3 Reasons You Should Try Virtual Therapy

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3 Reasons You Should Try Virtual Therapy

Learn why seeing a mental health therapist online can help as much as in-person care, plus get expert tips for making the most of every teletherapy session. 

For many of us, home is where we feel the most comfortable. It’s where we can kick off our shoes and really be ourselves. So it makes sense that having a therapy session from home could be a positive experience. All you need to make it happen is a strong internet connection, a bit of privacy, and a willingness to make it work.

That last part is the most important, says Nicole Lipkin, Psy.D. “It really comes down to our mindset and how we choose to perceive the differences between virtual and in-person therapy.” Lipkin is a psychologist and the founder and chairperson of Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services, based in Philadelphia. Virtual therapy, or teletherapy, can make it easier to get mental health care when you need it. But therapy in any form works only as well as you allow it to, Lipkin adds.

Feeling on the fence about teletherapy or therapy in general? Here are just a few of the benefits of talking with a trained behavioral health professional — online or in person. And if you’re ready to book a teletherapy appointment, we have tips for making the most of your session. 

  1. Therapy can help you let go of your worries.
    Whether in person, on the phone, or on a video call, talking about things that worry or upset you helps to release those thoughts from your brain. That way, they don’t build up over time (and possibly grow stronger), says Lipkin.

    Of course, your problems won’t disappear after a single therapy session. But you may feel a little clearer and lighter from talking with someone. And freeing up some mental space can leave you more ready to handle other stress that comes your way, Lipkin notes.

  2. You’ll gain a fresh perspective.
    Talking with someone you trust may help you see that some issues are easier to address than you thought. Or you might find that smaller problems are really covering up a larger issue. Your therapist can help you clarify what’s troubling you. Then they can help you work through or problem-solve your issues. 

    “I like to equate therapy to a to-do list,” Lipkin says. “When you keep a busy to-do list in your head, it can become overwhelming. But when you start talking about it out loud or getting it on paper, you start to realize what’s urgent, versus what’s not.” From there, says Lipkin, you can create a plan for making it more manageable.

  3. You can learn to stop repeating negative thoughts.1
    It’s easy to form negative thoughts that play over and over in our minds. Negative thinking can make you feel down about yourself and your future. It also raises your risk for depression and anxiety. 

    Therapy can help break these unhealthy patterns. It allows someone else to challenge the way we think, feel, and put our thoughts together. It can help you see how your thought patterns are harming your mental and physical health. Once you do, you’ll be open to ways to use more positive self-talk. 

    Your therapist can help you with that too. They might suggest you do the following:
    • Practice positive thinking. 
    • Practice mindfulness or living in the moment.
    • Keep a gratitude journal.

    Need help finding an in-network therapist? Use your Wellframe app to connect with your care advocate through the secure messaging system. They can help you find a therapist, book an appointment, and get the support you need.
3 Steps to Make the Most of Virtual Therapy Sessions 

Online therapy can be just as productive as a session outside your home. These steps can help you make virtual sessions even more helpful. 

Even if you’re unsure about virtual care, it’s important to go in with a positive outlook. “If you have this mindset that virtual care isn’t going to work, or that it’s secondary to in-person therapy, then it’s going to feel that way,” Lipkin says.

“One of the things that’s so nice about in-person therapy is that it’s a change of environment,” Lipkin says. Visiting a different place for an hour is often just enough of a much-needed mental break. One study found that our emotions improve when we have more varied experiences during the day, versus staying in one place. That’s because our brains are hard-wired to react positively to new experiences and settings.

The good news: You don’t have to leave home to get a scenery change. Try doing your session in a different room from where you spend the most time or where you normally use your computer. If you have a small apartment, shift to a different corner. Or rearrange nearby furniture. 

Remember that privacy is also important. It lets you speak freely. Don’t live alone? Be sure to find a place where you won’t be overheard or interrupted by family members or roommates. If possible, book your session for a time when no one is home.

You might also want to ask your therapist about alternatives to video calls. That way, you could be away from a screen or your home if you like. “You can do your session on the phone and go for a walk, so long as there’s privacy,” Lipkin says.
This advice has more than one meaning. First, it’s important that your therapist sees you well during the session. Lighting plays a big part in that. Keep the lighting in front of you, not behind. Backlighting can make it hard to see your face. 

Also, remember that your therapist will have a harder time seeing your body language on a screen than if you were together in person. If your session is over the phone, they won’t see any visual cues about your mood. In those cases, you may need to be more direct in talking about how you’re feeling.
Final Thought

Maybe you’re used to in-person therapy. Or perhaps you’ve never seen a therapist. Either way, it’s normal that online sessions may feel a bit awkward at first. But you might be pleasantly surprised at how fast you get used to it. (Think about how quickly we all shifted to Zoom and FaceTime during the COVID-19 pandemic.) And once you do, you may find you prefer the ease and convenience of teletherapy. The only way to find out is to give it a try.

If you’re struggling with a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, don’t go it alone. You have access to mental health support included with your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) health plan. To connect with a nurse, download the free Wellframe app, enter access code NECHAT and your BCBSNE member ID.


[1] “How to Turn Your Negative Thinking Around.” Cleveland Clinic, October 3, 2019, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/turn-around-negative-thinking/#:~:text=A: Negative thinking makes you,-compulsive disorder (OCD). Accessed April 6, 2022. 

[2] Heller AS, Shi TC, Ezie CEC, et al. “Association Between Real-World Experiential Diversity and Positive Affect Relates to Hippocampal-striatal Functional Connectivity.” Nature Neuroscience, May 18, 2020, vol. 23, pp: 800-804.