The Benefits Of Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Updated January 24, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT), also known as online therapy, has become one of the most popular and effective interventions for mental health disorders. There are several reasons that explain this growth in popularity, including the inclusiveness, cost-effectiveness, and convenience of virtual therapy as compared to in-person therapy. Furthermore, several research studies report online therapy to be just as effective as in-person therapy in improving the overall functioning of patients while reducing severity of symptoms. Additionally, people who use online therapy report high satisfaction and, in many cases, improved mental health greater than what has been reported with in-person therapy. Read on to discover more about the benefits of online cognitive behavioral therapy and how to choose the ideal therapist that specializes in CBT. 

Wondering If Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Will Help?

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on theories of learning and cognition to help people recognize behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to challenges in their mental health. It is one of the most effective methods of therapy that treats wide range of mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Mood disorders, including depressive disorder

  • Psychiatric disorders

  • Substance abuse

  • Eating disorders

  • Relationship challenges

  • Severe mental illness

CBT is also one of the most extensively researched forms of therapy due to its unique reputation in being able to produce positive changes in clients, especially those with anxiety or depressive disorders. Although it differs from other types of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, like all forms of psychotherapy, results from intensive research and clinical practice by licensed psychologists who publish their findings. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to help people identify and modify maladaptive lines of thinking and negative behaviors through positive behavioral changes and restructuring thought patterns. Thus, a professional therapist trained in CBT helps their clients change their thinking and behavior patterns for the better.

Benefits Of Virtual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

While traditional in-person CBT is also effective in treating mental health disorders, online CBT therapy is a highly beneficial form of treatment. Traditionally, clients receive therapy in-person at their therapist’s office, but this form of delivery can be cost-inefficient and tends to exclude people who belong to a low socio-economic status along with those who live in rural locations. Moreover, many people who are living with a mental illness find it difficult to make appointments and have increased anxiety due to having to leave the comfort of their own home to a new and unfamiliar spaces. Other benefits of virtual cognitive behavioral therapy include: 

  • Improved relationship counseling 

  • Quickly established therapist-client neutrality 

  • Freedom of scheduling

Relationship Counseling With Online CBT Therapist

As shown by the wide range of psychological issues CBT treats, therapist who specialize in this type of therapy can help their clients in several areas, including family and relationship counseling. For example, licensed relationship counselors may meet with each party in the relationship and simultaneously with both partners as a form of couples therapy treatment. Online cognitive therapy CBT can be particularly effective for couples counseling because of the ease of scheduling. The parties involved can spend less time traveling to and from appointments and more time working on their treatment and changing their behaviors.

Finding Neutral Ground In Online Therapy

Finding a neutral ground where the patient feels they will not be judged or lectured about negative behaviors and actions is critical. It is vital they feel comfortable to express themselves freely and openly. This comfort levels allows a therapist’s client to reach deep within to discover these negative thinking patterns and behaviors. Without this neutrality in sessions, a person may not be able to move forward in treatment. Neutrality allows the therapist to get the best possible idea of what the patient is experiencing and what the patient needs most regarding treatment. 

With virtual therapy, both parties may be able to reach this neutral ground quicker due to the screen's defensive barrier and the client's ability to relax in the comfort of their own home. Participating in online therapy service counseling with a CBT therapist removes the sometimes-stressful components of attending in-office counseling sessions. Furthermore, with virtual therapy, the therapist may find it easier to maintain the observing stance of neutrality when faced with their clients internal conflicts due to the simple fact that they are watching them through a screen. 

Online Therapy Provides Scheduling Freedom

Professional therapists can provide high-quality cognitive behavioral therapy almost anywhere, anytime. Customizable hours for mental health services can also help doctors ensure they are prepared for whatever their patients might need.

Even switching therapists become a seamless process because the therapists can hand notes to another therapist anywhere in the world between scheduled visits.

Finding A Qualified CBT Counselor 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy needs differ from patient to patient and situation to situation. As a result, it is essential to be matched with therapists who will understand your situation and meet your needs. A therapist who specializes in depression, for example, may not do as well with patients living with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Consider choosing an online therapist who works in the field related to your specific diagnosis or complaint. Relationship issues also require specialization. When you select an online therapist for partner counseling, hire a person you can relate to.

