Benefits Of Online Therapy

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated March 2, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

In general, therapy comes with many benefits, but online therapy specifically can bring with it various advantages. For instance, online therapy is often more accessible and affordable than traditional in-office therapy. It is often easier to begin online therapy than to find a local therapist, schedule an appointment, and make the commute to their office to receive treatment. In addition, those living with anxiety may find it less intimidating to speak to a mental health professional from the comfort of their own homes. Online therapy can treat a wide range of mental health disorders and address other challenges and concerns as well.

Interested In Trying Online Therapy?

The Challenge Of Reaching Out For Help

In psychotherapy, the therapeutic process is often focused on making it easier for you to approach, reflect, and recognize challenging life issues with an open mind. However, the process of choosing a therapist, making appointments, and attending sessions can be challenging for many people. Here are some obstacles that you may need to face before and during your therapy sessions.

Fears About Starting Therapy

For some, the prospect of seeking professional help may bring up unacknowledged fears of stigmas or potential judgment. However, many of these fears can be unwarranted. Some people may fear that there is something wrong with them, that they will be judged, or that they cannot be helped. This is generally not the case, and although you may feel nervous about taking this step, there may be no need for fear of judgment, as therapists are typically trained to provide objective, supportive guidance.

In-Person Therapy Can Feel Daunting

Many people with anxiety, social phobias, severe depressive symptoms, and a history of trauma can find it difficult to attend in-office therapy appointments. They may fear being judged, rejected, or further traumatized during in-office therapy sessions.

Seeking out mental health treatment in person may feel like a daunting process. This may be due to the many steps involved, such as potentially meeting with several therapists, choosing one, getting ready, driving to an in-office therapy session, filling out paperwork, attending a session, and then driving back home.

The Potential For Additional Stress

For many people, the thought of attending in-person treatment can add additional stress and anxiety to their already compromised emotional state. 

For people managing the symptoms of mental health disorders, this entire process may take several hours and may be well beyond what that person feels capable of. 

Online therapy via video chat can be a great alternative to in-person therapy as it usually cuts out the commute time, allows the client to have sessions within the comfort of their own home, and enables clients to choose their preferred method of online communication. The next section will touch on these advantages.

What Online Therapy Can Do For You

Many people wonder if an online therapy platform can be as effective and safe as in-person therapy. In fact, a study from 2014 in ScienceDirect found that online therapy was generally as effective as in-person therapy. Online therapy services can be a convenient and effective alternative to in-person therapy. 

Participating in online therapy sessions can help you learn healthy coping mechanisms and make positive changes in your life. A licensed online therapist may address several types of mental health concerns, including:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness

  • Unhealthy relationships

  • Health issues

  • Decisions surrounding your career

  • Various mental health disorders

While in-person therapy typically offers you the opportunity to visit a licensed professional in their office, there can be several benefits of online therapy as well.

The Privacy Of Your Own Home

Online therapy sites are generally online platforms that empower clients to receive quality treatment from a licensed therapist in their own homes. Sessions with online therapists can be comparable to in-office therapy sessions.

Increased Availability Of Care

Online therapists are usually licensed to provide therapy services online for mental health concerns that may be preventing the client from thriving. Online clients are sometimes individuals who live in rural areas or areas with a high volume of traffic. For some online clients, this can cut out an hour or more of commute time, potentially making mental health services more accessible.

Health Insurance

In many cases, health insurance providers may cover sessions with online therapists via behavioral health service plans. In other cases, online therapy platforms may not take insurance, but may offer financial aid to some clients. 

Simple Process To Begin Care

The process of seeking online therapy is often simple and straightforward. You’ll typically complete a questionnaire where you may be prompted to answer questions about your current mental and emotional state, health challenges, social and/or relationship issues, and your reason for seeking therapy. This information may then be used to match you with a therapist that specializes in treating your specific concerns.

Therapist Reviews

Popular online therapy sites typically provide user testimonials and therapist biographies. This can help you choose the therapist that you feel will provide you with the type of help you're looking for and begin to establish a therapeutic relationship. If you are matched with a therapist that you feel is not a good fit for you, many platforms will allow you to switch to a different mental health professional until you find one you’re comfortable with.

Steps To Take After Finding A Therapist

Once you are matched with a licensed online therapist, you can expect to receive treatment that is similar to in-person therapy, including the use of in-office therapy methods, techniques, and strategies.

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Therapy

Online therapists are generally aware that some clients may be seeking short-term services, while others may prefer longer-term services to delve deeper and work on personal and professional self-development. When you have selected your desired online therapist, it can be important to understand that online therapists are typically licensed to provide the same services as you would receive during in-office therapy sessions.

Rights You Have As An Online Client

As an online client, it can be important to be aware of your rights. You may terminate therapy at any time or ask to work with another therapist if you’d like. However, if you feel your therapist may not be a good match for you, termination can be an openly discussed joint decision.

Benefits Of Online Therapy

In some cases, online therapists have found that clients can open up and experience relief of symptoms more quickly than in an office setting. This may be due to the client being present within the safety of their home and the physical distance from the therapist. 

For many clients, there can be an unconscious desire to be liked by the therapist or please the therapist, which can lead to self-censorship, the omission of important information, or avoiding talking about important issues.

However, during sessions with online therapists, many clients feel a greater sense of freedom to talk about what is most important to them. Some people fear being judged, especially when they reveal sensitive information or vulnerabilities about themselves. Online therapy often enables these clients to break through common barriers that can prevent honest discussion.

Another potential benefit is affordability. Online therapy is often more affordable when compared to in-person therapy in cases where health insurance does not cover therapy costs. Out-of-pocket sessions for in-office therapy can cost you upwards of $150 per hour. Meanwhile, online therapy sessions generally average about $60 per hour.

Online therapy can also allow you the freedom to schedule appointments at a time that is convenient for you and fits into your schedule. In addition, studies have shown it can be as effective as in-office mental health treatment. 


In addition to the many benefits of attending traditional therapy, online therapy often has other advantages that can prove helpful to those who wish to improve their mental health. Getting help online often costs less than it does in person, and it can be more accessible for those who do not have local therapy options and those with transportation challenges. Often, the process of connecting with a therapist, scheduling a session, and attending it is quicker and simpler online than in person. Plus, many who are anxious or hesitant to reach out may find it easier to attend sessions from their own homes. Research has shown that online therapy can be as effective as traditional therapy in treating various mental health disorders and challenges, so don’t hesitate to get the help you deserve.

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