Online therapy (or teletherapy) refers to mental health services and counseling that are provided via the internet or phone rather than in person. While some therapists conduct sessions exclusively online, many others see clients through some combination of video calls, phone calls, and in-person sessions.
A therapist conducting sessions online will typically plan ahead with the client to connect at a mutually agreed-on time through a commonly used video-calling app. For therapists, these tools include Sessions by Psychology Today, Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Skype, and Vsee, among others.
The sessions may be held completely online or may be interspersed with in-person appointments. Therapists and clients can adjust how appointments are planned and conducted based on the client’s needs.
There are a number of steps you can take: They include testing out the app or software you’ll be using, making sure you have enough privacy during your session, and limiting distractions by closing other apps or websites. You’ll want to know your therapist’s contact information and preferred means of payment, too.
Online therapy has a number of upsides that make it worth considering for longtime therapy clients and newcomers alike. It provides a way to connect to start or continue a relationship with otherwise inaccessible therapists. It can save time, and some people may be less self-conscious about going to therapy if they are not traveling to a therapist’s office. Whether online or in person, a strong alliance with a therapist is the best way to guarantee positive results.
As with in-person therapy sessions, costs can vary widely between different therapists. Many providers charge the same hourly rate online or in-person. Some companies provide online therapy services for a monthly fee, but they may not offer access to a single therapist of your choice in real time.
Many insurance plans that cover therapy will reimburse for online sessions. However, this varies by state and by insurance provider. Insurers may require specific information about the remote sessions; it’s best to check in with the insurance provider if reimbursement is needed.