Online Therapy Benefits With Licensed Therapists

Updated October 13, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Nicole Gaines, LPC

Is Online Therapy Worth It?

Millions of people turn to a therapist to help them through tough times in life. 

An increasing number of people are seeing a counselor with online therapy. Virtual therapy allows you to access professional counselors virtually and has numerous advantages over in-person counseling.

Mental health help with online therapy with licensed professionals, that can be counselors or therapists, can have benefits in every aspect of your personal life including relationships, work, and your relationship with yourself. Get started virtually today!

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These advantages include lower cost and the convenience of completing counseling from your own home.

Seeing a therapist is a research-backed and supported way to get care for various concerns, whether those concerns are related to life stress, relationships, or something else. According to the CDC, 9.5% of adults in the United States saw a provider such as a therapist for therapy in 2019.

However, just because someone chooses to undergo therapy does not automatically mean that online therapy will work for them. Just like in-person therapy, various elements of online therapy like what therapist you see and what therapeutic modalities are used matter.

If you decide to seek help via online therapy, here are some ways to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

Online Therapy: Answer Questions Truthfully

When you search for a counselor in person, you might spend weeks or months looking for a counselor who specializes in the concern you’re there to address, making phone calls, and spending time on waiting lists. One of the best parts about connecting with a therapist through a platform like ReGain virtually is that you get to skip all of that. 

Instead of searching high and low for a counselor, the first step to getting a counselor through ReGain and many other online therapy platforms is to take a short questionnaire. During the questionnaire, you’ll answer questions like, “What are the benefits you're looking to achieve?” that will help you get matched with the right virtual counselor. 

Make sure that you answer honestly. No one in your personal life will know what you said - unless they’re next to you and are involved in the process, such as when you’re looking for a counselor as a couple and are discussing the questions together - but you’ll have a higher chance of finding the right therapeutic match. 

Therapy Online: Do You Need An Online Therapy Plan?

It’s often helpful to go into a therapy session with a virtual counselor to clarify what you would like to accomplish. If you keep a journal, try to write about any challenges you face that you would like to discuss with your virtual counselor.

If you do not have a journal, a simple list will do the trick. You can even use the notes app on your phone to jot down things to tell your therapist. In the week leading up to your first therapy appointment with your therapist, anytime something makes you feel a negative emotion, write it down. One of the advantages of online therapy over traditional therapy is that you can have these materials right before working with the therapist.

Going into the session with a clear idea of the things you want to work on means you and your therapist can focus on the important things and not waste any time simply trying to decide which areas of your life you want to discuss.

If you don’t necessarily have a plan, your virtual counselor can help you create one.

Virtual Therapy: Is it Important To Set Counseling Goals During Your Online Therapy Session?

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This is an elaboration of the first point. Beyond simply planning what you want to discuss with your virtual counselor, think about what you’d like to achieve in your time with your counselor. Knowing what you want to accomplish with your counselor, and communicating these things, will make your sessions with your counselor much more worthwhile.

Having an idea of your goals for online therapy ensures that the time you spend chatting with your virtual counselor will not be wasted. Plus, doing so before starting counseling can help you find the therapist that is the right fit for you. Take some time to think about how you want to feel and what would put you at greater ease in life, and then, relay what comes up to your counselor.

Taking some time to reflect before you see your virtual counselor is helpful not just at the beginning of the therapeutic process but throughout the therapeutic process. If you’re already seeing a counselor and haven’t set goals or don’t know what you want, know that it’s never too late to think about it and bring it up with your counselor.

Tips for Setting Goals in Virtual Therapy

  • Be realistic with your therapist in therapy.

  • Get specific about your goals in online therapy with your virtual counselor.

  • Make sure your virtual therapy goals are about you.

  • Create a therapy goal action plan in virtual therapy with your therapist.

