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Online vs. In-Person Therapy Appointments

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Online vs. In-Person Therapy Appointments

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Written by 
Nicole Laoutaris
Last updated: 
October 25, 2023
Professionally Verified by 

Therapists work from a range of locations—they may work out of their homes or rent space in a building shared with other therapists, or you might meet them virtually and remain at home for your sessions. Wherever your appointments take place, you can expect to be in a confidential and private space. 

Remote therapy sessions

Remote therapy appointments can be conducted with video software or over the phone. They are helpful for scheduling and travel flexibility, or in times of immediate need.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of remote and video therapy. Video conferencing can be done from the comfort of home and gives you a broader selection of professionals to choose from. You can access online therapy through your laptop, desktop, or mobile devices.

Many video conferencing platforms are designed for medical use and have strong security and privacy measures. You may also choose to connect with a therapist who operates independently from other apps or online services. In this case, you can reach them privately with apps like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. 

It’s up to your therapist to ensure the app they use is secure and private. If you’re unsure or want more information about your privacy or online security, make sure to ask your therapist.

Free hotlines, such as Telehealth, are accessible 24/7. Telehealth will connect you with a registered nurse (RN) who can provide talk therapy or offer additional resources. Phone calls are completely confidential.

Seeing a therapist out of your province

Because of the nature of remote therapy, you may be inclined to choose a therapist that is based outside of your home province. After all, finding the right fit for you might not be someone who lives nearby.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wishing to see a therapist based out of province:

  • Your coverage: If you have benefits/insurance for therapy, a therapist with a designation outside of your province might not be covered by your plan—it will be important to check first
  • Therapist’s insurance: Every therapist needs professional liability insurance to practice. Some insurance policies only cover a therapist to see clients based in their own province, or other specific provinces. Your therapist can let you know if they are covered to work with you.
  • Therapist’s college or association: Some therapist colleges or associations do not permit their members (therapists) to work with clients out of their province. Again, your therapist will let you know if this is the case.
  • Therapist’s comfort level: Depending on the challenges/issues you are looking to address in therapy, a therapist may recommend someone more local if they feel that would be the best for your well being.

Walk-in and low-cost therapy options

There are also walk-in options at low-cost clinics and hospitals, especially those focused on servicing certain groups of people, such as youth and young adults, women, people dealing with addiction, or people experiencing homelessness.

About the author
Nicole Laoutaris

Nicole Laoutaris is a freelance writer and adult learning professional based in the Greater Toronto Area. She specializes in educational content for brands and companies in industries such as mental health, pet health, lifestyle and wellness, cannabis, and personal finance. Nicole holds a double undergraduate degree in Communications and Film studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications from Seneca College. She currently lives in Hamilton Ontario with her spouse and her cat.

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