- Online therapy is a convenient and flexible way to access mental health services. It’s just as effective as in-person care, but with the comfort of seeing your therapist from home.
- Teletherapy enables you to choose from a broader range of providers, meaning you can find someone who speaks your language, specializes in your condition, and has availability when you need it.
- That said, online therapy may not be the right fit for everyone. You might consider in-person therapy if you’re not comfortable being on camera, don’t have a safe space for virtual sessions, or if you have a condition that requires a higher level of care.
You may be familiar with the benefits of traditional therapy, but you may not be as aware of the benefits of online therapy. Online therapy, or teletherapy, is mental healthcare that’s delivered over the internet or phone instead of in person. It’s considered to be equally effective as in-person therapy.
Online therapy played a key role in increasing access to mental healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, and research suggests that this way of accessing care is here to stay. So what are the other benefits of teletherapy, and how do you know if in-person services are actually a better fit for your needs?
Five benefits of online therapy
One of the leading benefits of teletherapy is that it allows people to connect with mental health providers when, where, and how works best for them. With teletherapy, you don’t have to worry about leaving work early, finding parking, running late because of traffic, or any of the other details that can complicate accessing care.
2. Increased access to care
According to Mental Health America, more than half of American adults with a mental illness don’t have access to the care they need. This shortage of care is particularly pronounced in rural areas, with over 60% of rural Americans living in a designated mental health provider shortage area.
The beauty of online therapy is that it enables people to look beyond their zip codes to find therapists and other mental health professionals to help them grow and heal.
Teletherapy is also great for people who don’t have access to transportation, can’t travel due to physical or mental limitations, or are unable to attend appointments during standard office hours.
3. A more diverse selection of providers
Finding the right therapist isn’t always easy. There are practical concerns, such as availability and insurance, but you’ll want to consider compatibility and cultural fit as well.
Teletherapy offers people the chance to choose from a broader range of providers to find someone with the right level of experience and expertise for their needs. This means you can focus less on logistics and more on finding a therapist who’s a great fit for you.
4. Increased comfort
A new theory in psychotherapy called the “online calming hypothesis” states that people feel less overwhelmed when they’re engaged in telehealth versus in-person treatment.
Teletherapy allows people to have more control over their environment, something that’s especially important for folks with anxiety disorders or interpersonal challenges. Seeing your therapist from home also gives you a chance to change your clothes, grab a snack, or use the bathroom before the appointment. When you have everything you need to feel comfortable and relaxed, it can be much easier to open up.
5. More privacy
For some people, the idea of visiting an office for therapy may feel too exposed. Teletherapy is a great way to get the mental healthcare you need, without the risk of running into someone you know in the waiting room.
Although therapy has become more widely accepted by society, some people still may feel more comfortable seeking care from the privacy of their own home.
“Some clients engage more deeply from the comfort of their own space. This has been observed in trauma therapy, where clients often feel guarded when receiving care in person, and much of the session is spent helping them feel safe enough to share.
For clients in more rural areas, or who can’t find a therapist to connect with who specializes in areas they need, online accessibility provides more options and access to care.”
Brenda Stewart, Practice Owner and LMHC, Wellspring Therapy Associates
Choosing between in-person and online therapy
Online therapy has made it easier for people to get the care they need when they need it, but there are still scenarios where in-person therapy is a better fit.
In-person therapy may be a better fit for you if:
- You don’t feel comfortable being on camera: Face-to-face interaction is an important part of connecting with your therapist, even with teletherapy. If you’re not comfortable being on camera, you might want to consider finding a therapist who can see you in person.
- You require a higher level of care: Although teletherapy is considered an effective modality of care for many conditions, there are certain diagnoses that typically require additional services or support. For example, in-person treatment is more appropriate for people with substance use disorders or who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- You struggle with technology: There’s no shame in admitting that technology isn’t your strong suit. If you know that online therapy will frustrate you or interfere with your therapeutic experience, going in person is likely a better fit.
- You don’t have a private space for sessions: Having a secure and confidential space to take sessions is important. If this isn’t possible, in-person care may be a better place for you to continue your healing journey.
A look at online therapy with Path
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of Americans receiving mental health treatment increased from 18.5% in 2019 to 23% in 2021, and that number is expected to grow. That’s why Path is committed to helping individuals across the country find a therapist to help them heal from home.
Online therapy with Path offers countless benefits, such as increased accessibility, flexibility, and comfort. Plus, we help you find a therapist who takes your insurance. Here’s what a few Path users have to say about their experience.
Getting matched with a therapist was very easy. I liked that I could read about the different therapists and choose one who I thought would be a good fit for me.
-Path therapy client
I’ve had a great experience with my therapist. I love that my appointments are covered by my insurance and that my co-pays are set up on auto-pay.
-Path therapy client
My therapist was knowledgeable, caring, and supportive. I’ve had a very good experience and am a healthier, happier person because of it.
-Path therapy client
Get started with Path today
Whether you’re looking for a new therapist or ready to try therapy for the first time, Path is here to help. We make it easy to find a licensed therapist in-network with your insurance, who is accepting new clients, and is an expert in caring for your unique needs.
Visit our website to learn how Path can help you get started today.