Virtual Therapist: Don't Settle With Your Therapist in Online Therapy

Another advantage of online therapy is the amount of choice you have as a client. When working with a traditional in-person counselor, your choice is restricted by which counselors are practicing in your area. Finding a therapist who takes your insurance, among other factors, are another possible barrier. But, when you are working with a counselor online or over the internet, your amount of choice with your counselor is multiplied.

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The best online therapy services will have a wide variety of therapists who you can choose to work with. These therapists may have or be of various specialties, backgrounds, and genders. For many, having the right counselor is the most crucial part of getting a quality therapeutic experience. If there’s something specific you want in a counselor, it’s probably out there.

Finding the right therapist for you can be a lengthy process, but online therapy can make the process easier by providing you with a variety of counselors with different licenses and specialties to suit your needs. With ReGain, your online therapy plan will not start until you’re matched with a counselor.

If you are unsure where to start with finding a counselor, reach out to the online therapy platform’s customer service to help point you in the right direction. Perhaps you already know that you would prefer a therapist of a certain religion or a therapist of a specific race and ethnicity.

The best virtual counseling platform’s services will be able to match you to a counselor of your known preferences with open availability. When you use a platform like ReGain, you can get matched with a counselor quickly. When you first get started with a therapist, you can ask them any questions you have about how they work as a counselor, their education, and so on, which will help you feel more comfortable.

You deserve to get the help you need. You are worthy of being supported in the way you need to be, emotionally and mentally. Virtual counseling with licensed therapists is a great way to take that first step.

Some therapists in online therapy specialize in topics such as:

marriage therapy
mindfulness therapy
family therapy
psychodynamic therapy
psychotherapynarrative therapy

Some services, like ReGain, match you with a licensed counselor based on your wants and needs for counseling. That said, if you feel the counselor you get is not a good fit, you have the freedom to switch to a different therapist who you feel is better suited for you. We all have different personalities, and sometimes, what it comes down to is finding a therapist who meshes well with yours. When it comes to finding the right therapist, it’s okay to be picky. Do not settle for a therapist that you feel cannot help you accomplish your goals.

Your counselor won’t be offended if you have to switch to a new therapist or counselor. Counselors are aware that everyone has different needs. A counselor won’t take it personally, and they want you to succeed.

Online Therapy: How Do You Schedule Sessions Online for Online Therapy? 

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Some online therapy services will have you schedule a 30 minute or hour-long session with your therapist as you would for an in-person session. Others are 24-hour services, in which you have an ongoing dialogue with your therapist and can update your therapist on how you are feeling at any time of the day.

Often, therapy virtually will be a mix of both formats. You will schedule certain times to have a long talk with your therapist but can also contact your therapist at any time if something comes up. How much you use this feature to talk with your therapist is up to you.

Regardless of which form of virtual counseling you choose, it is important to prioritize time to work with your virtual counselor. Once you decide to work with a counselor, figure out when you can carve out some time to dedicate to your virtual therapy sessions in your day or week.

You may decide a certain day of the week is when you want to do one long update, or you may want to write a shorter message to your counselor every evening.

Whatever you choose, make the time you chat with your counselor your "me" time. If you live with other people, ask them not to bother you while you plan to chat with your counselor. This way, you can fully focus on your conversation with your counselor and make sure you can communicate everything on your mind during online therapy.

Of course, if you choose a 24-hour online therapy service, you can always send a quick message to your virtual counselor if there is something you feel you need to tell them immediately. But, it is also important to set aside some scheduled time to talk to them to get the most out of your virtual counseling experience. Use your best judgment, and don’t be afraid to talk with your counselor if you have any questions or concerns.

Online Therapy: Be Realistic with Your Therapist in Online Therapy

What should you remember when setting goals or scheduling time for online therapy? First, be realistic about any time constraints you may be facing that limit your time with a counselor. While therapy virtually is far less time-consuming than traditional, in-person counseling in the sense that online therapy doesn’t require a commute, it is still important to commit yourself to dedicate the necessary time and energy towards your therapeutic efforts.

