What is Telehealth Therapy?

What is Telehealth Therapy – Overview

Telehealth therapy, often called “Teletherapy,” refers to any type of mental healthcare service delivered by the therapist to the patient using a digital communications network or platform.

As video and online communications technologies improve and become more accessible to people, an increasing number of certified therapists are integrating virtual visits (Telemedicine/Telehealth) as part of their mental health practice.

Teletherapy is a convenient way to deliver therapy treatment for patients and therapists alike. Studies have also shown that teletherapy can be as effective as conventional in-person counseling.

Here are some common examples of Telehealth Therapy:

  • Participating in online group chats for group therapy
  • Conducting mental health therapy sessions over the phone
  • Receiving instructions for therapy over instant messenger or email
  • Receiving therapy using video-conferencing for a person, a couple or a group
  • Using mobile apps that help patients connect with counselors/therapists and receive therapy

What are the Benefits of Telehealth Therapy?

What is Telehealth Therapy

What is Telehealth Therapy – Benefits of Telehealth Therapy

Telehealth therapy has a wide variety of benefits. Compared to conventional mental healthcare methods, telehealth has the following benefits:

Telehealth Therapy Benefits of Patients

Research suggests Teletherapy can be as effective as traditional in-person therapy for many mental health conditions. Here are some of the expected benefits of receiving mental healthcare services from certified therapists using Teletherapy:

  • Cost-effective – Teletherapy can reduce costs associated with mental healthcare by eliminating travel and related expenses. Patients incur substantial therapy-related low expenditures as they do not have to travel to and from the therapist’s clinic/office. Couples and single parents also save money for child care.
  • Easy access—There are many reasons a patient might not be able to access conventional therapy, such as a physical disability, scheduling issue, or geographical location. However, Teletherapy can be accessed from the comfort of one’s home or office, and it is relatively simple to schedule a virtual visit.
  • Improved privacy – Teletherapy can offer more privacy as patients can engage in sessions in private spaces without a public waiting room. Teletherapy alleviates any privacy concerns as the patient is at home.
  • Higher effectiveness – Surveys indicate high patient satisfaction with the quality of Teletherapy services.
  • Enhanced public health safety – The pandemic highlighted the importance of remote healthcare access to protect vulnerable populations. Teletherapy enables patients to access mental healthcare remotely, reducing infection risks during health crises.

Telehealth Therapy Benefits for Therapists

Many mental healthcare professionals find that teletherapy suits their treatment style and helps them meet their practice goals.

Some of the major benefits of Teletherapy for therapists are:

  • Broader patient access – Telehealth expands access to mental healthcare for individuals facing financial constraints, physical disabilities, or transportation challenges. This ease of access allows therapists to serve even more people. Teletherapy is an effective way to increase your potential client base and enhance your revenue.
  • Reduced overhead costs – Transitioning to Teletherapy can significantly reduce the expenses associated with maintaining a physical office
  • Less commuting – Similar to the patient, the therapists can use Teletherapy to offer services from their home, thus lowering commute costs and time.

Are there any disadvantages of Telehealth Therapy?

As is seen with any innovation, telehealth therapy has advantages and disadvantages.

Disadvantages of Telehealth Therapy for Patients

Telehealth therapy is not for everyone because some of its disadvantages include:

  • Therapy environment—For patients with little privacy at home, it can be tough to find the right time and space for Teletherapy sessions. For such people, it is more effective to choose in-person counseling.
  • Limited non-verbal cues – Communicating via electronic media can make it challenging for therapists to catch all non-verbal cues and subtleties that are more apparent in in-person sessions.
  • Compliance challenges – Teletherapy must adhere to HIPAA regulations to protect patient privacy, necessitating secure and encrypted communication methods.
  • Technical challenges—Various technical issues, such as software glitches or slow internet, can impact the effectiveness of Teletherapy sessions. These can include glitches in video software, slow internet connections, and even communication delays, which can make therapy sessions more stressful for patients. Besides this, many patients lack sufficient proficiency with technology to use or trust online communication platforms. For such patients, Telehealth Therapy may not be a convenient option.

Disadvantages of Telehealth Therapy for Therapists

Here are some issues and disadvantages of telehealth therapy for mental healthcare providers:

  • Privacy and security concerns—Therapists must ensure their telehealth platforms comply with HIPAA regulations to protect sensitive patient information securely. Hence, therapists must choose the appropriate platform and ensure security at par with patient satisfaction and technical proficiency.
  • Regulatory compliance – Therapists must navigate complex ethical and legal requirements, including adherence to regulations from state licensing boards in both the therapist’s and client’s locations.
  • Communication problems—Some patients may find it harder to form rapport with their therapists when using digital communication. Some therapists can also find it difficult to read body language and subtle non-vocal signs to provide the best quality treatment.
  • More client anonymity – Therapists who treat patients over online platforms can find it difficult to offer sufficient support to patients who pose a danger to themselves or others around them. Online platforms can also help patients conceal their true identity, and therapists must report any self-harm or endangering activity to authorities. However, online anonymity may make it more difficult for therapists to fulfill their duties completely.


Telehealth therapy is an excellent choice for those with problems attending in-person counseling. It is also an effective way for therapists to provide quality care to a larger number of people, especially the physically disabled or those in rural areas with no easy access to mental healthcare services.

See Also

Does Medicaid Cover Therapy

What is a Telehealth Psychiatrist

What is Telehealth Urgent Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield Telehealth

Blue Cross Blue Shield Telehealth Grants

Psychologist vs Psychiatrist

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