Telehealth Therapy vs Online Therapy vs Online Counseling

What is the difference between online counseling, online therapy, and telehealth therapy? Upon researching therapy options, you’ll most likely come across a few terms that are very similar, but also different in meaning. This can be confusing and lead you to be unsure about what service you need and should start looking into. 

All you know is that you want to speak with someone about some anxiety or depression that you have been struggling with. You know it’s time to seek out additional support, but you are unsure where to start. Therapy is new for you – and in these times, online therapy seems to dominate the therapeutic field.

Counseling and therapy are terms that are often used interchangeably, however they do have different meanings.

Although both online counseling and online therapy involve one on one sessions to discuss presenting problems to create solutions, they have different purposes.

You may have heard the word “Telehealth Therapy” during this pandemic, referring to the video platform therapists use. It also differs from online therapy, although they both have the same purposes.

Let’s jump in with some definitions. Keep in mind however that these terms are often used interchangeably by professionals.


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Online Counseling

With online counseling, you have a designated counselor. Counselors are not only in psychology. We have counselors for selecting classes in high school, financial counselors, and counselors drug and alcohol addiction. A counselor is essentially an advisor. If you attended a college and regularly met with an academics advising counselor to discuss your curriculum plans, then you can better understand what that profession is.

Counselors can also provide mental health services as well. Having a counselor involves you, them, and the issue at hand in which you are working together to solve.

Counselors are typically named by what service they provide to you. Their title is in conjunction with the advice they provide. 

Counselors are often recommended for specific issues in the present, including addiction, grief, trauma, anxiety, and more. They are to be dealt with head on and are usually something fairly new or present in your life. Guidance and support are key aspects of online counseling.

A counselor may also be licensed with an MA in psychology. Mental health counselors are qualified to evaluate or treat mental problems through their methods of counseling. Make sure to check if your counselor has credentials or not.

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Online Therapy

Online therapy can mean a range of things. It’s provided as a service to people through means of text lines, call lines, or websites. These websites allow you to chat with a therapist.

There are websites available that you can sign up for and become instantly connected to a therapist. First you specify what you’re reaching out about. Online therapy is usually conducted with volunteers, experienced and seasoned persons, or qualified individuals who are licensed to provide services. 

Online therapy in Los Angeles, Ca can be conducted over chat logs or a hotline. There are options to text a number for immediate support and conduct therapy via text. The same goes for having a hotline number. Some online therapy services are convenient where the session does not have to be scheduled or continuous for the full hour. 

If you are struggling, you have the ability to reach out first. Then explain your problem, and choose whether to speak with someone immediately or later. You have the choice to release your tensions in the chat and then return later to digest it. 

Hotlines for online therapy could be used in texting or calling for instantaneous therapy as well. However, you do need to stay on the line with someone for the entirety. You do not necessarily need to explain much about your situation before connecting with someone. They are prepared to help out with any situation. 

These services provide basic care and support. They are usually not kept in depth information on tabs. Unless the online therapy is conducted through a website where you’re matched with a therapist that you chat with each time. 

Infrequent website visits/text chats/hotline calls can work out really well for some people. Specifically people who find themselves with a busy schedule. Or a low budget for therapy services, and who like to speak with someone during their moment of distress. It can be convenient to be able to log onto the website and be connected with help. Especially in situations such as a anxiety attack. 

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Telehealth Therapy

Telehealth therapy is a therapy session conducted in the same manner as a Zoom meeting. It differs from online counseling or online therapy as it is used by licensed professionals. The therapist is the host of the session and invites you to join via an entry code. In this type of online therapy, your therapist does keep a detailed record of the presenting problems. She then schedules meetings on a regular basis. 

If you were already having in-person sessions, there’s a good chance that your therapist moved the sessions onto this online platform. Or, they are currently accepting clients on it.

Telehealth therapy is a video platform. It is a highly encryptive of data, audio, and video and is presented during the sessions.

It is a special kind of online meeting platform that is completely in compliance with HIPAA confidentiality regulations. Telehealth therapy is designed for privacy, confidentiality, and efficiency for online therapy. 

Other medical professionals such as psychiatrists, doctors, and physicians enjoy using telehealth as a platform for patient visits as it is similar to how they conduct in-person visits – private. With telehealth, both parties can experience relief and comfort knowing that it protects classified information.

Telehealth therapy allows for people to see their patients for reasons like office visits, education, interventions, monitoring, therapy, and long distance clinician and client care. If you or your clinician is unable to conduct these types of meetings in person, telehealth is the preferred and highly acknowledged way to go.  

How do I know what I need?

Let’s determine what type of service you need. Are you looking for something short term or long term? Are you looking for general guidance and advice, or in depth insight on why you may have problems? Is your present issue due to present problems or have they been recurring in your life?

Online counseling is best for something short term. Counseling for mental health services usually last on average about 6 weeks. They can be of low cost, and counselors usually aren’t licensed or accredited by the state to provide in depth therapy. Nonetheless, they are still educated and adept people to work with. Online counseling can usually be more budget friendly as well.

Know that you will be able to use most words interchangeably in many cases when it comes to mental health services. There area some differences that are good to know however.

Online therapy is best for something in the moment or needing attention immediately. You are able to contact someone with ease through means of texting, calling, or chatting on their web page to obtain the support you need. Online therapy is also budget friendly as some services require no charge to obtain help and others offer low monthly rates. Depending on the site, it can also charge you on your average or desired use. 

Online counseling and online therapy are best for working with specific issues or short term problems you wish to address. They are good resources for when you want to learn coping mechanisms to better improve your stress or relationships. You may be looking for a “coach” to guide and support you as you learn to recognize problems and formulate healthy solutions.

Telehealth therapy is best for something long term. Telehealth therapy is used for a long period of time, extending from several months to a few years. Seeing a licensed psychotherapist over telehealth therapy is best if you are struggling to cope with past trauma, believe past situations are contributing to your present situation, have chronic or recurring problems that may interfere with your relationships or are significantly impacting your life, and you have already seen a counselor in which certain strategies aren’t working for you.

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These terms are very similar but do have slightly different meanings. Many times they are used by professionals interchangeably.  

Regardless of what you chose, there are a plethora of people on stand by, waiting to help you. It is important to ensure that where you’re seeking therapy is verified and has qualified individuals to provide you with information, advice, and treatment. 

If you have any questions or concerns about where to begin, let us at Simi Psychological Group help guide you to ensure you’re in the right place. Offering Online therapy Los Angeles and online therapy Ventura County and throughout California. We are here to help.

Now Offering Telehealth Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County 

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing