Online Therapy: How Can Talking With an Online Psychologist Improve Your Mental Health?

5 Sep ‘22
5 min
Arianna Freni
Reviewed by psychologist Madelief Falkmann
online therapy mental health
We live in an online world, now more than ever before. Over the last couple of years, we got used to shopping, buying groceries, taking classes, attending meetings and more, all from the comfort of our homes. This digital shift has become entwined with almost every aspect of life, including when it comes to our mental health.

 

Online therapy is a growing field due to its many advantages. It provides a convenient alternative to in-person therapy and allows us to take care of our mental well-being by connecting with licensed professionals. But how does therapy take shape within the virtual world? And can talking to an online psychologist effectively improve our mental health?

 

What is online therapy?

 

Online therapy, also known as teletherapy or e-therapy, is a way of receiving mental health support remotely via computer or mobile device. An online therapy session takes place by meeting with a licensed psychologist through a chosen communication method, such as video, audio, or text.

 

Online therapy is safe, private and often an accessible space where you can address different mental health-related challenges among which stress, anxiety, self-confidence, relationship issues, life transitions and more, without requiring you to visit a therapist in person.

 

The options for online therapy are numerous, depending on your needs and preferences. Many online therapy providers, such as OpenUp, allow you to book a free introductory session to investigate whether your request for help fits with the services and decide together what works best for you. If the consultation feels like a good match, you can consider more follow-up sessions.

 

💡 Also interesting to read: How to Build Your Daily Mental Health Toolkit

 

How does virtual therapy work?

 

Let’s keep this simple: online therapy is not that different from its in-person counterpart! In fact, it provides the same validated services while offering more flexibility and allowing individuals to attend the session from pretty much anywhere they like.

 

The teletherapy process takes place following the same steps as traditional therapy: first, you will need to choose a therapist that you feel comfortable with and that matches your needs. Once you have found the right fit, you will schedule regular appointments for video or phone calls (25-minutes on average). During these sessions, you will go through any challenges you might be facing and you will get support to process emotions and achieve your goals through different interventions.

 

As with in-person therapy, psychologists who conduct online sessions are required to have the same level of training and experience, so you can expect the same level of care and reliability. Depending on your situation, you can receive different types of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and more.

  

Tip: before logging in, make sure you’ve thought about where you’ll be during your session. Pick a spot with a good internet connection that is also private and allows you to feel cosy and talk freely.

Science-based effectiveness

Many people can be hesitant about trying online therapy as they feel it might not be as functional as meeting with a therapist face-to-face. Don’t let this hold you back!  If you were wondering, online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. 

 

Studies have shown that it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Specifically, patients who were provided with online therapy showed increased scores on evaluations for depressive symptoms, engagement and vitality. Further research revealed that internet-based therapy has proven to be an effective method for treating many forms of psychiatric disorders.

 

And there’s more: thanks to its accessibility, flexibility and convenience teletherapy in some cases even leads to a higher retention rate, which in turn means more consistent mental health care and, therefore, improved wellbeing.

What makes online therapy this good?

 

The last couple of years taught us that not everything needs to be ‘live’ to be effective. As we continuously strive for convenience and ease in every aspect of our daily lives, the possibility to access emotional and mental support with a click offers undeniable benefits for many people on a global scale. If you are looking for a way to improve your mental health, keep reading to dive deeper into the pros of virtual therapy:

 

1. Flexibility

 

Sometimes, even finding the time to complete your basic daily tasks can be challenging. Imagine scheduling an appointment with the psychologist on a busy Monday. While in-person therapy appointments often take place during daily workdays, online psychologists provide flexible scheduling options – for example, during evenings or weekends – which makes it easier to make time for therapy even in a busy life.

 

2. Convenience

 

Reaching out to a psychologist requires some courage. If you then add the possible barriers of scheduling, traffic, parking and waits, this could be a big drawback for someone to reach out for help. Online therapy offers better convenience as it offers immediate mental health support from the comfort of your house. Also, remote therapy allows you to conveniently reschedule and rebook appointments according to your needs.

 

3. Accessibility

 

Finding the right therapist can be hard, especially if you don’t live in a big city that offers many possibilities. Online therapy allows anyone with limited access or mobility to obtain the help they need in a matter of clicks.

  

4. Affordability

 

In-person therapy can be prohibitively expensive. This is especially true for those who don’t have healthcare coverage. Online therapy can be a valid alternative also in terms of financial affordability. In fact, platforms and providers for online mental health usually offer competitive pricing. And you also do not need to pay for travel expenses!

 

5. Approachability

 

Some people may avoid therapy because they don’t feel comfortable enough to open up in front of someone. Online therapy can solve this inconvenience as it offers the possibility to meet specialists through video, phone, or even text. This helps release the feeling of shyness or awkwardness and makes the session much more approachable and private.

 

👉 You might also like: Therapy Now And Then: How Did Mental Health Care Change Over Time?

 

Final thoughts

 

Taking care of your mental health is crucial for your overall well-being and a stepping stone to improving your life now and in the future. Besides being a convenient alternative to traditional in-person therapy, online therapy is a great tool to walk through potential obstacles in your life and find healthy ways to cope with them and overcome them. 

 

If you’re looking for an online psychologist, we’d love to be part of your journey. Book a free introductory session today and learn more about the benefits of opening up.