Is Online Therapy or Virtual Counseling Right for You?
Are you searching for a convenient online alternative to traditional counseling sessions, but with the same personal touch and high customer service as in person? Do you want to reach out for help but just don’t have the time or space for counseling in your life?
Perhaps you’re too overwhelmed with anxiety, stress, and daily preoccupations to even think of navigating traffic to visit a therapist’s office. Or maybe a physical limitation, health concern, medical condition, chronic illness, chronic pain, transportation, or mental health issue makes leaving the house a complex challenge.
If this sounds familiar, you may be the perfect candidate for our phone or video-based online counseling services with our highly trained, licensed, and specialized therapists.
In the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic social distancing and heightened anxiety, online counseling can be a comforting reprieve and a safe source of ongoing support.
Telehealth Makes Mental Health Services Accessible
If you are looking for help dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, eating disorders, trauma, child, parenting & family concerns, career issues, working with a therapist online through video therapy can help.
Or perhaps you just need some additional support in your life. During times of stress and anxiety, loneliness and isolation or uncertainty, having a regular support system in place is critical.
Maintaining your mental health during times of stress is just as important as caring for your physical health and can help you maintain a strong immune system.
What Clients are Saying About Online Therapy Sessions
“Online therapy is going very well. Diana is a great listener, receptive, and even though the sessions are online, she was able to perceive my level of anxiety and help me center myself, be present with my feelings, and let those feelings go. It was very helpful.” – Virtual Individual Counseling
“My daughter is enjoying the online counseling sessions very much and feels like time goes by faster.” – Virtual Teen Counseling
“I am happy with online therapy. I would have thought the video session wouldn’t create a great connection, but online sessions have not affected that in any way. My sessions are going very well, and I am getting the help I need.” – Virtual Individual Counseling
“Considering I work from home and constantly connect with people virtually, you’d think I wouldn’t be surprised at how well my video session went, but…I was. I found the connection with my therapist to be just as intimate, maybe even more-so, as my in-person sessions.
It’s convenient, while still giving me the outlet and processing room I need. We have been able to work on the same things (even EMDR for my PTSD) virtually as we were working on in our in-person meetings. I’m actually more motivated to attend my online counseling sessions now.” – Virtual Trauma Therapy
“Virtual therapy has allowed me to feel even more relaxed and have a more flexible time and location. I also feel it’s more discrete.”
–Virtual Depression Therapy
“We have done both in-person and video sessions and have found video sessions are just as effective as in-person sessions. Sometimes we feel video sessions can be better, because you are in the comfort of your own home and feel like you can open up more.” – Virtual Couples Counseling
“Suzanne was able to get around the fact that I was not in person and give me homework assignments to help me to remain proactive despite not being able to meet in person.” –Virtual Counseling
“I thought the virtual counseling aspect might hinder our relationship with the therapist and our ability to build intimacy, but it hasn’t. I feel therapy is just as effective and far more convenient, especially considering that Houston traffic is horrible and we live across town.” –Virtual Couples Counseling
“The video sessions, I feel, are quite helpful in making me feel comfortable. I can be in a different location that is familiar to me, which makes it easier to open up and share.” -Virtual Trauma Therapy
Online Therapy FAQ’s
Many individuals who could benefit from counseling online simply don’t know enough about the process to feel comfortable with initiating sessions. Therefore, we’ve put together a few frequently asked questions that may help shed some light on how virtual therapy works.
What exactly is the difference between online therapy and traditional therapy?
The only real difference between these two types of therapy is that instead of meeting with your therapist in-person at a set location, you get to work from wherever you would like to via the internet (video/webcam) or phone. With the online therapy platform, we can accommodate almost any schedule.
With traditional counseling, you’re limited to the time and space in your schedule that will allow you to trek across town for that appointment.
Some mental health issues just can’t wait. You can meet with your licensed therapist directly from home, the office, or even your car.
Our video counseling service provides mental health care that meets you where you are and conforms to your personal needs for safety, comfort, and convenience.
Can I expect the same level of care from an online counselor as opposed to traditional therapy?
Absolutely. The licensed professional counselor that you will be working with online is the same one our Client Care Coordinators would pair you with if you came into our physical location for traditional therapy.
We don’t just have one generalist who takes care of the virtual side of things. Instead, all our therapists are licensed by the American Counseling Association with their areas of specialization. So you can look forward to working with someone uniquely qualified to address your specific situation.
Further, our online therapy program provides the same exceptional customer service and attentive therapy as our live sessions.
How do I pick a therapist?
Our Client Care Coordinators are available Mon-Fri to help find a good therapist for you, answer your questions, or address any needs you have. Appointments are open seven days/week.