Once you find a therapist that fits your needs for mental health symptoms and unique personality, be sure to check that they are qualified with appropriate certification and/or licensure. 

Education And Experience

For cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions with online therapists to be truly useful, the therapist must come from an educational background. Licensed and accredited therapists typically have master’s or doctorate degrees and specialize in a specific field. The specialized training that virtual therapists receive prepares them to practice internet psychotherapy and develop a therapeutic relationship with clients. 

Certification

The therapist’s education is only part of the rigid screening process necessary to provide internet-based care.

Certification and licensing require experience, including cognitive-behavioral therapy. Sometimes the experience includes up to three years and thousands of in-person training hours with another doctor. Look for an online therapist who has worked in their field for an extended period and has worked with many patients before.

Identifying Therapist Licensure

A good rule of thumb is to search for online therapists licensed to practice cognitive therapy or CBT counseling services online. Currently, therapists are often licensed to provide treatment for individuals, couples, veterans, and more. Certification and licensure will help demonstrate that your therapist has the appropriate training and experience to help you develop strategies to improve your mental health.

Identifying Your Own Needs First

Your comfort is the number one concern when you start your search for a therapist you can trust. Trust is incredibly important in a therapeutic relationship, especially when considering you are entrusting them with your innermost concerns and personal history.

After all, when seeking mental health services, you want someone you can feel completely comfortable. If the newly licensed therapist fits those qualifications, do not let that sway you from choosing them. This matters most when you find the right therapist you can trust and know can serve you on your journey to a healthier life.  

For example, your best friend may recommend their therapist and tell you that they are the perfect fit for you. Remember that even though your friend loves their counselor, it does not mean you will “click” with that same therapist. A personal relationship between client and therapist is critical to your success. You should seek out someone with whom you enjoy. This person should put you at ease during your cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Online Counseling Is Not For Emergency Situations

In some cases, a life-threatening situation may be present.

Sessions with online therapists are designed similarly as in-office counseling visits. Both therapy delivery forms support mental illness and behavioral health-related issues, such as anxiety disorders and substance abuse. However, suppose you, a friend, or a family are in immediate physical danger. In that case, it is important you recognize this as a true emergency and seek the help you need immediately. You do not need health insurance plans to visit the emergency room or speak with a specialist by phone 24 hours a day.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, threatening suicide, or are in a life-threatening situation, call 911, or get professional help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.

Consider Working With BetterHelp

If you are concerned that your mental health is affecting the quality of your life and interrupting your ability to accomplish daily tasks, reach out for professional support as soon as possible. Whether in-person or online, it is important you get the help you need to help you understand the cause of your mental health issues and start on the road to healing and recovery. As you have learned from this article, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most sought after and effective forms of treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. These include anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive disorder, and substance abuse disorder.

You may have outstanding obligations or are unable to easily find an in-person therapist. In these cases, consider online cognitive behavioral therapy. Research shows that online therapy just as beneficial, more convenient, and accessible when compared to in-person therapy. For example, an extensive review published in Cureus explored the efficacy of online cognitive behavioral therapy. Their results found it to be just as effective, and sometimes more so, as in-person therapy for treating a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Wondering If Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Will Help?

Takeaway

Remember that cognitive-behavioral therapy is an ongoing process that takes time; it is not a quick-fix solution for immediate help. Effective online therapy is not merely a well-written correspondence course or a “life coach” session. Instead, you will meet with a therapist of your choosing, one with whom you entrust your innermost thoughts and concerns and who will help understand a mental health disorder or help you develop life strategies. No matter if you choose in-person or online therapy, what is important is you receiving the help you need to improve your mental health and general well-being. 

If you opt for online, BetterHelp is available for your remote therapy sessions. You have to opportunity to receive a face-to-face therapy session via camera or rely on phone calls for your follow-up sessions. The professional, licensed therapists at BetterHelp can provide ongoing daily cognitive behavioral therapy support via email, chat rooms, audio messaging, or video calls, so you can select the best format for you.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

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