Online Therapy: Details And Benefits

Updated March 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

What To Know About Online Psychological Care

As virtual therapy and counseling are becoming more popular, you may wonder: is online therapy effective, and are these therapists, real people? This article will outline what you can expect from online therapy and answer common questions. It'll also help you weigh the pros and cons of online therapy.

Below we discuss what you can expect from online therapy visits and psychological services and address some common concerns regarding these services and treatment.

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Is online therapy a legitimate option? The short answer to this question is: yes. Virtual psychologists are real humans who went to graduate school. Therapeutic professionals that you find virtually are often the same professionals that you may encounter offline. Virtual mental health professionals and psychologists have the same credentials as offline practitioners. 

Mental health professionals that have traditionally practiced offline are also beginning to take their practices virtually. Options include live chatover the phone therapy, and video sessions or video therapy for their appointments.

Perhaps you’re living with a mental illness like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression, and you need to see a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. It may help to talk to a real person and feel their empathy. Some online psychiatrists can even prescribe medication to support your journey.

Keep in mind that if you want medication as a treatment option, you can only get it prescribed by a psychiatrist, as they are the only mental health professionals that are also medical doctors.

In rare situations, CAM therapies may be administered as an alternative medicine for individuals suffering from mental illnesses. The effectiveness may not be the same as a session with a health professional, but it may play a useful role in providing clients with assistance, especially if they have been diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety. It can be used to alleviate their symptoms.

Online Therapy And Its Benefits

If you’re new to the idea of online therapy, you may be surprised to learn about how many types of therapy are available through Better Help. Below you’ll find a list of therapies that can be done online: 

  • Couples therapy and marriage counseling

  • Cognitive therapy

  • Play therapy

  • Sex therapy

  • Family therapy

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy

According to a study by The National Institutes of Health (NIH), patients noted a significant benefit from online therapy. Some of the more apparent benefits of online therapy come from improving equality in mental health services and high levels of satisfaction and empowerment of patients.

Online therapists can typically provide the same treatment that traditional face-to-face therapists can. People have been able to improve symptoms related to behavioral health challenges through online counseling.

In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, patients noted a significant improvement in their symptoms from disorders relating to anxiety and depression after using an online therapy program. 

The pricing model, lower price per session, and subscription services that BetterHelp offers can make therapy more affordable and accessible. Online therapy allows us to fight mental health stigma by being an option for people who may be hesitant to seek help in person.

Many people all over world have chosen to get help online with BetterHelp because of convenience and affordability of services. While these are great reasons to seek online therapy, it’s important to choose a company that employees credible mental health professionals

While it may be difficult to confirm a therapist’s mental health credentials online but working with a company such as BetterHelp, you can rest assured that all professionals undergo extensive verification.

Finding A Qualified And Licensed Therapist Online

There are a few red flags to be aware of when looking for a therapist online. A poorly written or designed website may indicate a fraudulent company. Additionally, a website that only accepts a non-secured, untraceable payment method or doesn’t list contact information may also be indicators of scam.

It’s important to make clear that not all online therapy services are a scam. One aspect that makes legitimate sites stand out is a clear and comprehensive privacy policy, which will be of particular importance to anyone looking for anonymous online therapy

Major insurance providers, like Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and other major insurance carriers, can point you toward a reputable online provider.

What to Expect from Online Therapy

Online therapy is very similar to in-person therapy in many ways. When you visit a therapist at their office, you tend to spend time discussing events that go on in your daily life and you are free to discuss any problems or challenges you’re having. This also occurs during an online session with a therapist.

You can speak openly with your therapist about a wide range of topics, from relationship issues to career challenges, weight loss concerns, etc. Your therapist is there to guide you through life transitions and help you examine your thoughts and behaviors, and learn how to improve your mental health.

A reputable online therapist will use sound psychological methods and positive psychology practices like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy, solution-focused therapy, and many other therapy modalities.

Therapists are committed to keeping your information private. Sessions between you and your therapist are always private. Although you may remain inomminate, during your therapy sessions, it’s important to note that you will need to provide general information. You’ll need to provide your email address for communication with your therapist regarding your health treatment plan.

Some insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield pay for (or reimburse) online therapy sessions under your behavioral health plan. If you want to use your health plan to cover the cost of your sessions, you’ll need to provide your health plan information. 

Contact your health plan provider to find out if your health plan has behavioral health benefits like those offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield. You can confidently know what you reveal in therapy sessions will never be divulged to others in any way.

Therapist Qualifications

Online therapists and psychologists who work through reputable online therapy sites have qualifications you would expect from a traditional therapist. They should list their certifications and experience on their profile, which you can view before you choose your counselor. You can choose your therapist based on the type of therapy they provide. 

