This article is sponsored by BetterHelp
The road to success for ambitious, career-driven women leaves little room for us to sit with thoughts and emotions that are completely untethered from our professional lives. Even as much of my work consists of uplifting women and encouraging them to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being which, for some, meant seeking therapy, I was still struggling to take that leap myself.
As a founder and entrepreneur, I continuously poured myself into building my brand even as I began to notice the negative effects it was having on my mental health. My passion for my work and the drive that pushed me towards success were leaving me feeling burnt out, stressed out and fearful of opportunities that would have once excited me. My anxiety levels were soaring, bringing me to what felt like endless breaking points, I was still stubbornly determined to push through. I believed this to be one of many inevitable burdens women had to endure and learn to navigate in order to survive as entrepreneurs. It wasn’t until my anxiety disorder began interfering with how I showed up as a leader and how I began managing my team that I realized I needed to step back and seriously consider my options.  
After taking to the internet to thoroughly explore every possible avenue that could help me get my anxiety under control, it seemed as though all roads lead back to online therapy, but I still had my reservations.

Stigmas Keeping Women Out of Therapy

The topic of therapy has always had negative connotations associated with it. People who sought out therapy were shamed, bullied or belittled for seeking help. This behavior and thought process had become the norm. Even though today therapy is encouraged as being a valuable resource for tackling mental health issues, people continue to carry those stigmas with them. Female business leaders and entrepreneurs are but one group of people who I believe are still deeply impacted by these stigmas which have been preventing them from seeking online therapy. There is a real fear of being seen as weak amongst our peers and team members. There is also an equally important fear that comes from addressing issues we’d rather bury beneath the surface as we prioritize things that seem more important.
Even if I didn’t personally know many women who were utilizing online therapy, I knew that if online therapy could work for anyone, it had to be female entrepreneurs and business women who were anxious and burnt out just like I was. In part, there was some validity to this theory. A meta-analytical study compared the effectiveness between clinical assessments delivered through video conferencing technology versus in-person delivery. Assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research at the University of Memphis, Ashley Batastini, PhD, discovered that while both means of virtual intervention produced similar results, women were shown to have better results with virtual assessments and interventions as opposed to in-person interventions.
With all of this information in hand, the scales were constantly tipping back and forth in my mind each time my anxiety would take over and consume me at important moments throughout my day. In meetings, in interviews, when working with my team or networking with new female business leaders. I would catch myself thinking, “What would people think about me if they find out I was in therapy?” “Will I be seen as weak?” “What if it doesn’t work? Does that mean I’m broken?” “What if it does work” “What would it be like to not be crippled by anxiety?”
I found myself constantly entertaining the very stigmas I would want to encourage women in similar situations to overcome.
Eventually, I ran out of excuses to not give online therapy a fair chance. Unlike traditional therapy, I didn’t have to clear a large spot in my calendar not only for a session, but to travel to a physical office. I wouldn’t have to commit to face-to-face meetings. There was a window of opportunity to seek the help I knew I needed, and so I finally grabbed hold of it.     

Starting Online Therapy

A quick Google search of the best online therapy platforms consistently brought me back to BetterHelp. I signed up on the site and began the process of completing a short quiz that asked for my preferences and requirements for the therapist I’d be working with, as well as what topics I wanted to discuss. After completing the process, I then had to wait as Betterhelp searched for a therapist who would be the best match for me. To distract myself, I threw myself back into my work trying to not think about it anymore. This is what I wanted, but now it felt real.
After 20 minutes, I received an email that I had been matched up with a therapist. I downloaded the app, signed in, and viewed the details of her bio and specialties. She was licensed in my city and specialized in stress, anxiety, self-esteem and depression – for some reason, these details brought me a sense of ease. It felt as though there were already some similarities between us, maybe things she could understand about my life being from the same city I was in.
The next step was to schedule a Livechat session. I opened her calendar and selected a time slot for the next afternoon. This was a major step for me, one that I wouldn’t have seen myself making merely a week prior. After securing the date and time of the session, I was immediately sent the guidelines for the meeting that detailed how to prep my device for the meeting, how to cancel or reschedule, and a reminder that sessions last 30 to 45 minutes.

My Experience

I know I may have started strong, but my first experience with online therapy was far from successful. I was proud of myself for taking the first step towards beginning therapy, but as the time for the initial session neared, my anxiety became overwhelming and I couldn’t bring myself to attend the session. The thought of confronting my fear and anxiety in therapy made those very feelings even more overwhelming. It was out of character for me to intentionally miss an appointment, but it served as a reminder of how much I needed to do this. I logged back into the app, sent my therapist a message apologizing for missing our meeting, and scheduled my next session. I was committed to showing up the next time around.
Fortunately, I was able to secure another meeting for later that same day. I didn’t want to push it off any longer risking the possibility of feeling too overwhelmed to attend. My first meeting was much smoother than I anticipated. As usual, the story my anxiety had created in my mind was far worse than the actual experience itself. Our 35-minute session consisted of our introductions, briefly touching on our missed appointment from earlier in the day and talking about my anxiety and the role it played in leading me to therapy.
Although BetterHelp allows users to choose another therapist at any point in time, I felt confident that my therapist was the best match for me. As our meeting came to a close, we discussed checking in via text or online messaging as that would be the most convenient way for me to stay consistent with therapy without always needing to take time out for a video call. She offered me exercises to work on outside of therapy to help me begin the process of controlling my breathing and getting back to myself in the moments where my anxiety begins taking over. And with that, my first therapy session was over.
What followed this breakthrough moment were several online interactions with my therapist. I’ve primarily reached out through the messaging features during moments where I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I’ve scheduled video calls before important events to work through the cloud of thoughts and worst-case scenarios that plagued my mind.
Finally prioritizing my own mental health needs, on my time, has been a freeing and empowering experience.

Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons

It can be daunting for career-driven women to take time out of their busy schedules to prioritize their mental health. It can sometimes feel easier to push our concerns below the surface hoping any issues will somehow be resolved all on their own. From my personal experience, women in highly competitive industries will oftentimes feel the pressure to never be seen as weak or get too comfortable asking for help. The fear of being judged, being seen through the lenses of your shortcomings rather than your strengths and the fear of being broken if you can’t seem to be “fixed,” are all valid stigmas and fears that keep women from seeking therapy.
To better help you decide if online therapy is the right choice for you, here are my final thoughts on the pros and cons of online therapy.


-   Conveniently schedule and attend sessions from anywhere at any time.
-   Freely choose whether you want a live video session or simply want to speak to your therapist via phone call, text, or messaging.
-   Get professional help from a licensed therapist who can help you manage your mental health as well as any number of mental illness issues.
-   Save time on traveling
-   More cost effective than in-person therapy
-   Ease of commitment for people who may too anxious to attend in-person sessions


-   Online therapy is not for everyone especially people who may suffer from severe forms of mental illness
-   Video/phone call sessions may not be effective for those who aren’t in a safe or comfortable environment
-   Although more of a consideration than a con, it may take longer for some people to find the right therapist for themselves which may leave you feeling as though you aren’t seeing results
For women who may believe that online therapy isn’t for them, I’d advise that you reconsider and try it out for yourself before making a definitive conclusion about it. At the very least, you can walk away with useful tools to help you cope with your mental health struggles in your day to day life. At its best, you can have a long-term support system to help lessen the stresses of everyday life.
Interested in trying online therapy for yourself? Sign up to BetterHelp and get 25% Off 


Iman Oubou