Situations Where Online Counseling May Benefit You

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are a wide variety of reasons to seek counseling including improving communication in your marriage, making positive changes to your social life, and managing mental health disorders.

You may benefit from working with a therapist if you're struggling with managing stress, anxiety, interpersonal conflict, relationship concerns, emotional concerns, or major life challenges. However, you might consider online treatment modalities if you feel intimated or unsure about visiting a provider in person. Many platforms offer online therapy, and many providers may accept telehealth appointments for managing life situations that need counseling. Having knowledge of the situations where online counseling could benefit you taking an inventory of your personal history and needs may help you make an informed decision on your care plan.

Concerned about seeing an in-person counselor?

Situations where online therapy may benefit you 

Below are a few common situations where individuals may reach out for online therapy or counseling services instead of traditional in-person options. 

You have a busy schedule

Driving to see a therapist in person may seem counterproductive if you are a college student, at university, a parent juggling multiple children and their events, or if you simply have a busy schedule. For many hardworking individuals, taking time off to see a therapist can be stressful and time-consuming. 

By choosing to receive online services instead, you may talk to your therapist during your downtime when it is convenient for you, potentially taking the stress out of therapy. Online counseling services could also allow you to message your therapist any time, often receiving a response within 24 hours. Some therapists may have openings in the early morning, late at night, or on the weekends for those who can't make a 9 am to 5 pm schedule work.   

You travel frequently

One of the difficulties of in-person therapy is carving out time for regular sessions. For individuals who frequently travel for work or pleasure and may be on the road for days or weeks, a more traditional therapy structure may not be a suitable fit. This is also the case for students who may live at university during the school year and at home during the summer. Since online counseling is not dependent on physical meetings, therapy can travel with you, taking place wherever you have a smart device and a solid internet connection. 

Additionally, the flexible nature of online counseling may help individuals with variable schedules stick to the therapy process without committing to a rigid schedule. This option can benefit digital nomads or travel workers if your health insurance plan does not carry over state lines. You can also attend therapy on some platforms if you're in another country. 


You feel stressed or intimidated by in-person therapy 

Many people may believe they would benefit from therapy but don't like the idea of talking to someone in person about their concerns. In these cases, past adverse experiences, either personal, or of friends and family or specific mental health symptoms may be a cause. For example, many individuals experiencing social anxiety or depression might struggle to leave home or commute to an office, which makes it more challenging to seek in-person services. You may feel more comfortable with online counseling if this sounds familiar. 

Online therapy can take away some of the intimidation factors. For example, some online platforms offer live chat therapy sessions where clients can type their responses and questions without talking over the phone or via video chat. If you struggle with phone calls or video chat, you might feel more comfortable opening up with someone who cannot see or hear you. Additionally, you may be able to message your therapist throughout the week and receive responses, often within 24 hours. 

The various communication modalities available in an online counseling platform can allow individuals to begin with the form of communication with which they are most comfortable, and progress to a more direct form of communication when they feel ready. Since online therapy is not necessarily reliant on direct contact, those worried about the process can ease into it with time. 

You benefit from regular check-ins and immediate support

Online counseling can benefit individuals with more frequent check-ins with a mental health professional. In traditional therapy settings, individuals might have to wait until their next session to explore, discuss, practice or process feelings and experiences with their therapist. However, with online therapy, an individual may message their therapist to vent or express their stress, thoughts, and feelings. The therapist can respond when they are able, offering support throughout the week. 

It is important to note that online and telemental health is not meant to be used in an emergency or crisis as these situations call for more immediate care.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. Support is available 24/7.

Online counseling can also be a valuable alternative for engaging in mental health services if you can't meet a therapist in person because you reside in a remote or rural area. Instead of driving long distances to see a counselor, you can schedule online sessions that are convenient for you without the need to commute or spend travel money.  

You like being at home  

Studies have found that most people prefer to be or feel more comfortable at home. Some individuals may also stay at home due to accessibility concerns, mental health conditions, or disabilities. Online counseling can be done from your home, as long as you have an internet connection, making it a comfortable option for many people who prefer to stay at home. 

You're on a budget 

Therapy can be expensive if you don't have insurance or experience financial insecurity for any reason. Forbes found that the average cost of in-person therapy in the US is $100 to $200 a session. The cost of therapy may sometimes hold people back from seeking the help they want. 

While there are still fees associated with counseling online, they can be much lower than what you might pay for in-person counseling services. Online therapy platforms may not accept insurance coverage. 

You want variety 

While ease of accessibility and convenience can be among the top reasons people may prefer online counseling, the ability to browse and select a professional that best fits your needs can be another benefit. Online counseling services often offer the option to browse potential therapists and find the proper fit. Additionally, reviews from current and previous clients could aid in your decision when selecting a therapist.

Concerned about seeing an in-person counselor?

The efficacy of online therapy

Several studies have been conducted to determine if online therapy is as effective as in-person counseling. Online therapy has been effective in treating various mental health conditions. Research has also shown that patients are as likely to stick to participating in online therapy as they are to in-person therapy. If you're interested in trying this form of therapy, consider reaching out on a platform like BetterHelp to connect with one of the 30,000 counselors offering various therapy modalities and specialties. 


Online counseling services may feel intimidating for some. However, these services can be a convenient, accessible, and effective option for those who face barriers to treatment from in-person providers. Consider reaching out to an online platform or provider to learn more about their services and how they can support you and help you to be your best self. 

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