San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy

Online Therapy – How It Works


Online therapy is basically the same as regular therapy, except it happens online instead of in an office. This may be on the phone or using video conferencing. Sessions are typically 45 to 50 minutes, and may take place weekly, or at whatever frequency you and your therapist decide on. In between sessions, you usually have limited contact with your therapist just as with in-person therapy.

Online therapy may be paid for with health insurance, but just like in-person therapy, most online therapists do not directly take insurance. First, call your insurance company to make sure they cover online therapy which they may call something like teletherapy or telehealth services. They many have a list of providers that do online therapy. Otherwise, you will need to pay for therapy before each session and hope that the insurance company will ultimately reimburse you. Since only about 30 percent of licensed therapists take insurance, it may be a good idea to plan to pay out of pocket with the hope of getting reimbursed by your insurance company.

Phone Therapy Versus Video Therapy

Many therapists have been provided phone and online therapy for years, usually for special situations. A few examples: Someone moves too far away to continue office visits but wants to continue their treatment via phone.

Another example is two people who want to heal an estranged relationship, but one of them lives too far away for office visits. A couple wants to see a marriage therapist, but they live in a rural area. Instead of in-person therapy, it happens on Zoom.

Therapists who do phone and online therapy must be sensitive to nuances of people’s voice tone, inflections, and frame of mind. Sometimes, adding the visual part via Skype, Zoom, or another online method is better, because body language and facial expressions convey so much more of our communication, and they’re missing in telephone therapy. Some clients prefer phone therapy, which works fine in many situations.