Ask An Expert·2 min read

Is Online Therapy Just as Useful as In-Person Therapy?

Dear Expert,

Is online therapy just as useful as in-person therapy?

Dear Anonymous,

Generally speaking, online therapy through either video or audio conferencing is just as effective as face-to-face therapy, according to multiple studies, including randomized controlled trials. But there are still some unknowns, including:

  • How outcomes might differ between specific therapies and individuals... For example, a virtual setting may not always be the best fit for people undergoing therapy for trauma, PTSD, or severe mental illness. People at risk of crisis may also need more in-person therapy because taking someone to an ER is more challenging if you're not together.

  • Whether text therapy services are effective... which a lot of online companies offer as the first line of treatment. 

Ultimately, it's your preference. If you feel you can connect and work on your issues via video and your provider feels the same way, you’re likely a good fit for online therapy. Believing it could work is important.

Featured Expert

Vaile Wright

Vaile Wright - Psychologist and senior director of health care innovation at the American Psychological Association

Ask an Expert is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. By submitting a question, you are agreeing to let theSkimm use it—in part or in full—and we may edit its answer for length and/or clarity.

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