Having online therapy

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, therapy has increasingly shifted online. Many people now have a preference for it and more therapists have since trained specifically for delivering therapy virtually.


We now know that online therapy is as effective as in-person sessions (1). There are many benefits of online therapy including no travel time, it takes place in the comfort of your own home, and can often be lower priced than in-person sessions. For those with mobility issues, it is a huge relief that therapy is increasingly virtual. 

Therapy sessions online are very different to having face-to-face sessions. Some worry that it will feel awkward or disconnected, but with some thought and preparation, this need not be the case. 

Remember that is it okay to explain how you feel about working online and ask for anything that may help you to feel more at ease. 

One factor to be mindful of is the pace of sessions. It is not uncommon with online sessions for the pace to be slightly faster; for people to share things sooner and in more detail than they would in person. But this is something a trained therapist would be mindful of and experienced in handling. 

Just remember that with online sessions, it may take a handful of sessions to settle into the swing of it, and for your brain to register the realness of the sessions (to some it can initially feel slightly detached), but this shifts in time as you increasingly get to know your therapist and relax into the rhythm of it. 

Considerations for online therapy

To help you feel comfortable and relaxed, try to think about the following points before your first session:

  • Try to ensure that you have a quiet and private place to join your online call where you will not be interrupted, disturbed, or overheard by anyone.
  • Wearing earphones may help with the above, as well as minimising any issues with echo and sound quality.
  • If at all possible, try and have some free time blocked out in the 10 to 15 minutes or so after your session so you have time and space to think and process anything that comes up in the session, not rushing to switch to a different mode.
  • Be prepared in advance for any connectivity issues: remember to keep your phone to hand and charged so that the session can switch to the telephone if needed.

Even though you may be at home try and think of it as a therapeutic time and space: 

  • Be prepared for your session with anything which you may need such as a glass of water or some tissues.
  • Try not to have any alcohol or stimulating/agitating substances during the session (i.e. caffeine) 
  • As with a face-to-face session, keep your phone either turned off or on silent mode, and minimise all other distractions on your laptop or computer

And finally, a note about the most common online therapy platform: Zoom. This is usually the preferred platform as confidentiality and security are vital to protect your sessions. If you are not already familiar with Zoom, you can sign up for a free account beforehand and watch one of many ‘how to’ guides on YouTube. 


1.   Hubley S, Lynch SB, Schneck C, Thomas M, Shore J. Review of key telepsychiatry outcomes. World J Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 22;6(2):269-82. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v6.i2.269. PMID: 27354970; PMCID: PMC4919267.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London N4 & E17
Written by Danielle Corbett, (MBACP (Accred), Adv. Dip)
London N4 & E17

I am a qualified and professionally trained psychotherapist in North London, with a background in NHS Mental Health Services. I work with a wide and very diverse range of people from all backgrounds, online and in-person in the Finsbury Park area.

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