Is online mental health therapy effective?
If you are wondering if online therapy “is legit,” have faith. Many organizations have extensively researched video chat sessions’ efficacy to find what type of therapy is best. They have found no difference in the effectiveness of working with a psychologist online versus traditional counseling methods.
In fact, in our professional experience, we routinely find that clients are more inclined to open up and share their stories with their mental health counselors when they feel at ease. That’s one of the reasons why web therapy can be so powerful.
When you are working from your comfort zone, therapy has one less barrier to break down before healing can take place. It can help you get to the root of your mental health concerns quicker.
Does online therapy work?
Research shows that online therapy does work! Read these studies to learn more about the effectiveness and benefits of online counseling.
Why virtual therapy rather than traditional counseling?
Why might you choose video counseling? We understand that life can get in the way of self-care. We wanted to make sure that there was one less obstacle for our clients to overcome.
Online therapy platforms are incredibly convenient. A couple of benefits of online counseling include eliminating the hassle of taking off from work, finding a sitter for the kids, navigating traffic, fighting bad weather, spending money on gas, or simply finding the motivation to go.
Plus, wait times are shorter, there’s greater anonymity, and you have greater flexibility in scheduling—including Sundays and evening hours.
And if you live in a rural area or have a hard time finding an excellent licensed therapist who can offer the specialized mental health care services you need, online sessions are the perfect resource. By eliminating all of those distractions and deterrents, you can finally concentrate on taking care of yourself without stressing about it.
What are the additional benefits of online counseling?
One of the surprising benefits of web therapy is that it potentially allows us to see who you are within the context of your real life. All too often, traditional therapy sessions force clients to assume unrealistic versions of themselves.
Video counseling gives your therapist a unique perspective. They might pick up on additional bodily or emotional cues that otherwise might not be noticeable in a traditional counseling setting. That added level of insight can help us develop a treatment strategy that is more individualized and tailored to meet your needs.
Being in a comfortable setting can also help you get to the root of your concerns much quicker.
What can online therapists help with?
Just as in our physical office, we will strive to match you with someone who is specifically qualified to target your needs. Our licensed professional counselors are trained in a variety of evidence-based interventions.
These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), EMDR, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Child Counseling & Play Therapy and the Gottman Method.
What mental health services are available online?
Most types of therapy and mental health care treatments available through traditional face to face counseling are also available as online therapy programs. Our licensed therapists are also trained in specific interventions designed to be effective in video counseling.
Initially, we began online therapy needed in the wake of natural disasters and multiple effective interventions were developed to assist with a wide variety of behavioral health concerns.
Whether you are recovering from infidelity, battling an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, or seeking therapy for depression/anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and self-esteem issues. Boundary issues, anger management, panic disorder, or working your way through a tough transition, we have someone who can help. You can choose to work with a CBT therapist online, a marriage and family therapist or even parent-child online therapy.
Consequently, if you would like to see a full list of our specializations and services, please click here . You can seek counseling for any of our service areas via online therapy.
Can I receive EMDR therapy through online counseling? Is it effective?
Our licensed therapists have specific, effective EMDR therapy protocols for online counseling. We have found this to be an effective treatment modality for trauma and PTSD recovery both in person and online.
Is Brainspotting therapy available in online sessions?
Like EMDR, brainspotting, another trauma and PTSD counseling technique, can be effectively conducted online.
Do you offer couples therapy or marriage counseling online?
We also offer online couples counseling in addition to our individual online sessions. Couples can also participate in online relationship counseling for relationship issues, or parenting concerns. With couples counseling, it’s important initially to meet on a regular basis to heal negative patterns of communication and build new skills, rather than use counseling as an emergency resource.
Couple or marriage counseling often gets stalled due to the challenge of matching up schedules for in person visits. When this happens, it is difficult to make the changes suggested by marriage and family therapists needed to get unstuck from negative cycles and learn new coping skills.
The benefits of online couples therapy include having greater flexibility to attend sessions without having to worry about driving in Houston traffic or finding childcare to attend therapy sessions. This allows you and your partner to make effective and necessary changes to break negative cycles.
Web therapy for couples is very similar to face to face or traditional counseling. It’s conducted via video, even if one partner is out of town. This makes it much more convenient to participate in regular live sessions.
Ideally, you and your partner can be together online, but it’s also OK if you are both at different locations. However, we do prefer that you both have access to a video camera, whether through your phone or webcam so you can see your partner and your family therapist on screen.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are more than welcome to participate in online marriage or couples counseling.
Can I get help for my child through online therapy?
