Is Online Therapy a Good Option?

There’s nothing like a good therapy session to help you feel better! In my case, it took a lot more than one session for me to get to the root of my “issues” and I’d have to say that I don’t regret committing to therapy one bit. The thing I do regret is not getting therapy years earlier. For plenty of reasons (excuses), I opted to try to figure things out on my own, but really never got anywhere.

Online therapy is increasing in popularity these days, as therapists are making themselves available via Skype, email, phone, and video conferencing. Is this a good option? Would I have benefitted from talking to someone via Skype as opposed to going out in the community and sitting in the same office as my therapist?

I could have. I don’t see why I wouldn’t have, but I think that this could vary from person to person. I know for some online therapy would be very convenient. If you live in a small, rural town and your options are limited, online therapy opens up the whole world to you. If you’re super busy and traveling to an appointment would just be one more thing to do, online therapy would suit you. If you’re home watching your kids all day, you could get a session in during nap time. The convenience makes it a definite plus.

What kinds of issues?
Online therapy will contend with all sorts of mental health issues, like depression, relationship problems, alcohol and drug abuse, bipolar disorder, phobias, and much more. After all, the counselors that are offering online counseling ought to be licensed counselors, so they should be able to help people with a wide range of problems or disorders.
What should you know about online counseling?

You will want to ask some questions before making a decision to receive online therapy.
1. How much does it cost? Be sure that you ask how much each session is going to be and check to see if your insurance will cover the session. If you don’t have insurance, ask the therapist if he/she has a sliding fee scale or reduced fees for those that don’t have insurance.

2. Are you licensed? You want a therapist who is licensed from an accredited source. Be sure to ask the therapist and you can also check his/her website for further information about background and experience. You can tell a lot from a website. If you’re really not sure, run their business name through the Better Business Bureau to be sure they are legit.

3. How many and how long are the sessions per week? Many therapists have one session per week and will give you some homework to do as well. You want to know what will be required of you before making the commitment.

I think that there is some value to online counseling and it is certainly a better option than not getting professional help at all. I do value meeting face to face with a counselor, but I also understand that this is not feasible for everyone.

What are your thoughts about online counseling?

  • 43 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • I think that it could be a great option for someone who doesn't have access to transportation to and from an office to do therapy in person, or for someone who has issues with leaving the house or is too sick to leave the house but desperately needs the therapy. I think it really depends on the person though. If both the therapist and the patient put the effort into it online, then it could definitely be beneficial!
  • Online therapy is a good option for people that cannot find the time to get to a real therapy session. It's also a good idea for people that live in remote locations where the closest accessible location is unrealistically far away. With the option of an online session, people can't really use the excuse that it's too much of a hassle to get to the location and to schedule an appointment and wait in line.  It would be good to have a mixture of both online sessions and in-person therapy. Sometimes when depression or anxiety attacks, it's nice to instantly have a therapist online to help before it gets worse.  
  • I think online therapy is a good option. It's very accessible and much cheaper compared to going to an actual counsel meeting. Also, if you have anxiety issues, like you couldn't express yourself that better face-to-face, but you're good on conversing with other people online, then this totally suits you. Anyway, as long as it works well for you, then why not keep on doing it? Besides, who doesn't want to have a bit of convenience, right?
  • I think online therapy is better than no therapy at all so people who otherwise will not be able go to therapy sessions can take online therapy sessions instead. However, because there is less pressure from the therapist compared to the actual one, it is more suited for people with strong motivation and discipline. If that person has a strong desire to quit no matter what he encounters later and if he is honest with himself, then I can see that online therapy might be a good idea. Otherwise, it will be just a waste of money.
  • I find that online therapy is great! Usually you can talk to someone within minutes (instead of days) and you don't always get the same views--which in my opinion is great because not everyone can explain something in a way that will reach out to me. Therefore, different explanations helps me to understand, what the person before them couldn't help me to understand. I have never actually had to pay for it though? I guess it all depends on where you go and if you are actually seeking professional advice, or advice from like minded people/experienced people? 

