Health & Fitness

Pros and Cons of Virtual Counseling

Virtual counseling is on the rise. Fortunately, it’s not a fad trend, but instead a migration from traditional practices to the online world. After all, most industries are experiencing digitalization, from finance and retail to logistics and healthcare. 

Virtual counseling is simply the practice of receiving therapy or counseling sessions over the internet. This may be through text messaging, phone calls, or live video sessions. The goal, however, is to deliver the tried-and-tested practices of CBT but in a more accessible, cheaper, and convenient way. Cheap options for therapy online are in abundance.

Before looking at the online therapy pros & cons, it’s important to answer the most important question: does virtual therapy work?


Does virtual therapy work and is it effective?

When looking at the online therapy benefits, the only one that truly matters is that it is indeed effective. Without the backing of scientific studies, the whole movement would otherwise be a sham.

The evidence that therapy and counseling are just as effective whether delivered in-person or remotely is freely available, such as the following studies: treatment effectiveness in internet-delivered CBT, a comparison of electronically-delivered CBT with face-to-face, and finally, computer therapy for anxiety.

Pros of Virtual Counseling


For most people, it’s much easier to pick up their phone and make a call than it is to head down to a local office or cafe for a meeting. Perhaps the patient is in a rural area, lives a busy life, or is disabled, but there are many reasons why virtual counseling is simply more accessible. A smartphone or laptop plus a reasonably stable internet connection is all you need.


The biggest obstacle to getting counseling or therapy is usually the price, not where it’s located. This is where virtual counseling really triumphs, as there are many promotional deals and cheaper subscription plans. The lack of overheads, among other things, keeps costs down. Furthermore, there are even some free initiatives, though they may be limited in some capacity.

Stigma and anonymity 

Unfortunately, counseling still has a stigma. Whilst it’s eroding as each year passes, many people still feel embarrassed or ashamed to go seek help. Remote sessions are the perfect solution, as it feels anonymous, you can stay in your room, and even the therapist or counselor themselves may never get to see your face. This safe space is enough to get some people seeking help who otherwise would not have.

Greater choice over the counselor

Whether you’re looking for a counselor or therapist, you have literally tens of thousands of options, if not more, at your disposal when using online services. This is because they hire (licensed) therapists from around the world (or country), giving you a much greater choice than seeking help in your local area.


It’s much easier to connect to a counselor or therapist virtually than it is physically. Scheduling is one example, in which sessions are planned and altered using the latest technology. Plus, the lack of community from both ends allows us to fit more in our day, and thus a greater opportunity to find a time that works for both parties.

Choice over communication

Finally, anxiety tends to rise each year in the US, and this is in part driving the demand for online therapy. However, it also means that many people are anxious to go and have physical meetings with counselors and therapists. A greater choice of communication methods, be it texting or video calls, gives greater scope for the patient to be comfortable.

Cons of Virtual Counseling

Technical difficulties

Whilst things are more accessible in terms of being remote (i.e. for those that are disabled, live in rural areas, or have busy lives), this equally poses an obstacle for the technophobes who aren’t great with mobile applications. Perhaps they’re slow typers or have WiFi issues that prevent fluid video call sessions. Such glitches could negatively impact the results of the therapy.

No in-person connection

Whilst the studies show that most patients see just as effective results regardless of the communication vehicle, it doesn’t mean that some patients do not have a preference. Some people simply would rather know their therapist, what they look like, and have a more ‘real’ conversation. Others, however, simply do the CBT exercises and see equally great results regardless of the communication method.

Anonymous, but is it private?

There’s a lot of skepticism surrounding large tech companies, and rightly so. Many DNA testing sites have been found to be giving away your most personal data, as do most tech firms. Are online therapy sites the same? They claim that things are in order, but it’s difficult to really know. What we do know is that there’s a possibility of data breaches, leaks, and hacks, that could potentially expose our conversations and diagnoses. How big is that risk? It’s very difficult to say, but many of us accept these risks in many areas of our life – such as having intimate photos and passport details on the cloud, or personal conversations over Facebook Messenger.

Psychiatric limitations

Whilst therapy is deemed to be as effective online as it is in person, the data on if this stands true for psychiatry is less concrete. Psychiatric evaluations often benefit from physical assessments, like non-verbal behavior, and sometimes even physical treatments. Whilst online therapy can deliver effective medication management and behavioral therapy to psychiatric patients, it’s up in the air over whether they would be better off with a physical evaluation for their diagnosis.

Customer service

Tech firms that run large apps often have various automated customer service. At best, you tend to get through to a real person (though it’s sometimes hard to tell) via live chat. Whilst this is adequate when buying an air fryer, it may not be sufficient when dealing with your mental health. Perhaps you want to report your therapist for misconduct, or you have a unique issue surrounding your payment plan. A traditional therapist has an office that you can walk into and talk things out.


The online therapy benefits are far-reaching. For many, they will outweigh the cons, but each individual is different – particularly in the often-vulnerable state of needing treatment.

If you are considering virtual counseling, it is important to find a qualified therapist and to make sure that your mental health needs can be effectively addressed – particularly if you’re looking for psychiatry. Ultimately, the best form of therapy is the one that works best for you.



Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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