What You Need to Know Before Choosing Online Therapy? Skip to main content

Online therapy, also known as teletherapy or e-therapy, is a form of psychological counseling and therapy delivered over the Internet. Historically, it originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the advent of more accessible internet services.

Initially, it was mainly text-based, involving email communication and instant messaging. As technology evolved, so did online therapy, expanding to include video conferencing, which allowed for a more interactive and personal therapy experience.

This evolution marked a shift from traditional face-to-face psychotherapy to a digital platform. It broadens the scope of mental health services and makes it available to clients who are far away.

What Made Online Therapy Popular?

Before making a decision about online therapy, it is best to understand what led to its popularity and why it is a genuinely worthy option.

Technological Advancement

The rise in the popularity of online therapy is closely linked to technological progress. The availability of fast Internet and advanced mobile devices has made virtual therapy easier to access.

Online therapy services now include features such as appointment scheduling, secure messaging, and digital session notes, which improve the user experience.

The technology used in these platforms prioritizes privacy and confidentiality. It addresses key concerns in mental health treatment through encryption and complying with privacy regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Post-COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the increased demand for online therapy:

The onset of global lockdowns and social distancing measures due to the pandemic made face-to-face therapy challenging. This caused a surge in the adoption of online therapy.

According to the American Psychological Association, the use of teletherapy among practitioners increased dramatically from 2.1% pre-pandemic to 85.5% during the pandemic.

This shift not only demonstrated the feasibility of online therapy but also highlighted its importance in maintaining consistent care during times of crisis. The pandemic revealed the flexibility of online therapy in catering to various groups, including those with mobility issues or those living in remote areas.

The Mechanics of Online Therapy

Online therapy includes a range of digital therapy options and remote mental health consultations. Our goal is to help you better understand the different types of online therapy and the common therapeutic approaches for making the right decision about your mental health.

Types of Online Therapy

  • Video Sessions: Central to online mental health counseling, video sessions offer a face-to-face experience through digital channels. They provide the interpersonal connection essential in traditional therapy, all within the framework of telehealth support.
  • Messaging: This form of digital therapy involves text-based communication, offering flexibility and continuous dialogue for clients who prefer written communication. It is an important aspect of remote mental health services.
  • Phone Calls: Phone-based therapy is a key part of remote mental health consultations. It allows direct and personal communication, especially for those who can’t use or are uncomfortable with video technology.
  • Hybrid Models: These approaches combine different features of online therapy, like mixing video sessions with messaging or phone calls, to offer a complete approach to virtual therapy

Common Therapeutic Approaches Used in Online Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): At the core of online mental health counseling, CBT in virtual therapy sessions focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This approach helps clients learn to manage their emotions and improve how they relate to others. It focuses on teaching practical skills which are necessary for digital therapy.

Psychodynamic Therapy: Used in virtual therapy sessions, this approach examines how past experiences and unconscious factors affect current behaviors. It’s well-suited for thorough exploration in an online therapy setting.

Humanistic Therapy: In online mental health counseling, humanistic therapy prioritizes personal growth. It pays close attention to the client’s viewpoint, encouraging empathy and understanding during virtual therapy sessions.

Assessing Online Therapy: Does It Work?

You have made the decision to try online therapy, but now you want to understand how effective it really is. Let’s explore the research findings to gauge just how well online therapy works and how it compares to traditional in-person therapy.

Current Research and Findings

Multiple studies consistently reveal positive outcomes for individuals engaging in online therapy. For instance, research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows significant reductions in depression symptoms among participants receiving online therapy.

Online therapy isn’t limited to addressing mild mental health issues. It has proven to be effective for various conditions, including anxiety, PTSD, and more. This means that online therapy can be a doable option for addressing several mental health challenges.

A key strength of online therapy is its accessibility. It extends mental health care to individuals in remote areas or with busy schedules. It ensures consistent support, regardless of geographical location.

Comparing Online Therapy to Traditional Therapy

Now, let’s take a closer look at how online therapy stacks up against traditional in-person therapy:

  • Equally Effective: Research suggests that online therapy is as effective as traditional therapy, particularly for conditions like anxiety and depression. This is an important consideration for anyone weighing their therapy options.
  • Unique Advantages: Beyond its effectiveness, online therapy offers some unique advantages. These include the ease of receiving therapy from your home, flexible scheduling options, and often more cost-effective pricing.
  • Leveraging Technology: Progress in telehealth support has notably enhanced the effectiveness of online therapy. Therefore, the therapists are able to provide high-quality care that can excel in-person sessions. This makes online therapy an attractive choice for many seeking mental health support.