    I do use this method more as an unbiased support person/group, not an actually therapy session. I do feel that face to face therapy is more important if you are seeking recovery or mental health treatment.
  • Some people find online therapy an effective form of therapy but it's not the answer to all your woes and neither does it fill the void. If you're going through something, online therapy including talking to strangers and asking their perspective or surfing random subjects you're interested in just to take your mind off your problems can ease your pain to some extent. For full recovery, your need more than the Internet to provide for your psychological needs.
  • I do feel that online therapy is a good option. Some therapist are literally just after our money, so having online therapy can be a great help.
  • I think this online therapy is also a good method for recovery. Even you are just in the convenience of your own home with the use of a computer everything is possible for you to talk online to some people who had went through like what you had and to listen to their advices how they had recovered successfully. And at the same time share to them your experiences too and it will be a sort of relief if you will breathe it out to them. There are some people even they are not real therapies who are expert when it comes to this matter are sometimes the one whom you can relate your situations. Experiences is the best teacher in our life and there are many things you can learn from it.
  • Hmm, I've been wanting to see a therapist for quite some time, but I have no clue if there are any near my area. But online therapy sounds like a good idea as well. I feel much more open in online conversations than in-person, where I'm literally stumbling over my words.
  • I think online therapy is good option if you lack other options for any reason. It's also a good supplement to therapy. At one point before I started counselling, I was in a forum that had free group counselling. The forum was paid and I had to stop it at one point, but I have to say it would have been nice to have the regular one on one counselling plus the online group, gives more options and support when you need that. Anyway, there is one thing that regular therapy can give you (at least in my experience) - you feel more exposed. There is a level of intimacy that I think Skype can't match, and more of your issues get exposed (and solved as consequence). So yeah, I would think online therapy does have a place in getting better.
  • Online therapy is good if you put in our effort too, like any other therapy. For me therapy is a support, guidance, but we need to make our part too, the most important one. 
  • When I was diagnosed with postnatal depression I was advised to see a counsellor and for 4 months I met with her weekly. I had high hopes of building a rapport with this woman, with her becoming the person I could rely and depend on, and ultimately the one to help lift the fog that depression had brought down around me. Unfortunately, despite everyone's best efforts, it didn't work.
    Having always suffered with anxiety issues, stemming back from when I was bullied throughout school, I had a real problem opening up to her face to face, and some days my appointments were cancelled because I had a panic attack just thinking about going to the office.

    Online therapy, which I found off my own back after the NHS had decided I'd failed their course of treatment, was my lifeline. I was able to find the support and guidance I'd craved from the face to face counselling, but was able to do it from a safe place, namely my own home. We tried the odd Skype session, me and my counsellor Joel, but ultimately just sitting and talking things through on an instant messaging sort of platform was the way forward. I was able to open up to him entirely, and really think about what I was saying before I sent any information across, so I wasn't muddled. Even that need to think through what I wanted to say helped me. 

    I couldn't be a bigger advocate for online counselling, and I now volunteer for a couple of websites which offer unofficial guidance and support networks for people who just want somebody to talk to. I genuinely think there's a place for it as a main way of counselling and helping beat depression, as I know for sure it helped save my life.
  • Online therapy can help in some ways, but I don't think a person should rely upon it as their sole option for getting help. Since everything is done from the comfort of home, you don't have to challenge yourself as much to head out for a session, and it's isolating in a way. It can help thousands of people, but it's probably best used in conjunction with more traditional therapy and treatment options.
  • Online therapy could work but I think that sometimes it is good to go to someone that you can physically hear and see and get comfort from. A voice can change the day and your emotions and therapy online cant do that for you.
  • @natalie89 so glad to hear online counseling worked so well for you. the messaging is interesting. i tend to communicate best in writing, so that would be a great platform for me as well. i tend to be more open and vulnerable in writing...i think many of us are that way. 

    thanks for sharing!
  • I think online therapy is one of the best ideas anyone has come up with... ever. A lot of people are more comfortable in their own setting.
  • It's pretty good for people who have busy lives of don't have so many possibilities in their area. But I don't know if it would work for me. I am a really introverted and isolated person, and talking to people face-to-face helps me a lot. I don't know if I could make it without human interaction. 
  • I really like the idea, as sometimes I don’t feel like being seen. This is especially true when I’m struggling. And I’m another person who’s always been more comfortable writing my feelings out than actually speaking them aloud. So I think it has a solid place in the world of treatment, and I would definitely consider it for myself.
  • Hi everybody. I feel like I have to share with you my story about this subject. ( sorry if I make any mistakes in grammar or spelling. English is not my mother tongue).

    I was one of those people who were very anvilling to go to a psychologist. I always thought that that's for someone else, even though I had many reasons to contact one a decade ago. But then my life situation got very difficult. My husband was leaving me, at the same time I was trying to expend my business in EU and was under a lot of stress. I started sleeping very bad, had migraines, became very anxious and started wondering a lot about life.

