The Benefits Of Online And Virtual Therapist Chats

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Are you interested in therapy but not interested in going into a therapist’s office?  If so, you’re not alone. Now, professional advice you would discuss with a counselor can be obtained through an online therapy chat service. With some services, you can talk to a counselor or licensed mental health professional from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you have an internet connection.

Explore the aAdvantages of online counseling services

Advantages of online counseling services and free therapy

A large number of qualified therapists are now choosing to work with an online mental health chat platform instead of confining themselves to their offices, which are expensive to maintain and limit the therapist to a certain pool of clients who can visit them in real life and not just virtually. Some therapists do both traditional counseling in the office as well as virtual chat sessions. In most cases, virtual counseling increases availability for people who might not otherwise be able to reach out to a therapist. It also offers more flexibility and, although it may not be possible to find a free therapist, online therapy can significantly lower the end cost for some patients without insurance. 

Multiple mental health professionals on one platform

Rather than trying to advertise their services independently, promoting individual websites, setting up safe payment channels, building a chat room, and handling other expensive services needed to offer internet therapy, many therapists choose to work through trustworthy websites that handle all of that. Reputable websites also tend to verify that all mental health professionals registered with them are properly licensed and qualified. They also usually help clients find the most suitable available counselor that best fits their needs. For example, if a patient is experiencing panic attacks, they can be matched with someone who has experience helping people with anxiety.


Other advantages of remote therapy include the fact that you can find qualified therapists specializing in whatever specific mental health concerns you are experiencing, and you don't have to do all the leg work yourself. It can be time-consuming for a person to search for therapists, make calls, and then wait to see if the therapist is a good fit for their specific issues. Instead, when you visit an online therapy service, all you have to do is sign up and join the platform, fill out a questionnaire, identify the best times of the week for your sessions, and then wait to be matched with one of the thousands of available counselors.

The ability to change providers at any time

With some online counseling services, such as BetterHelp, you can change therapists if you find in your therapy sessions that you and your therapist are not a good fit. However, it can take time to build a rapport with your online counselor, just as it would in a traditional, in-person setting. Every counselor will likely need some time to listen to your concerns and find a treatment plan that works for you. If you find that your needs are not being met, you can let your therapist know what your expectations are.  If you still don’t think it’s a good match, BetterHelp’s terms of service allow you to switch therapists until you connect with a good fit.

What can online therapy services help you with?

Some people worry that the remote nature of online therapy may make it less effective than traditional therapy. However, research shows that online therapy is just as effective as in-person talk therapy, and it tends to be more convenient.

There are a lot of benefits of online counseling and online therapy chat rooms; most mental health issues treated in traditional face-to-face therapy can also be treated in remote therapy with a licensed therapist or counselor. These concerns include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Chronic stress
  • Personality disorders
  • General emotional support
  • Relationship conflicts
Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Explore the aAdvantages of online counseling services

Forms of free online mental health chat and counseling

There are multiple methods of receiving virtual mental health support if you feel you need to talk to someone about the challenges you're facing. These services tend to have either licensed therapists, licensed counselors, or volunteers trained to provide support and active listening. Here are three types of internet support services that you can visit for help and support.

  • Virtual therapy platforms: Online therapy platforms have become popular in recent years due to their effectiveness and convenience. Remote therapy works just like in-person therapy except that you chat with your licensed therapists through video live sessions or text/online chat rooms. You can find a good therapist, with a license, for almost any mental health challenge you are experiencing, from chronic anxiety or personality disorders to depression. Virtual therapists need the same certifications as in-person therapists to provide therapy, so you can expect to work with an expert, not a trained volunteer or someone without accreditation. You can also find relationship counseling and family therapy services through an online therapy platform.

  • Virtual peer support groups: If you are looking for free support, you might consider joining an online peer support group. Virtual peer support groups are free chat rooms that can help you communicate with people in both your local community and the global community who have similar mental health needs. You can find specific groups for people experiencing anxiety, stress, depression, or other conditions. This type of free online therapy can be offered through live video sessions or chat rooms where people message each other for support and encouragement. One example is 7 Cups, which utilizes the services of trained volunteer listeners to offer free emotional support but does not employ experienced licensed therapists. Still, it can be a helpful site to check out if you’re going through a rough patch and are looking for a safe space to talk. While this service is completely free therapy and offers emotional support, peer support does not offer the same level of online counseling as sessions with an experienced licensed therapist.

  • Mental health hotlines: In situations that only require one session for help and support, some people seek the immediate help of a mental health hotline. With these convenient services, you can call the number and be connected with one of the thousands of trained volunteer listeners available to offer emotional support on a variety of mental health topics. These volunteer active listeners take the time to listen to the concerns of their callers and then provide them with tips and resources that can help them further. Although these hotlines have been traditionally available through live phone calls, many now also offer their services discreetly through chat rooms. These can be good options for people experiencing a mental health crisis, as the volunteer listeners can help in the moment and provide some advice for the next steps. However, most of these hotlines are focused on crisis support and helping people in serious or life-threatening situations, such as those who are feeling suicidal.


Not everyone feels comfortable participating in in-person therapy. No matter what you’re experiencing, there are many therapy options and licensed professionals available to help you online. While many websites that say they provide online counseling chats seem to offer advice more akin to psychic readings, this is not the case with BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online mental health platform with thousands of verified and vetted mental health professionals ready to help you with a variety of mental health concerns. All new users need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer to participate in mental health care. Take the first step and contact BetterHelp to learn more about paid sessions.
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