when going out.

There are a couple of hypotheses that try to explain what leads to agoraphobia.

  • The behavioral hypothesis says that agoraphobia is the result of conditioning. In other words, when a person experiences negative or uncomfortable sensations in a certain place, they tend to believe the same thing is going to happen again when they’re in that same place.
  • The cognitive hypothesis says that agoraphobia is the result of wrong interpretations of physical sensations, such as rapid heartbeat or sweating.

Agoraphobic people may think these sensations are caused by an upcoming anxiety or panic attack due to being in a crowded place, which in return causes more anxiety.

Symptoms of agoraphobia

Woman suffering from anxiety symptoms.

There are three types of symptoms caused by agoraphobia – physical, cognitive and behavioral.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms occur in situations that cause anxiety which are difficult for a person to handle, and therefore lead to avoidance and intense fear of experiencing these situations.

These types of symptoms include an increased heart rate, sweating and trembling, feeling faint, feeling like you’re going to suffocate, chest pain, nausea, dizziness and difficulty swallowing.

Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms are thoughts and feelings related to the physical issues we described above. These symptoms are your thoughts about the physical sensations you’re experiencing.

Some of them are intense fear of having panic attacks in public, due to thinking you will be embarrassed, or a fear that the panic attack will be fatal or life-threatening. Patients may even fear they’re going to suffocate or have a heart attack.

Other cognitive symptoms include feelings of being unable to escape from the situation, fear of losing sanity, and fear of losing control.

Behavioral symptoms

Behavioral symptoms are usually the consequences of other symptoms. Essentially, your patterns of behavior change – you start avoiding places that could cause anxiety, such as crowded places and public transport.

You might avoid being far away from your house and need to be with someone you trust when going outside.

Agoraphobia and panic disorder

Woman having a panic attack.

Agoraphobia and panic disorder often go hand in hand. They have one specific symptom in common and that is anxiety, especially social anxiety.

There are cases in which these two disorders appear separately. People with panic disorder do not necessarily have to suffer from agoraphobia, or vice versa. But since agoraphobia causes extreme anxiety, this could potentially lead to a panic attack, and a person developing panic disorder.

Fortunately, cognitive behavioral treatment is suitable for both disorders.

Even though experiencing these symptoms and living with these disorders can be difficult, there are ways to take back control over your life. Seeking professional help, working through your emotions, and self-reflection are the ways you can begin to overcome agoraphobia symptoms.

Conclusion

This is the end of our article discussing the best online therapy platforms for treating agoraphobia and panic attacks.

We hope you’ve found the right path forward towards improving your mental health.

If you’re still not sure which online therapy platform to choose to treat your agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks, feel free to leave us a comment below and we’ll help you decide between different online counseling and telehealth services.

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