Is Video Therapy Really As Effective As Traditional Counseling?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated March 28, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Counseling is one of the most important mental health services for millions of people globally. People have many different reasons to seek out counseling video sessions, and other online therapy services, including help managing and treating mental health conditions, relationship problems, and substance abuse issues. Being able to get the help of a dedicated professional can make a difference in people’s lives.

For some people, gaining traditional in-person therapy can be hard. Sometimes it is not a cost-effective option for mental health care. Other times, people will simply find that it is not convenient enough for them to be able to commit. In modern times, people have started to make use of video therapy services, offered by mental health professionals that can provide a doctor on demand.

Video therapy is a type of online counseling where patients can talk to a therapist or licensed marriage counselor by using video therapy sessions, instead of going to in-person therapy. Some people refer to this type of counseling as Skype counseling as well, due to the online chat platform Skype’s everyday use in video therapy.

If you are experiencing mental health issues, then you may be wondering whether or not an online therapy platform is something that you should try. It may be beneficial to explore what these licensed providers have to offer therapy seekers and whether your health insurance covers online therapy. 

Video Therapy Works Very Similarly To Traditional, In-Office Therapy Methods

Can Video Therapy Really Help Me?

Several forms of online therapy and mental health apps, including video therapy, have proven to be just as effective as in-person therapy. Those who have experienced both types of therapy note that the process is the same. Patients will be speaking with a therapist about their issues and will be receiving quality advice from the therapist throughout the process. The conversation is similar to if it were happening at a traditional therapy center or office. When it comes to prescribing medications, online therapy platforms often do not offer this service.

In fact, many people wind up feeling more comfortable when talking to a therapist online. It can be easier for people who have certain types of anxiety to feel comfortable when inside their own homes. Being able to reach out for therapy without having to go out in public can be a good thing. One of the goals of the therapy may be to overcome social isolation, but the initial therapy sessions may be easier for the person to handle. These platforms offer various forms of therapy, including marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, anxiety-focused therapists, and others.

Also, video therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy due to the quality of the therapists. Therapists who practice video therapy are fully licensed and know how to help their patients. These professionals are just as dedicated to their craft as those who operate out of brick-and-mortar locations. The only major difference between video therapy and in-person therapy is that one option is more convenient than the other.

Video therapy can help patients with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, substance abuse problems, and much more.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has found that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (online CBT) over video chat has high levels of efficacy and convenience for individuals seeking treatment for mood and anxiety disorders. The study’s authors found that significant reductions in client symptoms of depression were linked to CBT resources, and that participant retention during video therapy was equal to that of traditional therapy.

Video Therapy Is Often The More Convenient Option For Many People

Video therapy is likely a more convenient option for many people. If you are a busy individual, then you may not always have time to make it out to see a therapist in person. This is going to limit the practicality of going to a traditional therapist’s office. Therapists are generally going to have certain hours where they will be open, and you will need to work within those limits. This may not be the best solution for those who have little time to spare.

If you want to turn to online video therapy instead, then you will be in charge of the schedule. It will be far easier for you to have therapy sessions when you are free. This will allow you to work through your issues without it becoming an inconvenience in any way. Depending on therapist availability, you can reach out to most online therapists at any time.

Video therapy is convenient in other ways. You will save yourself out-of-pocket costs, such as driving yourself to see the therapist. It is also simply more discreet to receive online video therapy. Many people prefer to keep their struggles to themselves and would not like to advertise that they are seeking therapy. No one will see you driving to a therapist’s office or going into the building when you use video therapy.

Therapy is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to maintain your safety. Your decision to seek treatment should be between you and anyone else that you choose to tell. Being able to get the treatment with your own therapist through a video call – without having to leave your house – just helps to keep things safe while also being as convenient as possible.

Online Therapy Is Often More Cost-Effective Than Other Options

Online therapy is often more cost-effective than traditional therapy methods as well. Many therapists will charge quite a bit of money for each therapy session. If you want to be able to receive therapy without having to break the bank, then live video therapy is a good way to go. It is an option that is just as effective while also being significantly more affordable.

Online therapists can charge you less money for their services because they do not have the same overhead costs that a traditional therapy office does. Not having to worry about renting a commercial space allows the therapists to pass the savings down to the patient. You can get the help and unlimited messaging that you need without having to put yourself in a tight financial position. Your insurance company may also cover the costs of therapy if your provider tells you they accept insurance.

Even if your insurance plans do not cover talk therapy for behavioral health online, you can find licensed professionals for sometimes up to hundreds of dollars less than in-person therapy services may charge. Even with this out-of-pocket cost, you’re guaranteed to quality therapists with expertise in a variety of mental health conditions.


When you or someone that you love has a mental disorder or any other type of condition that requires therapy, it will be good to consider online options. It will give you many different therapy options to choose from, and you can enjoy the various conveniences that the platform offers. The best online therapy options may provide individuals in need of mental health care the treatment they need.

Online therapy platforms do not offer emergency services. However, you can find many common types of therapy, such as a medication management service to prescribe medication, couples therapy, or your own therapist for individual needs. You can sometimes even bundle services, which is something that in-person therapy doesn’t offer.

Can Video Therapy Really Help Me?

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