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. While online therapy is a much newer form of therapy, current evidence suggests that for many people it can be as effective as face-to-face therapy. Talking from the safety of your own home can even make it easier for you to open up about your problems. Online therapy also allows you to communicate with a qualified specialist from anywhere in the world, avoiding the expenses, travel time and the inconvenience of having to meet in person.
Therapists can offer virtual options directly through their personal practice. Online platforms also provide opportunities for people to connect with therapists within their networks. Virtual therapy seems as effective as face-to-face therapy in addressing mental health needs. 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. However, another review of 19 studies found that online CBT was superior to placebo and was on the waiting list, and as effective as face-to-face therapy for the treatment of anxiety. The duration of the online CBT sessions was between 8 and 15 weeks, which was considered a short period of time in therapy.
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. Confidentiality is as important in online therapy as it is in more traditional forms of treatment administration. Seeing an online therapist from the comfort and safety of your home can often help you open up, be more vulnerable, and better cope with difficult emotions that may arise during a therapy session. Like in-person therapy, online therapy is a counseling session with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist.
Online therapy is the provision of professional mental health counseling over the Internet, usually through live video chat, messaging app, email or by phone. The online therapy platforms on this list follow federal guidelines under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for encrypting information and maintaining the privacy of health data. People who are unable to leave home for various reasons, such as physical or mental illness, may find online therapy as a useful alternative to traditional face-to-face psychotherapy settings. If you have reliable access to the Internet, online therapy gives you relatively quick and easy access to a treatment that would otherwise not have been available to you.
If you're sick of the process of emailing and calling new therapists to see if they have availability, the booking process on online therapy platforms can be quick and easy (although it depends on the availability of therapists in your state). According to Consumer Reports, online therapy platforms can provide information to third parties, including Facebook. Coverage for online therapy depends on your insurance plan, the therapist you choose, and state regulations. Some online therapy services even offer free tests so you can test interaction with a therapist to help determine if it is right for you.