Here Are The Differences Between Online Therapy And Traditional Therapy

Differences between online therapy and traditional therapy

Mental health issues are affecting millions of people around the world, and help is available. Therapy is a process of meeting with a qualified therapist to work out complex beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, and feelings. Choosing to start therapy is an excellent step towards achieving a healthier version of yourself and living your best life possible. Therapy enables one to change from self-destructive habits and behaviors, rectify painful feelings, and better your relationships. Before starting your therapy process, it is essential to create goals for your therapy and establish the necessary steps to achieve them. In any therapy setting, relationships with therapists are confidential and focus not only on the conversation but also on the process. There are two main modes of therapy: traditional and online therapy.

Traditionally, finding a therapist meant receiving a recommendation or referral, scheduling an appointment, and showing up for the session. For people dealing with anxiety or depression, hectic schedule or facing burnout, these steps limit them from accessing therapy. Online therapy is a new technology-assisted therapy approach, following similar theories to traditional therapy, but the provider and client virtually connect instead of sharing the same space. Online therapy promises quick access, lower costs and less stress of leaving the comfort of your home or office.

Online therapy

Various private therapists offer services through their personal electronic record management systems as part of their private practice. Individuals seeking online therapy also have multiple subscription services that offer contact with a therapist for an identified period according to your budget. As noted in BetterHelp FAQa person can set their therapist preferences through a quick questionnaire or manually select from a provided list. 

The pros of online therapy

Convenience– online therapy enables clients to meet their therapist without leaving their homes. Turning on a phone or computer is more accessible than driving through traffic and waiting in a waiting room for your session with your therapist.

Comfort– clients can attend their therapy sessions from the comfort of their homes or offices. Being in their own space or comfort zone helps clients emotionally cope or regulate a difficult conversation.

Access to skilled providers– people living in remote areas struggle to access quality mental healthcare services. Online therapy enables clients in rural areas to access experienced therapists with multiple specialties and receive help without much effort.

Requires limited resources– online therapy does not require transportation or additional time to access treatment.

Confidentiality-in traditional therapy, a client goes through more than one person to access their therapist. Online therapy allows a client to receive treatment without anyone else knowing.

Accessing affordable services without requiring a diagnosis– the high cost of traditional therapy makes it hard to pay out-of-pocket without receiving a diagnosis. Online therapy is more affordable and allows clients to receive treatment without a diagnosis.

Pros of traditional therapy

Multidimensional connection– therapists are well trained to form therapeutic relationships that enhance clients’ well-being and result in positive counseling. They connect with clients in person rather than using technology.

Systematic approaches to enhance results– during traditional therapy sessions, a client can work from different modalities and theories. In-person services enable clients to experience interventions on a range of senses, and it is easier for providers to deliver specific interventions such as movement-based treatment.

Holistic assessment of mental health– in-person therapy allows for a thorough evaluation of clients. A clinician can critically evaluate a client for a more accurate description and analysis.

Cons of online therapy

A decline in holistic experience– clients struggle to experience empathy from their therapist the same way they might in an in-person therapy session.

Technology issues-in online therapy, the session is dependent on the reliability of internet connection and electronic devices. When the connection is interrupted, the session is canceled.

Insurance cover– the majority of insurance providers do not cover online therapy due to being comparatively new. Most insurance companies provide cover for evidence-based practices.

Not suitable for everyone– people suffering from severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia are not appropriate for online therapy services.

Cons in traditional therapy

Inconvenience– clients seeking therapy services outside traditional business hours may find it hard to find an available therapist.

Unavailability of skilled providers– individuals living in remote areas cannot access providers, especially those who require specialized approaches or have unique needs.

The stigma associated with treatment– there is a social stigma associated with attending therapy, especially for clients with social anxiety.

Not accessible to everyone- clients suffering from social anxiety, agoraphobia, or physical disabilities are limited from attending or seeking therapy sessions.

High cost– traditional therapy requires a significant time commitment at a high cost of service.


Traditional and online therapy are closely related in terms of the services offered. Rapidly improving technology enhances our ability to connect without interference. Online therapy allows for more options of treatment, quick and easy access to multiple services. The general public has become more comfortable when seeking various virtual care options.

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