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Most people are very busy, and that is okay. If you only have thirty extra minutes in your week that you can devote to online therapy, that is perfectly fine, but you need to keep that in mind when setting goals for yourself and your therapy experience. This is part of why having a plan for counseling, whether virtually or face-to-face, matters. If you know what you want to talk about with your therapist, you won’t waste a second.

If you have major goals you want to accomplish, be realistic and realize that it may take a long time to get there if you only do a little bit of work a week. Sometimes, you won’t realize how much progress you’ve made while working with your therapist until some time passes. You might react to a situation differently one day or notice that you feel better about what you decided to see a virtual counselor for and think, “wow, I’ve come a long way!”

Remember that little things eventually add up to big things, and something is always better than nothing. But, be realistic about your time, and do not get discouraged if you feel that things are not moving along as quickly as you would like.

Honesty in Online Therapy With Your Therapist

Another way you can think about being realistic is, to be honest with yourself about the time you can commit to counseling and what you can expect to accomplish in that amount of time with your therapist. But, honesty is not only important when it comes to your goals or when answering questions. It’s vital to be honest throughout the entire therapeutic process.

When making your initial plan about what you want to work on with your therapist, you want to be honest about any struggles you face with your counselor. The best part about seeing a therapist is that it’s a safe place to be vulnerable. What you say to a virtual counselor will be kept confidential just as it would be with a counselor in person. When you see a therapist, there are laws in place that protect your confidentiality, and these laws are still relevant when you see a therapist virtually.

Therapists are trained professionals and will never judge you for anything you tell them. Rather, it is crucial to be honest with your therapist if you want to get the best possible outcomes from your experience. You’ll likely find that when you get the things you’re afraid to say to your therapist off of your chest, you’ll feel better. Counseling is a space where the client or clients are the focal point, so give yourself the chance to share. This is part of where the ability to message a therapist can be helpful. If it’s too hard to say out loud during a session with your therapist, message your therapist and let them know you want to talk about it later.

You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed about anything you need help with when talking with your therapist. Therapists chose their career path because they want to help people overcome challenges. If you keep things concealed from your therapist, you will not get the maximum benefit out of the time and financial investment that you make in online counseling.

Should You Always Follow The Guidance of your Therapist Given in Virtual Therapy?

Your therapist cannot force you to do anything. All a therapist can do is offer their opinion on your situation and give you suggestions on how you can work on things to feel better. Other than that, the power is in your hands. While a therapist can make suggestions, a therapist is not there to control you, nor does a therapist want to.

That being said, it is important to take the guidance of your therapist to heart. Some people feel better simply having someone to whom they can unload all of their worries, and for them, less outside work might be necessary. But, most people seek more from their counseling experiences virtually. Of course, if you don’t feel that certain guidance from a therapist is right for you, it’s okay to look at the situation objectively and decide not to take it. You can explain this to your therapist, and in most cases, you’ll be able to find common ground. Again, whether you see a therapist online or through other means, they can’t force you to do anything. Just make sure that you’re honest with yourself throughout the therapeutic process.

There’s a saying that goes, "it won't work unless you do." This applies to virtual counseling. If your counselor instructs you to do something or give you homework, such as writing in a journal, it is because those activities are crucial to your treatment and will have a positive impact on your life. A lot of people enjoy the homework provided to them by a counselor and find it incredibly advantageous, so it’s something to make time for. You can give a counselor feedback on your homework and other activities so that your therapist can get a feel for what works for you.

If you cannot do everything your therapist asks you due to time constraints, that is okay, but be sure to let your therapist know that you want to work on a new plan. Counseling is a collaborative process, and your therapist is there to work with you. Doing at least some of your therapist's work is key to getting the most out of the therapeutic experience.

