Research has found that online therapy can be effective in treating anxiety, depression and trauma. There is no difference in patient satisfaction depending on whether the therapy is online or in person, and for either of the two methods of receiving therapy, the results are better as a person attends more sessions. Online therapy can be an effective and convenient way to access mental health services. But that doesn't mean it's right for everyone.
Whether or not online therapy is right for you depends on your condition and the severity of your symptoms. As you can see, online therapy, like traditional therapy, is imperfect. Is it better or worse than face-to-face therapy? I would say it depends on perception. But it does appear to be effective for a certain subgroup of the population (people who are not suicidal or people who are not in the midst of a major crisis requiring more intensive intervention).
Another literature review of studies on CBT online found that it leads to a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Online CBT was also found to be as effective as face-to-face therapy in treating panic disorder. Online CBT was also significantly effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and specific phobia. Teladoc offers a safe and nationally accredited video therapy platform, with more total therapist options than Amwell, but lacks the ability to hide the view of your own face on screen.
The company promoted affordable online counseling, available anytime, anywhere, and Barlevy thought that joining its panel of therapists could be a great way to supplement his income during slow times in his private practice. Finally, as a consumer, in some cases it can be difficult to know if an online therapy service is credible, reliable or safe to use. BetterHelp states that they verify that their therapists are licensed, but you can also ask your therapist directly for license information or consult it on the State and Provincial Association Psychology Boards. Practitioners should also do their due diligence when it comes to ensuring that their decision to contract with an online therapy company does not violate compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), state licensing laws, and other legal and ethical practices, says Baker.
That recognition ensures that the company follows best practices to keep your information secure and your sessions truly private (such as making video sessions accessible only to you and your therapist, and not recording them). If you are interested in trying online therapy, research your options before choosing an online therapy service. If you don't find a therapist you like through Amwell, Teladoc or MDlive, consider Doctor On Demand. I had an assumption that joining a well-known online therapy platform would immediately amount to making connections with many people who need therapy.
It has almost twice as many therapists as Amwell (although it is a fraction of the selection offered by Teladoc). The drawbacks of online therapy include ambient noise (especially since many therapists and clients are currently attending sessions from home), technological problems, and lack of non-verbal communication. She suggests requesting a brief consultation with a potential therapist before a first session whenever possible. As online therapy is impersonal (often completely anonymous), many people have raised concerns about whether digital communication can provide skills, tools, and healing power to people looking at a screen.
Become an informed consumer of telepsychology services, learn the factors to consider when considering online therapy, and explore additional resources. .