For example, if you think you’d like to learn more about cognitive-behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy — choose a licensed therapist that specializes in these fields. Psychologists practice a wide variety of modalities that include forensic psychology, rational emotive behavior, support for women’s issues, and even assistance for everyday common issues. 

These therapists hold themselves to the same strict standards as therapists do for in-person counseling. Most online therapists also have a local practice where they see patients in their offices. That the therapy takes place online does not diminish the therapist’s ability to understand your issues and help you move through them successfully.

What Are Therapy Sessions Like?

During the first session, you get to know your therapist. They will probably ask you questions about yourself and your current situation to get a better idea of how they can help you. 

As you work through multiple sessions, you will have time to explore your feelings about the situation, identify your healthy and unhealthy behaviors relating to it, and decide how you want to respond.

The therapist typically asks you questions to guide you to deeper insights into your life experiences. They may teach you techniques for recognizing and responding to your emotions, and help you understand how to choose behaviors that will benefit you throughout your daily life. 

Sessions often end with an assignment, which might be a behavior to notice in yourself (or others) and techniques to try in everyday situations.

Additional Key Features Of Online Therapy 

Text Therapy: An additional benefit you receive by utilizing online therapy is text therapy. You can send messages to your therapist using mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, or any device with messaging capabilities. 

Texting a therapist on your mobile phone allows you to communicate with them from anywhere. This feature is extremely helpful in a scenario if you lack a safe space.

Many of us have a mobile phone in our hands most of the day. Why not use it for therapy?

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Video Chat: Online psychotherapy works, but many prefer face-to-face therapy and can have a form of this using video chat or conference calling. This type of communication still allows for a level of privacy and comfort, by being in your own space, but allows for face-to-face emotional feedback.

Changing Therapists

Once you’ve found a licensed therapist, whether at your local mental health clinic or online, you have just begun the process of improving your mental health. Seeking out a therapist from their qualifications or experience can be a good starting point, however, you can’t always know if you and the therapist will be the right match for one another.

Finding the right therapist can be a lot like dating. One size does not fit all.

After therapy begins, you might decide that you would like to try another counselor. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you feel strongly that your personalities don’t mesh well or their availability doesn't match yours, you can always look for another counselor. 

If you’re looking locally and in-person, this could be a long process and is much simpler online.

Through the BetterHelp platform, you can see which therapists and psychologists are taking new patients. You can learn about them from their profile and set up an appointment relatively quickly.

BetterHelp Wants To Support You

The online therapists and psychologists at BetterHelp want to support you in getting the best possible care for your mental health. They are real people who have studied psychology and human behavior. 

Therapy platforms like BetterHelp provide you with a 24-hour mental health net. For example, your therapist will give you a private chat room where you can go to leave messages for your therapist at any time. This service is especially helpful when you want to describe your thoughts and feelings in the moment. 

Your mental health net includes always-on chat with your therapist. Couples who get therapy together can talk directly to the therapist about their relationship issues. The counselor can check the chat room periodically and can leave brief replies or other messages. Your counselor will directly address your concerns with relationship issues, family issues, and personal issues via your secure chat room. 

If you’re unsure of whether online therapy is going to work for you, it’s okay to test it out and talk to your counselor about this and get their perspective and decide the pros and cons of online therapy.


Online therapy is an affordable and accessible option to improve your mental health. There are many similarities between online and in-person therapy such as treatment modalities and mental health disorders that can be treated.

Some insurance companies have caught on to the effectiveness of online therapy and will cover all or a portion of the treatment. 

Speak to a BetterHelp therapist today about any challenges you may be facing and strive towards a healthier future. Below you will find reviews from real BetterHelp clients regarding their experience with therapists at BetterHelp.

Therapist Reviews

Leah Mullins


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“I was skeptical about this type of counseling but Leah made me feel confident from the beginning with her straightforward profile, thoughtful questions, and rapid responses. I feel that she truly sympathizes with my situation but also holds me accountable for finding solutions.”

Juan Carlos Navarro


“Carlos was a blessing during the several months of therapy. I am beyond grateful that he was kind and understanding. We followed a structured plan to help me cope with my complex PTSD and anxiety. I now have new strategies that I can use every day. I would highly recommend Carlos to any person who wants a reliable and kind therapist.”

Final Thoughts

Online therapy is for real. If your family and friends deny its effectiveness, level with them and show them the evidence. Online therapy offers many types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been proven to work, and there are different methods that you can take advantage of, such as live chat, unlimited messaging, and video sessions. Besides the types of therapy, another feature is they are licensed. They are qualified by the Mental Health Association in the United States and may serve community mental health needs. They are published in the Journal of Psychiatry, and other reputable journals. They are just as real as any other therapist and their services are just as effective as in-person ones. They pay attention to you and your needs, lending a helping hand when you need it. So tell your family and friends and your other family that there is no shame in seeking online therapy and finding emotional support today.

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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