Talking to Your Partner About Online Therapy

If you seek online therapy for personal problems and would like to keep the things between yourself and your therapist private, do not feel pressured to share these things with anyone else after you see your therapist. But, if your reasons for seeking counseling have to do with your relationship, it can be very beneficial to discuss what you talk about with your virtual counselor with your partner. If you feel you need to seek help from a counselor to work on your relationship, your partner must know this to improve the relationship.

In some cases, you may even choose to ask your partner to participate in counseling virtually with you or see a counselor as a couple. This way, the dialogue with the counselor becomes three-way.

Couples therapy can be a positive addition to a relationship and teach partners things about each other that they continue to benefit from long after they cease working with a counselor regularly. People in relationships see therapists for many of topics or concerns, and there’s no right or wrong reason to see a counselor.

Choosing to get the help you need can be difficult, but extremely worthwhile. You can improve your self-awareness with a personal mental health professional or work through issues with your partner in a therapeutic setting. Couples see a lot of benefits from counseling.

It could be you and your partner participating in marriage counseling, couples counseling, or using therapy over the internet for long-term relationship concerns. Not only married couples attend couples therapy. Whether you see an individual counselor for therapy or see a couples counselor for you and your partner, you can get enormous benefits from therapy.

Why Is Compassion Important During Therapy?

What typically happens during therapy virtually? Whether you see a virtual counselor or not, people tend to uncover things about themselves in therapy that they had been trying to push away for a while. Or, talking to a counselor may simply lead you to realize things about yourself that you never realized before. Seeing a counselor can help you gain confidence, communication skills, and so much more.

Learning these things is extremely beneficial in the long run, but it is not always pleasant in the present moment. Therapy may force you to face things about yourself that you do not like. If this situation occurs, remember to be kind to yourself and ask your counselor for support if you need it. Your counselor can help you remind yourself that this is not “bad.” The therapeutic experience comes with growth, and that can be uncomfortable, but that does not make it negative.

Do not get angry with yourself or beat yourself up if you realize some negative traits in yourself. Remember to be compassionate and that you are doing it to improve yourself. It is natural to feel upset upon learning certain things about yourself but try to keep in mind that therapy virtually is a learning experience. By learning these things, you can improve yourself and feel happier in the long run. Seeing a counselor can be hard work, but it’s worth it.

Get started with a virtual counselor using ReGain today or read the virtual counselor review below for more information. If you have questions about seeing an online counselor, read the FAQ section on the ReGain website or contact us.

Therapist 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.”



“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.”

Meet Some of Our Therapists

All Therapists Are Licensed & Experienced With 1,000 Hours of Hands-On Experience

Lindsay Burke - Therapist

LMFT, Lifecoach, Burke

Therapists Specialties: Relationship issues & marriage therapy, Family conflicts, Parenting issues, Career difficulties, Pride Counseling

Therapists Years of Experience

8

Eric Anderson - Therapist

LMFT,CSAT

Therapists Specialties: Addictions, Relationship issues & marriage therapy, Family conflicts, Trauma and abuse, Pride Counseling

Therapists Years of Experience

7

Lynn Salsbury - Therapist

LCSW,MSW (Licensed and Background-Checked) - Live chat, live video, online chat rooms, unlimited messaging therapy

Therapists Specialties: Stress, Anxiety, Relationship issues & marriage therapy, Self esteem, Depression, Coping with life changes using traditional therapy, Pride Counseling

Therapists Years of Experience

12

Doctor on-demand coverage that accepts insurance not needed; aka, you don't need health insurance.

Carla Noto-Vencill - Therapist

MA,LMFT - Live chat, phone and video sessions & video conferencing, online chat rooms, unlimited messaging therapy

Therapists Specialties: Stress, Anxiety, Addictions, Relationship issues, Family conflicts, Parenting issues

Therapists Years of Experience

29

Doctor on demand coverage that accepts insurance not needed.



Gina Found - Therapist

MA,LMFT - Live chat sessions, phone and video sessions & video conferencing

Therapists Specialties: Stress, Anxiety, Addictions, Relationship issues, Depression, Teen Counseling

Therapists Years of Experience

11

Doctor on demand coverage that accepts insurance not needed.



Sam Jenkins - Therapist

MSW,MFA,LCSW - Live chat, live sessions, phone calls, real time chat sessions

Therapists Specialties: LGBT, Intimacy-related issues, Self-esteem, Anxiety, Depression, Teen Counseling, Emotional Support, Peer Support

Years of Experience

25

Doctor on demand coverage that accepts insurance not needed to cover online therapy here.

Experience an easy sign up process with one of the best online therapy programs online.

Therapy Is Personal

Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. But, keeping these things in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of virtual counseling, regardless of your specific goals.

ReGain specializes in therapy virtually to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you're interested in individual therapy, please reach out to contact@regain.us. For more information about BetterHelp as a company, please find us on:

Pinterest
Linkedin
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr

If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about online therapy, please see below:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) - 1-800-656-4673
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233
NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - 1-800-950-6264

For more information on mental health and online therapy, please see:

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
SAMHSA Facebook
SAMHSA Twitter
SAMHSA Youtube

Mental Health America,
MHA Twitter
MHA Facebook
MHA Instagram
MHA Pinterest
MHA Youtube

WebMD
WebMD Facebook
WebMD Twitter
WebMD Pinterest

NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
NIMH Facebook
NIMH YouTube

APA (American Psychiatric Association)
APA Twitter
APA Facebook
APA LinkedIn
APA Instagram

Further Reading Related to Therapists

How Do Couples Therapists Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Considering A Career In Mental Health? How To Be A Therapist

How To Choose A Therapist That's Right For You

How To Check If A Therapist Is Licensed To Practice Online Therapy In Your State

An Online Therapist Can Help You Communicate With Your Partner

Why Should You See A Divorce Therapist?

Family Therapy Online: Is It Right For You And Your Loved Ones?

Couples Therapy Cost: Finding the Right Counseling Therapist to Provide Couples Therapy and Counseling

How Does Therapy Chat Work, And Is It Effective?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Online Therapy

Is online therapy as effective?

If you are looking for the best counseling, the chances are that you’ve wondered whether or not virtual counseling programs provide as much therapeutic effectiveness as in-person counseling. It may surprise you that virtual counseling programs have been around for decades, even for specialties like psychotherapy, and are considered just as effective as traditional counseling.

When it comes to finding mental health treatment, what matters is that you are comfortable enough to communicate with a counselor during the therapeutic process. Some people are simply more comfortable with therapeutic or counseling programs that offer virtual counseling. A virtual counseling platform gives people the option to get help without leaving their homes and can help people who have found that traditional therapeutic counseling isn’t a good match for them. The best counselor is the one you can communicate with, even if it happens via a virtual chat session with a counselor.

Virtual therapeutic therapy programs offer the same array of specialties that traditional therapy does, including cognitive-behavioral therapy or behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, along with talk therapy and other therapy options. The best counselor for you depends on your therapeutic needs. You can search for family counselors clinical social workers, which can help you find family counselors licensed clinical social workers to help address family mental health issues. Marriage and family counselors help families experiencing issues between the parents that may not be appropriate for discussion in front of their children. Virtual marriage therapy is another option for couples who don’t have children or are thriving and aren’t involved in family discord. Anytime children are involved in the discord, however, seeking family counselors clinical social workers is important so that the entire family can benefit from the therapy sessions.

What is the best online therapy?

How much does online therapy cost?

Online therapy varies in cost. Some sites offer a free trial for new clients. After that, web counseling costs money. Talking to your counselor has various options, such as audio messaging, texting video chat session requests, or on the phone with your counselor. Quality mental health professionals care about their clients.

Whether you see a counselor in person or a counselor virtually, you definitely have options. In addition to seeing a counselor in person, you can also find affordable counselor options online. Some sites offer counselor sessions as low as $40 a meeting. The price of virtual counseling with a counselor differs depending on your needs. Shop around for your counselor for virtual counseling, but make sure that the counselors are licensed wherever you seek virtual counseling.

Is online therapy legit?

Virtual counseling is a legitimate form of mental health treatment. You can develop a relationship with your counselor just as you would in a face-to-face meeting with your counselor. You are developing a healthy relationship with your counselor, and that matters. That way, you can get the most out of treatment with your counselor.

Virtual counselors are licensed mental health professionals who take their jobs seriously. They have practical experience working with clients. Virtual counselors want to help their clients with issues like living with anxiety or coping with bipolar disorder. A counselor or counselor understands many mental health concerns. Finding a counselor who takes your insurance can be challenging. However, discovering affordable therapy virtually with a counselor is relatively easy. It’s cost-effective, and it works. More than a million people have tried therapy virtually with a counselor and highly recommend it. Just like an in-person therapist, a virtual mental health provider or counselor cares about your mental health. And a therapist can provide treatment in the medium that works best for you, whether it’s internet-based or telehealth, meaning speaking on the phone with your provider. You can find a therapist who understands your needs and can provide the treatment that works for you.

Is online therapy cheaper? 

When finding the best counselor or counselor for you, oftentimes, the cost is a factor in making your decision, with in-person therapy sessions costing upwards of $250 per session. In comparison, online therapy programs typically cost less than $100 per week. Even the best online therapy options are still very affordable for nearly every budget, and they still employ licensed counselors even for specific types like psychotherapy.

How much does online therapy cost?

Therapy virtually varies in cost. Some sites offer a free trial for new clients. After that, web therapy costs money. Talking to your counselor has various options, such as audio messaging, texting video chat session requests, or on the phone with your therapist. Quality mental health professionals care about their clients. Whether you see a therapist in person or a counselor virtually, you definitely have options. In addition to seeing a counselor in person, you can also find affordable counselor options virtually. Some sites offer counselor sessions as low as $40 a meeting. The price of therapy virtually with a counselor differs depending on your needs. Shop around for your counselor, but make sure that the therapists are licensed wherever you seek therapy virtually.

Is there any free therapy?

Finding a site that offers virtual therapy for free can be a challenging process, especially if you are looking for specific types like psychotherapy, as many free options don’t employ licensed counselors.

Instead, they rely on volunteers or counselors, who may not have the tools or training necessary to help you work through your issues. Counselors, clinical social workers, and the like all go through years of schooling and often have licenses that make them experts at providing counseling.

How much does it cost to talk to a therapist?

The cost of talking to a counselor depends on why you're seeing them. In-person therapy can cost over $200 a session. Whereas therapy over the internet maybe $40 a meeting. It’s more effective than participating in support groups, in some ways, to speak to a counselor virtually.

Unlike these forums, therapy virtually provides individualized attention from your provider. Also, there are confidentiality clauses in place with treatment over the internet. A counselor reads to the client from the privacy policy if there are any concerns about confidential information.

How can I get free therapy?

Finding free therapy with a counselor can be challenging, especially for specific types like psychotherapy. Mental health treatment is an investment; whether you see a counselor for yourself or in couples therapy, you’re investing in your mental health. You can weigh the pros and cons of paying for therapy. When you think about it, there are so many benefits of seeing a counselor. 

Are therapists worth it?

Yes. You can improve your self-awareness with a personal counselor or work through issues with your partner. Couples see a lot of benefits from getting the help of a licensed counselor. It could be you and your partner participating in marriage therapy, psychotherapy, or using therapy over the internet for long-term relationship concerns.

Not only married couples attend couples therapy. Whether you see an individual counselor for psychotherapy or see a couples counselor for you and your partner, you can get enormous benefits from therapy.


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