Maximizing The Benefits Of Online Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated April 25, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

In an increasingly digital world, mental health care has found a new home online.

As of 2021, more than 41.7 million Americans sought mental health services, and a growing portion of this demographic utilized online therapy platforms to do so. This figure is expected to rise as more people become comfortable with digital platforms and recognize their benefits.

The shift to digital technology is revolutionizing how we approach mental health, bringing help directly into the comfort of people's homes, transcending geographical limitations, and offering an often more accessible and flexible alternative to traditional in-person therapy.

This comprehensive guide will explore the foundations of online therapy, its advantages, and potential limitations, and provide practical tips on maximizing its benefits. As we dive into the specifics of online therapy, you'll come away with a deeper understanding of the digital landscape and newfound confidence to make informed decisions about how best to use it for your mental well-being.

Keep in mind that the journey toward mental health is a deeply personal one, and this guide serves as a reference to help you along the way. To achieve the best results, it's important to consider your preferences and circumstances when exploring therapy options.

Understanding online therapy

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy or teletherapy, is a mental health treatment you can access virtually. Online therapy involves speaking with a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, over an online platform. Online therapy often utilizes talk therapy, the most commonly used approach in mental health treatment, as well as innovative tools and applications.

The history of online therapy dates back to the mid-1990s when technology and mental health intersected to create a more accessible, affordable form of care. Through advances in communication and digital technology, online therapy has grown in popularity and become more widely accepted due to its convenience and flexibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the rise of online therapy, as many traditional mental health services were suspended or reorganized into virtual platforms. This shift created a greater demand for virtual care options, allowing people with limited reach to mental health treatment to seek help from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Online therapy can take many forms, including the following:

  • Text-based therapy: Text-based therapy typically involves exchanging messages with a mental health professional through an online platform. This type of therapy can be conducted asynchronously, meaning that the conversation doesn't happen in real-time or synchronously, which is when both parties exchange messages simultaneously. 
  • Video therapy: Video therapy is a form of online therapy that uses video conferencing technology to connect with your therapist. This type of therapy allows you to have face-to-face conversations with your mental health professional, giving it more of an in-person feel.
  • Phone therapy: Phone therapy involves talking to a mental health professional over the phone, either through voice or video calls. This type of therapy may also be used as a supplement to other forms of online therapy, such as text-based or video sessions.

Different platforms offer different levels of support and service, so it's essential to understand your needs and preferences before selecting an online therapy provider. Then, by researching and selecting the right provider for you, you can maximize the potential of online therapy and achieve more beneficial outcomes. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
You are never alone - let us be there for you

The advantages of online therapy

Life can be tough, and sometimes mental health complexities can seem like an uphill climb. With our busy schedules and numerous commitments, finding time to attend in-person therapy sessions can be challenging. That's where online therapy comes in.

Online therapy has risen in popularity in recent years, with numerous advantages that cater to the needs of a growing, diverse population. Here are some of the benefits of online therapy:

Accessibility and Convenience

One of the most significant advantages of online therapy is its unparalleled accessibility. Gone are the days when geographical limitations or mobility constraints could hinder access to mental health care.

With a stable internet connection and a device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can connect with a trained therapist from the comfort of your home or any other convenient location. This increased accessibility is particularly beneficial for individuals living in remote areas or those with physical disabilities, making mental health care more inclusive and attainable.

Anonymity and Personal

Online therapy provides a sense of anonymity that can be comforting for many seeking mental health support. Engaging in therapy from a familiar and personal space can alleviate feelings of vulnerability or self-consciousness that may arise during in-person sessions. 


In-person therapy sessions can be expensive, often posing financial barriers to those seeking help. Conversely, online therapy typically offers more cost-effective options, making mental health care accessible to a wider audience. 

Without the overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical office, therapists can pass on the savings to their clients. Furthermore, many online therapy platforms offer subscription-based models or sliding scale fees, allowing you to choose a plan that aligns with your budget and needs.

Flexibility in scheduling

Our fast-paced lives can make it challenging to carve out time for therapy sessions during conventional office hours. Online therapy offers the flexibility of scheduling appointments at times that work best for you, including evenings and weekends. This adaptability allows you to prioritize your mental health without disrupting your daily routine, making it easier to commit to regular sessions and maintain consistency in your mental health journey.

Overall, online therapy presents an array of advantages that cater to the diverse needs of individuals seeking mental health support. However, for various reasons, some individuals may not respond well to online therapy. For example, those who require more intensive support or those who do not have a reliable internet connection may not find it suitable. 

CaptionGetty/Vadym Pastukh

Five strategies for maximizing the benefits of online therapy

Despite the many benefits of online therapy, it is important to approach it with realistic expectations. Here are some strategies for making the most out of your online therapy sessions:

1. Understanding your goals

Before beginning any type of therapy, it helps to reflect on what you hope to achieve and identify the issues you would like to address. Making a list of your goals can help keep you focused during your sessions and allow the therapist to better understand your needs.

2. Finding the right therapist for you

It is essential to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable to maximize the effectiveness of therapy. By researching different online therapy services and comparing their features, you can determine which platform works best.

3. Exploring different therapy modalities

Online therapy provides a reach to a variety of therapeutic approaches, from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to psychodynamic therapy and more. You may try different modalities to determine the most effective for you.

4. Communicating openly and honestly

Effective communication is often key to making the most out of online therapy. Opening up about your thoughts and feelings in a candid manner can help foster trust between you and your therapist, allowing them to develop an individualized treatment plan that best meets your needs.

5. Developing a healthy routine

Creating a routine that allows you to be mindful of your mental health and prioritize self-care is important for improving your overall well-being. Your routine may include anything from exercise to mindfulness practices and relaxation techniques.

As you navigate your mental health journey, online therapy may be a great option for you to explore. An online therapist can provide the support and guidance needed to help you achieve your goals, with the added benefits of convenience and discretion. By incorporating online therapy into your lifestyle, you can make meaningful progress in managing your mental health.

Randomized clinical trials indicate that Internet interventions may effectively treat depression and anxiety disorders, with some research suggesting that online therapy can be as effective as traditional in-person therapy. Many of the benefits of teletherapy help to increase adherence and reduce dropout rates, which can negatively impact the outcome of therapy.

No matter how you pursue mental health support, try to remember that online therapy only works if you put in the effort. With consistent effort and self-awareness, you may improve the effectiveness of your online therapy sessions and make additional progress toward achieving your therapeutic goals.

Counselor reviews

“Shannon is very knowledgeable, and skilled in knowing how to use that knowledge to help others. She is also very compassionate and encouraging. I was skeptical about using a counseling service, but this experience has been incredible. I highly recommend Shannon to anyone who needs guidance or help through a difficult time in life. I gave her some enormous challenges, and nothing has been over her head. She has been a tremendous help to me.”

You are never alone - let us be there for you

“I don’t know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today I am happy and feeling like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation he took time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him.”


As technology continues to evolve, the landscape of online therapy will also continue to transform. Taking the time to assess your needs and explore various options can help you find an online therapist best suited to your needs.

With a clear understanding of your goals, open communication with your therapist, and dedication to self-care, online therapy can effectively support your mental health journey. In addition, utilizing the knowledge and resources available to you can help create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.