Benefits of Online Therapy

Knowing the benefits of online therapy is essential if you are struggling with mental health issues and have difficulty finding time for traditional in-person therapy.

Convenience and Time Efficiency

Online therapy saves you time and the trouble of commuting to appointments, making it ideal for those with busy schedules or limited mobility.

Comfort of Familiar Environments

You can engage in therapy from the privacy and comfort of your own home, making it easier to open up and feel at ease during sessions.


Generally, online therapy is more budget-friendly than in-person therapy, as therapists often offer lower fees due to reduced overhead costs.

Accessibility for Diverse Populations

Online therapy breaks down access barriers, serving diverse populations including those in remote areas, individuals with mobility challenges, and busy professionals.

Global Reach

Telehealth support in online therapy broadens your therapist options. You’re not limited to local therapists. You can connect with specialists from around the world to find the right fit for your needs.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Online Therapy

While online therapy offers numerous advantages, it is essential to consider several key factors to ensure it meets your specific needs. The following are the major considerations when contemplating remote mental health services and digital therapy:

Suitability for Individual Needs

Not all mental health concerns are best addressed through online mental health counseling. Assess whether the nature of your issues and your therapy objectives support virtual therapy sessions. Take into account factors such as your comfort with technology and your preferred mode of therapeutic interaction.

Payment and Insurance Coverage

Understand the financial aspects of remote mental health consultations. Determine if your insurance plan covers online therapy and be aware of any out-of-pocket expenses.

Verifying Therapist Credentials

Ensure that the therapist you choose for digital therapy is licensed and qualified. Verify their credentials, experience, and specialization.

Security and Privacy of Platforms

The confidentiality of your online therapy sessions is paramount. Confirm that the online therapy platform complies with privacy regulations like HIPAA and utilizes secure, encrypted communication channels to safeguard your personal information.

Limitations for Severe Mental Health Conditions

Remote mental health services may not be suitable for severe mental health conditions or crises requiring immediate, intensive intervention. Assess the severity of your condition and consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable course of action.

Choosing the Right Online Therapist

Choosing the right therapist for your online therapy journey is an important step towards your well-being. Here are important factors to consider.


Ensure that any therapist you consider for virtual therapy sessions holds the necessary licenses and qualifications so that you receive professional and legally compliant care.


Therapists have varying areas of expertise and may employ different therapeutic approaches. Choose a therapist whose specialization and methods align with your specific needs.

Communication Styles

The success of online therapy relies on your connection with the therapist. Consider their communication style, whether it’s structured or open-ended, and determine if it supports your preferences.

Platform Feedback

Before selecting a therapist, review testimonials and feedback from other clients. Likewise, assess reviews for the online therapy platform they use to ensure it’s user-friendly and dependable.


One of the advantages of telehealth support in therapy is its flexibility. Seek a therapist who can accommodate your schedule.

How do you prepare for a successful online therapy experience?

  1. Effective preparation is key to getting the most out of your remote mental health services. Following are the important steps:
  2. Before starting online mental health counseling, establish your objectives. These goals will guide both you and your therapist during your sessions.
  3. Find a quiet, uninterrupted space for your sessions. This is essential for maintaining concentration and privacy.
  4. Verify that your internet connection is stable, and your device is suitable for the session.
  5. Be prepared to share openly with your therapist. The success of digital therapy depends on your willingness to be candid.
  6. Sometimes, therapists assign tasks or homework outside of sessions. Actively participate in these activities for notable progress.

Maximizing the Benefits of Online Therapy

To make the most of your online therapy journey, consider these strategies:

  1. Establishing rapport with your therapist is essential. This relationship is built on trust and mutual respect.
  2. Take an active role in your online therapy Ask questions, share your thoughts and feelings, and actively participate.
  3. Continually assess your progress and discuss it with your therapist. This ongoing evaluation helps in fine-tuning your goals and therapy strategies.


Online therapy offers a valuable alternative to traditional therapy, bringing mental health support into the digital age.

It is, however, important to reflect on the key insights and take the time to understand its workings and how it can meet individual needs. You must consider factors like therapy type, therapist qualifications, and technology.

Whether it is your first therapy experience or a transition from in-person sessions, choose digital therapy with a complete understanding of its dynamics.

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