Best Online Therapy for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

We write our honest reviews but we may receive compensation from the below providers if you purchase products or services through the links provided. Read more here

Cognitive behavioral therapy, often abbreviated as CBT, is a contemporary talk therapy approach that seeks to identify and change negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as a means of treating mental health issues including but not limited to anxiety and depression. It is unique in its constructive and highly participatory approach to treatment; a person is encouraged to understand their current emotional state and thought patterns in creating regular, structured goals for their mental health.

betterhelp logo
Best Overall
5/5
online-therapy logo
Creative
4/5
talkspace logo
Best chats
4/5

What Is Online Therapy for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Online therapy for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is CBT delivered through an online medium, including but not limited to face to face video chat, phone calls, and text messaging.  Many providers are app-based and allow the participant full control and pacing of their therapy program. 

Who Is it For?

Online CBT therapy is ideal for anyone seeking a structured therapy option that is goal-oriented, less personally invasive compared to traditional analytical psychotherapy methods, and does not involve medication.

When Is the Right Time to Start

Starting any new therapy regimen is a personal choice.  Since CBT is a short-term therapy option that gets straight to the core of negative thoughts and behaviors and seeks to actively change them through evidence-based methods, it is made to be incorporated into the lifestyle of the contemporary person.

All that is needed to begin online CBT therapy is a stable internet connection and a desire to participate.  With a plethora of online mental health networks featuring their own rosters of skilled virtual therapists specializing in CBT, finding a provider who meets one’s needs is simple and straightforward.

Benefits

Convenience and Accessibility

Online CBT therapy is a great option for those who otherwise would have been unable to partake in a therapy program; however, all sessions are rendered online, a person is afforded the convenience of therapy without the need to take time out of their existing schedules to commute to a mental health professional’s office. The participant has the benefit of engaging in all sessions from the comfort and privacy of their home, which can be an important consideration for someone with social anxiety.  Many larger online therapy networks offer their services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that all busy schedules are accommodated.

Online CBT programs also come at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy since online-based counselors have fewer overhead costs relative to their office-based counterparts.  Many programs that do not involve a counselor cost even less – some are even free to use. 

Direct Approach

The directness of online CBT therapy is attractive to those who have no previous therapy experience. The rational, outcome-oriented nature of CBT seeks to impact change from the first session. Online CBT therapy Is also a welcome change for a person who has experienced traditional talk therapy but feels that their current therapy sessions are effective.

Web-based CBT therapy is as interactive as the participant desires; although many paid formats pair a person with a mental health coach or a licensed therapist who acts as their guide through therapy sessions, some formats are purely participant-led and allow a person to guide themselves, at their own individual pace, through all activities of their program.

Messages

Phone calls

Video Chats

Online vs. In-Person

Meta-analyses comparing the outcomes of online CBT programs to in-person CBT programs demonstrate that online-based methods are just as effective as their in-person counterparts when it comes to mental illness, helping significantly with everything from depressive disorders and panic disorder to social anxiety.

The decision to choose an online provider or a traditional, office-based provider rest solely on the participant.  A person who sees a benefit in being guided through their CBT program with the support of a mental health professional is encouraged to pursue the option that best suits their personal needs.  However, if a person does not feel as though this face-to-face interaction is essential to their treatment plan and is comfortable with a more independent approach, online CBT may be the ideal solution.

How Does It Work

Instructor-Led

The instructor-led approach to online CBT is ideal for the person who feels that they need a little more guidance in adhering to therapy. The online CBT therapy programs that involve the expertise of a licensed counselor feature a matching platform that takes into consideration the demographics of the participant, including their self-identified mental health issues, in choosing the right therapist for each person. This therapist becomes the participant’s key point of contact for the duration of treatment and is a trusted resource for important feedback and direction.  Many programs are delivered using a mixed-methods approach involving face to face video conferencing, regular homework activities, and text messaging.  Participants are still able to control all levels of contact with their therapist and can indicate whether daily or weekly check-ins best suit their communication style.

Participant-Led

The barriers to entry when it comes to participant-led online CBT treatment are very low.  A person simply finds a program that focuses on one or more of the mental health issues they want to address, registers for the platform, and begins their new therapy regimen through a series of lessons, courses, and hands-on activities that serve as fixtures in many web-based programs.  One of the advantages to such online-based CBT platforms is the ability to control the pacing of the program.  If a person feels that they need to spend more time on a certain activity or point of focus, they have the option to slow down and do so.

How to Choose the Best Online Counselor

There are still significant advantages to having a counselor on board when participating in online CBT therapy.  The careful guidance of a mental health professional ensures that the participant remains motivated and accountable throughout the course of the program.

Credibility

A skilled CBT therapy specialist has both the educational credentials and the clinical experience specializing in proven CBT methods to make them successful in serving a wide variety of clients.  Looking for CBT-related accreditations under a therapist’s belt is a sure-fire way to ensure that the therapist is dedicated to the discipline.

Personality Fit

Even though CBT by its very nature is far less intensive than traditional analytical psychotherapy methods and does not require the participant to divulge vast amount of personal information, it is still imperative that both the counselor and the participant feel comfortable working with each other. The participant should feel genuinely supported by their online CBT therapist.

Look for Reviews

Do your research across the different online provider networks to determine the programs you feel best meets your individual needs. Online therapy sites are a great way to gain insight regarding what to expect from each program. Each teletherapy provider that offers CBT has its own distinguishing features and options. Many feature face to face video conferencing, as well as phone call and text messaging capability, while others are heavily chat-based. Some providers are able to take insurance, whereas others are strictly subscription-based and require program costs to be covered by the participant.

Concluding Thoughts

CBT is a great option for individuals who are interested in a mild, short-term form of therapy that is designed to be effective yet accommodating to the modern lifestyle. In contrast to traditional therapy, which tends to be therapist-led, the highly participatory nature of CBT allows the individual to actively work through negative thoughts and behaviors and seek rational solutions to common mental health issues. Finally, the flexibility of CBT programs is ideal for the motivated person who desires to work at his or her own time and pace.

Related Topics: