Congratulations on taking the next step in your therapy journey – deciding if online or in-person therapy is best for you. Stellar Pro has clinicians who offer online, in-person, or both! No matter which option you choose, Stellar Pro can connect you with a qualified and knowledgeable clinician to help you achieve your unique therapy goals.
In this article you’ll see us use the terms “online therapy”, “telehealth”, and “virtual therapy”. All of these terms mean the same thing – therapy that is done remotely, not in-person.
Online Therapy vs In-Person Therapy
When it comes to seeking mental health services, there are a few different options available. One of these options is online therapy. Online therapy is a form of counseling that takes place over the internet. This means that the therapist and the client are located in different locations, but the therapy takes place through a computer screen.
There are a few benefits to online therapy. One of the benefits is that it is available 24/7, which can be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping or who are always on the go and want to attend therapy outside standard office hours. Additionally, online therapy is cost-effective. This is because in many cases the cost of the therapy is based on the number of sessions that are completed, rather than on the number of sessions that are started.
While online therapy and in-person therapy have been shown to be equally effective, online therapy can lack the feeling of connectedness and may not allow the therapist to see a client’s personality, emotions, and reactions as fully as they would in the office. Some people deeply value this in-person connection and find online therapy off putting because of it.
As for in-person therapy, there are a few key benefits to in-person therapy over online therapy. First, online therapy can be difficult to access and can be more expensive if you’re paying out of pocket vs using insurance. Second, online therapy can be lonely and isolating. Third, online therapy may not be as effective for certain types of mental health issues, such as addiction or eating disorders.
There are also a few key drawbacks to in-person therapy. First, in-person therapy can be difficult to schedule and can be time-consuming. Secondly, in-person therapy can be difficult to access and can be expensive. Third, in-person therapy can be emotionally and physically challenging for some patients.
Let’s break down these pros and cons further in the sections below.
Online therapy allows you to access care you may not otherwise be able to get locally.
For some types of therapy – such as sex therapy, online may be the only way treatment is accessible. While many psychiatrists are capable and willing to discuss sexual concerns with their clients, few have undergone formal certification in this area or have relevant experience working with sex-related issues. In general, sex therapy is more commonly available in left-wing states and areas where there are more people, meaning that some clients may not be able to find a certified therapist anywhere near them. Telehealth allows those from all over the country access qualified professionals who might not otherwise be accessible for face-to-face visits.
Online therapy can be cheaper than in-person therapy.
Telehealth therapy could be more affordable for clients than traditional therapy. Traditional therapy can often be pricey, making it out of reach for certain populations. Some types of therapy are not traditionally covered under insurance – like sex therapy. Since sex therapists are not typically covered under a client’s insurance, these costs may become prohibitively expensive for many people so having a lower cost option is valuable.
Online therapy can be done from anywhere.
Virtual therapy has a more flexible schedule and eliminates commute times which decreases the amount of time spent.
For those with physical disabilities, commuting to a physical space may be more difficult than arranging a Zoom or phone session. Some clients may experience anxiety when discussing private issues such as sexuality, which can add to this feeling of uneasiness. In their own environment, where they feel safe and relaxed, these individuals would likely be able to address these concerns in an effective manner.
Online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy.
For some individuals or couples, virtual options may lack some of the intimacy fostered by proximity, eye contact, and physical touch. However, studies have shown that certain forms of online therapy can be as effective as face-to-face treatment when treating disorders and maladaptive behaviors.
Technical difficulties can happen.
If there’s an internet outage and you don’t have an alternative connection you can miss your session. Some therapists will reschedule but others will not.
Online therapy might not be a good fit for some people.
Online therapy works great for millions of individuals around the world, but it isn’t for everybody. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the most out of online therapy it may be worth trying in-person therapy.
Insurance is not often accepted for online therapy.
In-person therapy is still the primary way insurance companies want patients to see a therapist. While some are starting to cover online therapy, many insurance providers do not. If this is a big factor in finding a therapist for you then double checking who your insurance covers is essential.
In-person therapy allows you to interact with your therapist in person.
Sometimes, nothing beats being in the same room as another person. A disadvantage of online therapy is you and your therapist are miles apart. In-person therapy allows you to be in the same room as your therapist. This can help your therapist with reading body language that isn’t limited to your upper half. Most video calls are bust-up shots and don’t allow your therapist to view your leg movements.
In-person therapy lets you get out of the house.
Sometimes we just need to get out of the house. While online therapy can be done from anywhere, finding a quiet and private space outside your home or car can be difficult. In-person therapy allows you to get out of the house with a dedicated and guaranteed private space.
In-person therapy is often covered by insurance.
Online therapy is starting to gain popularity with insurance companies but unfortunately, online therapy is not always covered. Insurance companies will primarily direct you to in-person therapy.
It’s harder to find specialists in more rural areas in-person.
If you’re looking for a therapist, say a sex therapist, if you live in a more rural area you may struggle to find a therapist that fits your specific therapy needs in your area.
In-person therapy can be inconvenient.
If you do not have regular access to transportation or have a fear of driving, in-person therapy can be inconvenient and even cause stress. Even if you don’t find driving and have regular access to transportation, it can be frustrating to have to travel 30+ minutes weekly to your therapy appointment.
In-person therapy can be hard for some individuals.
Having a fear of driving, social anxiety, or agoraphobia are just some of the reasons why somebody may find it difficult to attend in-person therapy. For these individuals, online therapy can be a much needed option before transitioning to in-person therapy.
Now you know some of the key differences between online vs in-person therapy and their pros and cons. No matter which option you feel is best, Stellar Pro is here to help connect you with a qualified and knowledgeable therapist. Stellar Pro is the only therapy directory that verifies clinicians’ advanced training and expertise. That way, you know you are getting a therapist who is qualified to handle your unique therapy needs.