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Is Online Therapy Better or Worse than In-Person Therapy?

March 1, 2024

The Power of Online Therapy for Better Mental Health

In today’s fast-paced digital age, where our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology, it’s no surprise that the field of mental health is also experiencing a transformation. Online therapy, often referred to as teletherapy or telehealth, is gaining momentum as an effective and accessible way to promote mental well-being. In this article, we will explore the value of online therapy while drawing on recent peer-reviewed studies that explore its impact on mental health.

The Digital Revolution in Mental Health

As the world embraces the convenience of online services, mental health care has not lagged behind. Online therapy offers individuals the opportunity to connect with licensed therapists and counselors through digital platforms, such as video calls, chat, or phone calls. This revolutionary approach has democratized access to mental health services and holds immense potential for those who may have been hesitant or unable to seek in-person therapy.

A Growing Body of Evidence

Recent peer-reviewed studies have highlighted the effectiveness of online therapy in achieving positive mental health outcomes. Researchers are consistently finding evidence that supports the value of online therapy in treating various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research examined the outcomes of online cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression. The study concluded that online CBT was as effective as in-person therapy in reducing symptoms of depression and improving overall mental well-being.

Another 2022 study in JAMA Psychiatry focused on the efficacy of online exposure therapy for individuals with PTSD. The research found that participants who received online exposure therapy experienced significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of online therapeutic approaches.

Is Online Therapy As Good As ‘In-Person’ Therapy?

Several peer-reviewed studies have examined online therapy’s effectiveness in comparison to in-person therapy. Let’s delve into some of the recent research findings:

  1. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Anxiety, Stress, and Coping compared the outcomes of online cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to traditional in-person CBT for individuals with social anxiety disorder. The research concluded that both modes of therapy were equally effective in reducing social anxiety symptoms and improving overall functioning. This study underscores the value of online therapy as a viable alternative to in-person treatment for specific mental health conditions.
  2. A 2020 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research examined 17 studies involving a total of 3,876 participants and focused on the effectiveness of online therapy for depression and anxiety. The analysis found that online therapy produced significant and clinically meaningful reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Importantly, these outcomes were comparable to those achieved through in-person therapy, suggesting that online therapy can yield similar benefits.
  3. A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis in the journal JAMA Psychiatry assessed the efficacy of online treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The analysis of 24 studies involving 2,317 participants revealed that online interventions, including therapy, were effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. The results indicated no significant differences in treatment outcomes between online and in-person interventions, emphasising the potential of online therapy in treating PTSD.
  4. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology investigated the effectiveness of online therapy for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). The study involved 128 participants and compared the outcomes of online CBT to face-to-face CBT. The findings indicated that both formats were effective in reducing GAD symptoms, with no statistically significant differences in improvement between the two groups.
  5. A 2021 review article in the journal World Psychiatry summarised existing research on online therapy for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The review concluded that online therapy consistently demonstrated its effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes and had the potential to be a valuable complement to traditional in-person therapy.

Accessibility and Convenience

One of the standout benefits of online therapy is its accessibility. It eliminates geographical barriers, allowing individuals to connect with therapists regardless of their location. This is particularly valuable for those living in remote areas or facing mobility constraints.

Online therapy also offers unparalleled convenience. Busy schedules, work commitments, or childcare responsibilities can make it challenging to attend in-person therapy sessions. With tele-therapy, individuals have the flexibility to schedule sessions at times that suit their lives, promoting better engagement and adherence to treatment.

Personalised and Private

Online therapy platforms often offer a wide range of therapeutic modalities, ensuring that individuals receive personalised care tailored to their unique needs. Whether it’s cognitive-behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, or other evidence-based approaches, there is a therapy style to suit every individual.

Privacy is another key advantage. Engaging in therapy from the comfort of one’s own space can reduce the stigma associated with mental health care. It allows individuals to open up more freely, contributing to a more productive therapeutic relationship.


The digital era has ushered in a new age of mental health care, with online therapy emerging as a powerful and evidence-backed tool for improving mental well-being. Recent peer-reviewed studies continue to reinforce the effectiveness of online therapy in treating a range of mental health conditions.

As we move forward in an ever-connected world, embracing the value of online therapy can lead to better mental health outcomes for individuals from all walks of life. With its accessibility, convenience, and proven efficacy, online therapy offers a pathway toward greater mental wellness, ensuring that help and support are just a click away. Don’t hesitate to explore the world of online therapy and embark on your journey to improved mental health today.

If you have been thinking about getting online therapy and would like to get support from one of our exceptional therapists, just click on the button below to match with the best available therapist for your needs.

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