    During one of my long flights I met a person sitting next to me and after some time we started talking about this. He told me that he had also some problems, but then on one of his flight he met someone who gave him e-mail address of a psychologist who help him some time ago. He told me that he is very busy and does not take new people immediately because he likes to work with a few people, but to do the best he can, aka. prefers quality over quantity. He also told me that it was very memorable experience. I took the card with e-mail address and put it in my wallet thinking "yeah, he is going to tell me how life is beautiful and have to be strong and bla, bla, bla.."

    Anyway, after some time I had one of those very difficult days, and in the evening I thought that maybe I should give it a try. First I went to a psychologist close to my house in Boston, but we really didn't click. Being very disappointed about this, I spoke to my friend about it, and she told me that the contact has to be good and full of trust between client and psychologist, and that that is the crucial component to success, so I decided not to go there again. A few days after that I remember that card in my wallet. I sent one e-mail to this psychologist asking him if we can meet, via skype preferably. He replayed next day. He told me that he started meeting people via skype since few months ago because he is aware that the world is changing and that he also has to adjust. I found this very sweet in some way. He also told me that it would be very preferable if we can meet few times ( especially the first time) in person. I couldn't do that for the first time, but then, on my third trip I found out that I am just two hours away from him ( he was in the Netherlands at the time) and we had a personal meeting which was fantastic. I met him few more times in person after that ( great thing is that he is also traveling a lot, so he was also in my neighbourhood several times) , while majority of meeting were via skype. In my experience, progress is possible with the skype sessions too; it might go slower then with a personal session, but it is possible.

    Now, after two years, I can tell you that, what started as constant complaining about my husband, became a great trip of self discovery and that I am more then happy that I've done it. Sometimes it wasn't easy ( just as he told me - that sessions are not always necessary pleasant and that sometimes we need to face things I don't want to face), but all together it was the best thing I ever done for myself. Now, we meet via skype from time to time, just when I need to clear my toughts a bit, and he is willing to do this, which I am happy about. He calls it "mental hygiene".

    I feel much better today and i advice everybody to give it a try, even via skype. We live in a strange times, and we need all the help we can get. 
    Good luck:)

    p.s. I posted this in some other places too...in case you see it.

  • If you feel as though you cannot talk to someone in person about your issues then online therapy is the best way to go. I know a lot of people will open up to a stranger online faster than they would open to their own friends and family. It sounds crazy but its true.
  • @susieq I do that a lot actually. It's much easier for me to open up to people online for some reason. I'm not exactly a social butterfly soooo yeah.
  • To be honest, I'm a bit hesitant to try online therapy because I feel like it might be too impersonal for my liking. I do sometimes use the internet to vent my feelings and if online therapy would be similar to a chat room or an email system, I don't think it'll help me too much. Now, if the online therapy via Skype or FaceTime, I think it could be beneficial. I think it would be harder for me to make excuses as to why I can't go to therapy when it's literally a Skype call away. Again everyone has there preferences, but I think there is some real interesting things to think about when it comes to online therapy.
  • All people are different. Some may not be able to quit unless they go to meetings, and someone else will do just fine in a forum like this. Everyone just has to figure out what's best for them.
  • I agree with you! Is a great option of you don't live near to a specific therapist. I'm in a Facebook group of transgender people, and there's a lot of people who want to start taking hormones, but they need a letter from a gender therapist to be able to start taking them, but gender therapists are not that common here! So, the other day a person posted that she was a qualified gender therapist and that she could give therapy through Skype, and after few sessions she will give you the letter to start the treatment, and I think that's really good! Technology has opened the doors to a lot of people to achieve their goals.
  • Any resources to help somebody get over an addiction can only be a good thing and I think for some people online therapy can be an option.

