Online Therapy Sessions

Online therapy has been around for a while, however with the spread of technology and Internet availability, it has become an important alternative to sessions held in an office setting. Online therapy has become an accepted form of therapy and research shows it’s just as effective to standard office therapy.

Overwhelmingly, the research on this form of counseling has shown it to be just as effective as standard one on one therapy. The 2013 study measured the difference in effectiveness between online therapy and in person therapy. Like many other studies, they found online therapy benefitted clients to the same degree as in person therapy. 
— (Reynolds, Stiles, Bailer & Hughes, 2013)

There are different terms that all refer to online therapy, some of these include:

  • Telehealth
  • Distance counseling
  • TeleMental Health
  • Internet Counseling
  • Web-based counseling
  • e-Counseling
  • Online therapy
  • Electronic counseling
  • Technology-based counseling

Is online therapy as effective as face-to-face therapy?

Yes, and research has proved it. Online therapy can be even more effective than face-to-face counseling for those who have severe social anxiety, chronic pain, chronic illness, cancer or any struggle that causes them to not be able to get out of the home easily.  

Mobility issues have historically made it difficult for some people to get the care and therapy that would be very helpful. I’ve also found that often the people who need therapy the most are the ones that can’t leave the home.

Since I often work with those who suffer with chronic pain, chronic illness, cancer, anxiety and depression, allowing for sessions online can make healing and growth a real possibility.

Some common misconceptions are as follows:

  • You cannot truly connect with your clients unless you are face-to-face
  • You will miss some of the non-verbal cues at times
  • Online therapy is not as effective as face-to-face therapy

People who commonly use online therapy:

  • People who have busy work schedules and can’t leave the office
  • People with chronic pain or illness who have mobility issues
  • People without reliable transportation
  • Mother’s or father’s who are home with young children
  • Young adults who prefer to use technology
  • Caregivers who cannot leave an ill person alone
  • People with severe social anxiety or depression
  • Anyone who feels that there may be stigma attached to going into an office
  • Anyone who usually comes to my office but is having a sick or bad day, and doesn’t feel like coming into the office, yet wants to keep the appointment and receive help.

Benefits of online therapy

Save Time

Everyone is so busy these days and sometimes the time needed to drive to and from counseling can deter you from getting the help you want. With online therapy you can save the drive time and not have extra time away from work, home and family. In just less than an hour you can get the help you desire.

Save Money

Getting away from work or the family may cost you time off, childcare, mileage and/or fuel. Online therapy can help reduce the overall costs of counseling and make it easier to get help.

Increased Choice

Not all therapists focus on the issues that you may want to work on. I focus on helping clients who are struggling with chronic pain, chronic illness, cancer, anxiety, depression, trauma and women’s issues. By offering online sessions I can help anyone who resides in California.

Increased availability

Depending on your work and life situation, it may be easier to schedule therapy during lunch or breaks instead of peak hours.

Feel more relaxed

While I strive to make you feel comfortable and at ease in the office, some people still have anxiety or stress related to coming into a therapist’s office. You may feel more comfortable in your own environment, whether at your home, office or wherever you choose to conduct your sessions.

Easy access for people with health or mobility struggles.

You may be someone who has health or mobility limitations that make traveling to the therapy office difficult. Often those who are ill at home are the ones who would most benefit from therapeutic services. Online sessions gives you access to therapy that you might not have been able to receive otherwise.


 Many of the participants said that conveniently having sessions in the comfort of their own home made them more likely to start and continue therapy, as driving to sessions discouraged them from going.
— (Beattie, Shaw, Kaur, & Kessler, 2009)

Is online therapy right for you?

Your safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance. Not everyone is a good fit or comfortable with online therapy. It’s important that we discuss your situation and assess if online therapy will work for you. Please contact me to discuss your unique circumstances and together we can figure out what will work best for you.

If you choose to use online therapy with me I assure you that we will make sure to follow best practices guidelines and make sure that you have local resources to support you in case of any type of emergency. 

Are you comfortable with a computer and online technology? Does technology cause you excess stress or anxiety? If so, then online sessions might not be the right answer for you.


Can I combine office and online sessions?

Well it depends on the situation and circumstances you are facing, as well as your distance from the office. If you are close enough to drive to the office, I have no problems providing a blend of office and online sessions to accommodate your needs. We just have to agree and communicate prior to each session so that together we effectively manage the blend.

It’s common with those who have chronic pain, chronic illness, or cancer to have good days and bad.  Often they come to the office but then if there is a flare or bad day, we can switch to an online session. This is also good during flu season where I encourage clients if they are sick to either reschedule or do an online session.

Other common reasons for choosing to combine office and online sessions:

  • You are away for work or vacation
  • You have work or life situations that have you on a tight schedule.
  • You’re a busy executive who can’t always leave the office.
  • There’s inclement weather outside.

If you live outside the distance range of the office, then blending office and online sessions will not work. You can opt to just schedule online sessions.


Another supporting factor of online therapy is client comfort. The familiarity and protection of their own home were motivating factors for participants to continue therapy. They reported feelings of safety, privacy and control.  
— (Reynolds, Stiles, Bailer & Hughes, 2013; Beattie, Shaw, Kaur, & Kessler, 2009 )

Questions addressed for online sessions:

Are you licensed to conduct therapy in my State?

It is illegal for a therapist to provide online counseling to residents outside of their state. I only provide online sessions for California residents.

What is the plan for emergencies (either yours or mine)?         

We will discuss this and create a personalized plan.

How is confidentially handled?

This is important on both sides and we can discuss any concerns you may have. Also, I will share with you the best protocols for maintaining confidentiality such as having a private area where you will not be interrupted, etc.  

Online sessions have the same confidentiality as any regular session.

What is the back-up plan if technology should fail during our session?

It is common to use telephone counseling as a back-up for technology issues. Patience and flexibility are helpful when using technology.

What about technology issues and misunderstandings?

Misunderstandings happen in regular office sessions, but can also happen in online sessions. Sometimes a bad Internet connect, voice break-up, or choppy/blurry video can cause an issue. If this occurs we can address it immediately and use a back-up phone session if necessary.


After a few sessions, clients became more comfortable with the format and reported feeling more relaxed and excited about receiving therapy through video calls. Some individuals even said they were more comfortable with online rather than in person sessions because they were more comfortable and had more control.
— (Reynolds, Stiles, Bailer & Hughes, 2013)

How do I get started with online therapy?

Contact me via phone or click here for your FREE 20 minute consultation. We will discuss your situation and determine if online therapy will work effectively for you.

Once we determine that online sessions will benefit you, we can schedule your first session. I will review protocol with you and send you an email with instructions.

Prior to your first session you will need to complete these online agreement forms. Standard policy and procedure and payment agreements apply to online sessions.

If necessary, we can arrange a tech ‘test’ to make sure you are comfortable and properly set up to do an online session.

 


  Contact me today if you’d like to know more or want to schedule an online session!