YES! We have several effective types of therapy for working with children with behavioral health or mental health issues, even young children under the age of 10 through web therapy.
For young children, we typically meet with the parent first in a live chat session. In subsequent online child therapy sessions the family therapist may guide the parent through effective interactions with their child through parent-child play therapy.
This helps parents learn how to effectively guide and interact with their child at home. Prior to the session, the licensed therapist may discuss specific toys to have available at home during the video session.
Below are some testimonials from parents actively participating in the video chatting therapy platform rather than traditional counseling.
What about counseling services for my teen online?
Web therapy can be very effective for teens like traditional therapy. And with the typical busy schedule, live chat sessions can ensure your teen gets the consistent help from a professional counselor that they need to make progress towards their treatment goals.
Adolescents and young adults may feel freer to express themselves to a licensed therapist in the comfort of their homes. They tend to enjoy working online with their counselor in this therapy platform with video chatting sessions because it’s such a familiar communication method for them.
Their family therapist will get to see them in their everyday environment, providing a layer of perspective they would not otherwise have. The therapists are licensed to help teens identify specific items in their environment that can be incorporated into coping strategies.
For teens and older children, having access to art supplies at home can be helpful. Additionally, teens might find support through virtual teen skills groups.
Teens might also benefit from talking therapy because it allows them to get “unstuck”.
What about online group therapy or online DBT skills groups?
Research has found the online group therapy platforms “fosters well-being, a sense of control, self-confidence, feelings of more independence, social interactions, and personal empowerment.” All of which is much needed in developing coping skills and handling specific conditions of stress anxiety.
Further, an analysis of multiple different studies found that online therapy groups consistently produced positive results with a diverse range of mental health concerns. We find online group therapy works best when everyone is connected through video live chat sessions.
Do you offer online career guidance and testing?
You may prefer to use video so you or your career counselor can share career documents and resources with you on the video call such as a resume or career testing results.
You will also receive a copy of your career testing results in your email prior to your appointment. Your licensed counselor will review the results with you in your appointment.
What will I need in order to receive therapy online?
It’s really quite easy to access internet based therapy. You only need three things:
1) a PC, laptop, phone, or tablet with a microphone and camera/webcam;
2) a stable and reliable internet connection (please use Wi-Fi to prevent signal drop); and
3) a quiet place where you can talk freely.
We will send you a unique, confidential link to access your video session with your licensed therapist one hour prior to your appointment time. Other than that, you just need a desire for personal growth and a willingness to move forward.
As with traditional counseling, you will set up an appointment time with your therapist. At the scheduled appointment time your therapist will reach you by the agreed-upon method. Appointments are usually scheduled in 45-minute increments. But you are welcome to discuss your needs with your therapist for shorter or longer session lengths.
I’m concerned about privacy….
It’s understandable to be concerned about privacy and confidentiality. Especially in the event you are scheduling a session when you are in the same vicinity as others. Here are some strategies to keep your session private:
- Use a headset. Rather than using your phone or computer’s speakers, connect a headset via bluetooth to your phone or computer (or just plug it in). This will keep the sound in your ears only.
- Use whitenoise to add soundproofing in your area. Put the whitenoise outside of the room you will be in for your session.
You can use a whitenoise app if you don’t have a machine. You can ask an amazon alexa or google home device to “play white noise”. Or you can play soft music in the room nearest to you. A baby whitenoise machine works great too! Just put it right outside your door to muffle the sound.
- Go outside or in your car. If you are in small quarters, you may want to step outside on a patio, in a park, or even find a quiet space in your car. And getting outside is great for your mental health too!
How secure is video therapy? How is client data protected in online therapy?
We want to assure you that all of our video sessions are held to the highest possible level of confidentiality. Once you schedule your appointment, you will be sent a link. This link will take you to your assigned therapist over a protected connection to our secure internet based therapy platform.
We use an encrypted, secure, HIPAA compliant link that represents the highest standard of protection in the healthcare field. You are the only person who knows you are speaking with a licensed therapist.
We recommend you ensure that you have a private space available when you connect with your therapist online. This way you can protect yourself from being overheard and feel comfortable during your therapy chat session.
For this reason, please avoid using public places such as coffee shops for your video counseling session. If you have others in your home, you might want to play music nearby for soundproofing.
I teleconference for work and don’t have the bandwidth for more computer time.
Do walk and talk phone therapy. You can use your phone, get outside and go for a walk or at least be in nature. By doing a chatting session on the phone with a headset, you can free yourself up to move your body. Or at least get outside and stretch.
Movement helps you to get unstuck and it releases feel-good hormones in your body.
A benefit of online therapy is combining physical movement with emotional processing facilitates openness, creativity, and those wonderful ‘aha’ moments. Have you ever taken a walk and suddenly found your head clear? Or perhaps even come up with an idea or a solution to a problem you had been stewing over?
For some people doing walk and talk therapy instead of sitting can facilitate greater progress in therapy. Walking phone therapy supports healthy coping outlets for anxiety, trauma, and depression.
For ADHD coaching, it is actually preferred to be able to stand up, and move your body to release excess energy and clear your mind. This helps with executive functioning skills such as focus while also facilitating relaxation.
How long has this online therapy been available?
Distance counseling has been around for a number of years, so it’s not exactly a new development. However, professionals in the medical field are relying on telehealth, video-based, online conferencing, to supplement their clients’ well-being more than ever.
Whether doctors, psychiatrists, licensed psychologists, or psychotherapists, all health professionals are finding that telehealth online services can help individuals in ways that traditional in-person visits cannot.
Our practice has been working with clients online since 2005. We have extensive knowledge and experience in virtual therapy. We also stay up to date on the most recent trends, research, and advances in the online counseling and therapy field through professional organizations such as the Telebehavioral Health Institute.
Our therapists have been trained specifically in distance therapy and some are certified as Distance Credentialed Counselor. We also stay current within our profession through associations such as the American Psychological Association or the American Counseling Association.
Are online therapists licensed professionals?
Yes. Just as in traditional therapy, our online therapy providers are all required to be licensed mental health professionals in the state they are serving. Our therapists are licensed psychologists, licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical social workers.
Their license authorizes them to provide therapy methods in the state they are licensed. While they may also work as life coaches or career counselors, you can rest assured that our licensed therapists have completed the rigorous training methods to work as a qualified mental health professional.
Can I use my HSA for online therapy?
Yes, therapy services are provided by licensed mental health professionals. We only conduct legitimate online therapy sessions similar to in person therapy, which qualifies as a medical expense.
You may use your FSA or HSA card for all therapy services provided by Eddins Counseling Group.
Are online mental health services conducted through chat or text messaging?
Unfortunately, our therapy providers do not conduct therapy online via texting therapy, text message, video chatting, or chat sessions because we feel that it’s not as effective as web therapy with live video.
Are there any reasons why teletherapy may not be for me?
Online counseling is not the same as face-to-face psychotherapy and is not an appropriate treatment for all client’s mental health concerns. There are pros and cons to both methods.
Online therapy is not an appropriate form of counseling if your presenting issue is an emergency. If you are having suicidal or homicidal thoughts distance therapy is not a good fit.
Furthermore, if you are in a crisis, having suicidal thoughts, or if you are in imminent danger or a life-threatening emergency, we implore you to call 911 for immediate help or go directly to the nearest emergency treatment center.
You can find emergency resources here if you need to speak to someone immediately.
Traditional therapy would be a better fit to ensure your safety and provide more effective treatment.
We will conduct a screening prior to engaging in therapy via online counseling to make sure it is a good fit for you. If it is determined that you would be better served via face-to-face methods, we will assist you with locating an appropriate referral.
Technical Steps to Prepare for Your First Online Therapy Appointment:
- Make sure the desktop/laptop you are using has a built-in camera or webcam. (This is the same as what you would normally use for facetime or similar service).
- If you are using a phone or tablet, you will be prompted to download the JANE app to your mobile device. You will receive a link in your email. Go ahead and download the app from your email link so you are ready at the time of your appointment.
- You will receive a link to access your session through video in your appointment reminder email one hour prior to your appointment time. Just click on the link and you will be connected to your therapist!
- If you prefer to meet via phone, let our admin team know at the time of scheduling. Or let your therapist know the best number to reach you.
Talk to a Counselor Online
While we offer standard, in-person sessions with highly-trained and qualified professionals at our counseling center in Houston, TX, we also bring that same level of quality and specialist expertise to our online clients. And if you’re local to Houston, you always have the option of scheduling an in-person session from time to time as well.
Eddins Counseling Group offers online therapy services to residents of Texas, including Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and more.
Online therapy services are also available to residents of New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arizona, Washington and other locations upon request.
Are You Ready To Find a Good Fit Online Therapist for You or a Family Member?
If you would like to know more about our services or to set up an appointment for your first video therapy session, please call 832-559-2622 or schedule a free initial consultation.
Our warm and compassionate staff would be pleased to address any additional questions or concerns you may have.
When you call we can help you find a therapist who is the best fit for your unique needs and concerns. We look forward to helping you!
Set Up Your First Virtual Counseling Appointment
If you are ready to schedule an appointment, you can learn more about our mental health counselors here.