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Online / Video / Teletherapy

Online counseling is the provision of professional mental health counseling services through the Internet. Services are typically offered via email, real-time chat, and video conferencing. Some clients use online counseling in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, or nutritional counseling, and a growing number of clients are using online counseling as a replacement for office visits. While some form of tele-psychology has been available for over 35 years, the advent of internet video chat systems and the increasing penetration of broadband has resulted in a growing movement towards online therapy. Many of the methods used to facilitate online therapy sessions include a multimedia access platform such as TalkSpace and BetterHelp Online Therapy. Both of which enable users to receive initial treatment and therapy in a safe and discreet manner. Clients are using videoconferencing, live chat and email with professional psychologists in place of or in addition to face-to-face meetings. A growing body of research into online counseling has established the efficacy of online therapy with treatment outcomes at least equal to traditional in-office settings. Online therapy has additional benefits unrealized by office-based treatments as it allows the patient to attend sessions at a frequency than traditional sessions. The number of missed appointments is much less than with in-person therapy. There is some research to suggest that online counseling is more effective because a client is at greater ease and feels less intimidated than they would in traditional settings. This makes clients more likely to be honest and thus allow the counselor to provide better treatment.

There is a split within the counseling field on the validity of online counseling. Some practitioners have suggested that online counseling cannot be considered psychotherapy, while scientific journals such as The Lancet have published studies that conclude that online cognitive behavioral therapy is as effective as traditional "in-person" therapy for the treatment of depression.

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