In-Person Therapy Vs. Online Therapy: Which Is Right For You?

With online therapy services becoming increasingly accessible over the last two years, more people are turning to teletherapy to access mental health treatment from the comfort of their own homes. Although it can feel like a significant adjustment, online therapy can be a valuable resource, whether you’re experiencing acute stress or living with a mental health condition.

No matter where you are in your mental health journey, it’s crucial to find the right type of therapy for you. Whether you’re starting therapy for the first time, thinking about transitioning to online therapy, or moving from teletherapy to in-person therapy here are some factors to consider.

Online or In Person Therapy

Communication

The main difference between online therapy and in-person therapy is the method of communication. In-person sessions take place in a therapist’s office, and you can meet with your therapist face-to-face. This can be especially helpful, as in-person sessions make it easier to pick up on body language, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues. Online therapy is like face-to-face therapy with one major caveat. Instead of meeting at your therapist’s office, your therapy sessions are held over a phone call, text message, or video chat, depending on your preferences and online therapy platform. Online therapy platforms use a secure HIPAA-compliant platform to communicate with clients, so you won’t have to worry about risking your privacy or confidentiality during a teletherapy appointment.

Convenience

If you’re juggling a hectic schedule, online therapy is a much more convenient option than traditional therapy. Instead of commuting to your therapist’s office every week, you can log into a website or therapy app from the comfort of your own home. Many online therapists offer flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend appointments so that you may be able to choose the best appointment time for your schedule. Online therapy is also a convenient option for people who struggle to access in-person therapy sessions. It can be especially helpful for clients who lack transportation, live far from specialists, or have a disability. With teletherapy, you can access quality mental health treatment from the comfort of home—all you need is a reliable internet connection.


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Cost

Whether you’re seeking pride counseling, couples therapy, or cognitive behavior therapy, cost of therapy is an essential factor. Many insurance companies cover the costs of treatment for mental health conditions, which typically includes in-person therapy sessions. Online therapy sessions are commonly covered too. If you work with a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, or psychiatrist in their office, your insurance plan might cover most of all of their fees, depending on whether your plan offers mental health benefits, and whether the therapist accepts your insurance. We recommend checking with your insurance company first so there are no surprises later. Similarly, contact your insurance provider to determine whether your health insurance covers telehealth services. Some mental health professionals offer sliding-scale payment options for clients without insurance coverage if you’re looking to lower your out-of-pocket costs. At The Therapy Group of DC, we’ve created a lower-fee practice in DC, the Capital Therapy Project, to offer low-cost mental health services to DC residents.

Effectiveness

Research shows that teletherapy provides the same quality of care as traditional therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, teletherapy is just as effective as in-person sessions for treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders. Even though teletherapy can effectively treat most mental health issues, it’s not suitable for everyone. For example, if you have a severe mental illness that requires more intensive care or prefer to communicate in person, online therapy might not be the best option. Still, teletherapy offers several benefits, and accessing psychotherapy from the comfort of home often makes it easier for prospective clients to take the first step.

How To Find the Right Therapist

Whether you’re interested in online therapy or in-person sessions, it’s essential to find someone you feel comfortable with. According to the American Psychological Association, your therapeutic relationship—the relationship between you and your therapist—can make all the difference in your mental health journey. Even the best online therapist won’t be able to help if you don’t feel comfortable with them, so it’s worth taking the time to find a therapist who specializes in your specific needs and helps you feel supported.

To find the right therapist, reach out to a licensed therapist through The Therapy Group of DC. We know that starting therapy can feel intimidating, and we’re here to help you with customized treatment based on your unique preferences and mental health needs. One of our compassionate mental health professionals will help you explore your treatment options so you can regain your strength and start feeling better.

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