Does video counseling actually work? - WLCFS

Does video counseling actually work?

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By Drew Dyrssen


There is no doubt we are in unprecedented times right now. Stay-at-home orders are in place all over the country. While necessary for safety, these orders have also created some difficulties in our every-day life (as you may have noticed). This has brought the need to move to online video counseling, also known as telebehavioral health. Telebehavioral health has been around for quite a while in some states, but is relatively new for others.


You might be asking yourself “Does video counseling actually work?” Let the evidence speak for itself.  Since I am somewhat of a research nerd, I took some time to look at the research for you. (If you are a fellow research nerd feel free to explore the references below.) The results were very positive!


There is quite a bit of research out there on telebehavioral health. I focused my search for evidence on these specific diagnoses: Depression, PTSD, OCD, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Anxiety + Depression, Generalized Anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder. Good news! There is strong, clinically-supported evidence that counseling via video is just as effective as in-person counseling for the specific diagnoses listed above. Now, obviously I did not cover every diagnosis in this search. If you would like more specific information, simply input “telehealth” and a specific diagnosis into google scholar and do some research for yourself.


To summarize, here is what the experts had to say:

  • “Overall, we found no evidence to suggest that the delivery of psychotherapy via synchronous telehealth modalities is less effective than nontelehealth means in reducing depression symptoms” (Osenbach, et al, 2013).
  • “It is clear from the studies conducted that videoconference‐delivered treatment is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and also that the outcomes are comparable with those found in face‐to‐face treatment” (Rees & Maclaine, 2015).


In my experience so far, most clients adjust very well to seeing their therapists via secure video connection. Talk with your therapist if you have any concerns about video counseling. They may be able to make some adjustments for you. Overall, telebehavioral health is just as effective as seeing your therapist in their office. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!


Do you or a loved one need counseling help? To learn more about our video counseling services, please click here. You can also get to know our counselors by visiting our “Meet Our Providers” page. Please click on each provider’s picture to read their bio and watch their video bio. Appointments with our counselors can be conveniently requested online through our Request an Appointment page.


Acierno, R., Gros, D. F., Ruggiero, K. J., Hernandez, T. M. A., Knapp, R. G., Lejuez, C. W., Muzzy, W., Frueh, C. B., Egede, L. E., & Tuerk, P. W. (2016). Behavioral Activation and Therapeutic Exposure for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Noninferiority Trial of Treatment Delivered in Person Versus Home-Based Telehealth. Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269), 33(5), 415–423.