    For many it will come as a second phase of treatment and after physically going to any meeting and programs, often the next step of the recovery can be self help programs and the online councilling.
  • I think online therapy is a great option! Much like we have a version of online jobs in the internet, we also have a version of online therapy. And why not? It is convenient, easy and does the job. As long as confidentiality and privacy are still maintained, it is a good option for recovering people. It will be a big help to people who doesn't have access to professional therapists or those who are scared to go into a clinic. 
  • Good points at the end of the article, you should always know who you pay to be your therapist. However, I find online therapy to be a lose of money. Mostly because if you do therapy online, you don't know if the other person really treats you, or you along with other 300  people at the same time and just gives you standard responses. When it comes about psychological therapy you have to see the other person eye to eye in order for him to understand you are and unique human being who has to be taken for who he is and not someone who falls into a category learned by the psychologist in university.
  • I think all therapy is a good option. Looking into any sort of therapy for the issue you're having is the first step to progress. I also think it helps to have an open forum to talk and relate with others.
  • I feel like it couldn't be as good as in person therapy. Therapists rely a lot on seeing your body language and your tone of voice. If it was a chat based therapy, those cues would be lost. So, I wouldn't recommend online therapy to people.
  • @sasa As someone who is also reluctant to go to therapy, I agree that online therapy can reduce the barriers. I've been going to therapy for years, but am having a hard time motivating myself to find a new therapist after relocating to a new city. Sometimes I think it's a cruel joke that mental health treatment is so difficult to access. It's the hardest thing in the world to muster up the energy to call and make an appointment when you're depressed, let alone shop around for the perfect fit! I've often thought about trying to find someone online, to reduce the difficulty factor. Thanks for posting your experience. It's definitely making me consider going online to shop for a new mental health clinician.
  • I think it's good in emergency situations, but it's not even close to being in the same room with a therapist and doing the therapy session face to face. That is so much easier and better for me. I've done text therapy in emergencies and it's just not even close to how good regular therapy is for me. Though it could definitely benefit others.
  • It's come to my attention that my little sister is dealing with some bouts of depression. I was a bit upset at first because this is something that she has apparently been dealing with for some time, and I'm just now finding about it. At first, according to my mother, she kept it under wraps because I was away at college and she didn't want to upset or distract me. Then I was dealing with my own issues with recovery and she didn't want to upset or distract me.

    Now that I know, I've been trying to get her to open up a bit and eventually see a therapist, which she has adamantly refused to do. I had no idea there were options for help for people online aside from message boards, which I already know she wouldn't do. So I was wondering if anyone knew of any links to any outreach centers that you she/we can frequent online.
  • I think that the effectiveness of different therapies is interdependent on the person themselves. While online therapy and counseling would work for someone who's younger, it may not for someone who is older or not as efficient with technology. But getting help and support in long distance friends and family members is a good option. I believe that a good hug is a cure all, but online counsiling from friends or a substance abuse website can offer more.
  • @KatekatecupecakeKatekatecupecake On the contrary, I've heard of older people feeling better after a bout of online therapy. But a warm hug from a live person can do so much more. If a person wants to be healed thoroughly, then he or she must also consider other forms of offline therapy where interaction with real people is the norm.
  • This is so great that this topic has come up. I think online therapy actually helped me more. I could do it from the comfort of my home and it meant that I wasn't self-conscious that way. I have found a great online therapist and she is cheap as well, she's there on-call whenever you need her. You can have sessions as long as you want. She is available on whats-app and skype 24/7. A friend recommended her to me so I don't want to post her details on the forum but if anyone wants to get in touch with her just pop me a message. 
  • I had no idea that you can have an online therapist! I think that's amazing, because it's better for people with anxiety (like me), not to mention you have bigger choice of therapists... If one doesn't work for you for some reason, you can look for another. I think it's harder with offline therapists to do that, because you're limited by money and the place you live in. Not to mention that you might get a person who doesn't fit you at all, because the therapist you wanted has too many patients already (this has happened to me).
  • I really like that idea as I myself have no transportation and live out in the middle of nowhere. Does anyone know of any online therapy sites? Thank you for sharing this post!
  • I was hoping that someone is gonna post good ones too... I'm considering getting into it. 

  • Seems like everything is available online in today's world.  There are two things that would concern me about an online therapy session.  Credibility and Security.  I don't know if I would want to start a session with someone I've never met in person. I would at least want to get a feel of the therapists office environment and build some type of trust before communicating online.  We live in a twisted world. Yes, it may be easier to get to and possibly cheaper, but how sincere is this process? 
  • @jande6477 you can try ecounseling.com and betterhelp.com. betterhelp has a week free trial but read the fine print. i have not used either of these, so i can't recommend personally, but they are fairly popular. 
  • This is the first time I think about online therapy to be honest, but it sounds a great idea for those people who don't have the time to go see a therapist every week.  That is my case actually, I haven't been able to see mine in a while for the same reason!  It's frustrating, but sometimes life gets in the way (I've had a lot paperwork and errands to run and at the end of the day I just want to have a day off from everything).  I might consider this. 
  • I think any type of therapy you can get is a good option. Every bit of it will help. Some people feel more comfortable talking to somebody online rather then talk to them in person. They are more at ease behind their computer screen and that is okay. As long as the therapy is helping then I don't think it matters if it is online or in person. Everybody is different in how they deal with things. I think it is a great option to have.
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