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Virtual Mental Health Treatment 

By Sam White, 01/14/2021 - 15:36

Virtual Mental Health Treatment

In the past few years, virtually delivered therapy has become a mainstream method used by mental health professionals to treat patients outside the confines of a traditional office. As a result of COVID-19, virtual therapy has proliferated considerably, forcing many mental health providers to offer virtual treatments for their patients. Google searches for virtual therapy have increased significantly, hitting a five-year peak at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. What’s more, virtual therapy companies have achieved mainstream success through subscription services like betterhelp.com and talkspace.com, boasting benefits including accessibility, convenience, and comfort for patients and providers.  

According to APA, evidence indicates that tele-mental health is an effective alternative and often equivalent to traditional in-person care for certain disorders.1 As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit in-person meetings, it would be beneficial for mental health professionals to understand the contemporary research and best methods for delivering tele-mental health treatment. This article presents evidence that virtual therapy is a safe and effective method of treatment, followed by suggested home study programs that can improve the conditions for mental health professionals to deliver impactful treatment to their patients.  



  1. Study: Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial 
    • Conclusion: “This study shows that an internet-based intervention for depression is equally beneficial to regular face-to-face therapy. However, more long-term efficacy, indicated by continued symptom reduction three months after treatment, could be only found for the online group.” 
  2. Study: Therapist-delivered internet psychotherapy for depression in primary care: a randomized controlled trial 
  3. Study: A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions 
    • Conclusion: “A comparison between face-to-face and Internet intervention as reported on in 14 of the studies revealed no differences in effectiveness. The findings of this meta-analysis, and review of additional Internet therapy studies not included in the meta-analysis, provide strong support for the adoption of online psychological interventions as a legitimate therapeutic activity and suggest several insights in regard to its application.” 
  4. Study: Cognitive processing therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder delivered to rural veterans via telemental health: a randomized non-inferiority clinical trial 
    • Conclusion: Providing cognitive processing therapy-cognitive only version (CPT-C) to rural residents with PTSD via videoteleconferencing (VTC) produced outcomes that were "as good as'' in-person treatment. All participants demonstrated significant reductions in PTSD symptoms post treatment and at follow-up. Results indicate that VTC can offer increased access to specialty mental health care for residents of rural or remote areas. 

Even text message intervention has shown promising results for therapeutic intervention:

  1. Study: Augmenting Evidence-Based Care With a Texting Mobile Interventionist: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial 
    • Conclusion: “Augmentation of care with a texting mobile interventionist proved to be feasible, acceptable, safe, and clinically promising. The findings are encouraging given the relative ease of training practitioners to serve as mobile interventionists, the low burden placed on patients and practitioners, and the simplicity of the technology.” 

There are additional benefits that virtual counseling creates for both patient and professional. Accessibility, comfort, and convenience are cited as important aspects that in-person treatment may lack.4 Offering virtual therapy expands the boundary of patient accessibility, allowing more people to begin treatment who previously would need to commute to and from an office. Others believe that administered treatment from the comfort of one's own home can increase the overall perception of treatment.4 This feature counters the intimidating atmosphere of an office space that may be perceived by new patients.  

Despite the popularity of telepsychology, these modalities present new challenges for professionals. There are technological learning curves, legal requirements, new ethical standards, and intra- and interagency policies that need to be considered before beginning.2 The APA has laid out guidelines to help professionals begin their virtual office transition: 


J&K Seminars has witnessed the changing of tides and introduced continuing education programs aimed at aiding mental health professionals. Below, you can find three home study programs that address various aspects of providing virtual mental health care: 

Online Help for Anxious Clients: Using Face and Voice to Create Calm

Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D.
2 CE Hours

In this recording of our 2-hour webinar, you will see a master clinician at work in optimizing the online environment for authentic connection. Margaret is known for her pragmatic treatment approaches and accessible yet nuanced insights into the neurobiology of cognitive disorders. She is also funny!

Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Online Therapy with Children 

Liana Lowenstein, MSW, RSW, CPT-S
2 CE Hours

Liana will focus on optimizing the online counseling environment for children. She will introduce techniques to engage young clients, help them express their feelings and communicate what is going on with them in developmentally appropriate ways. She will also offer specific strategies to help young clients cope with the current crisis.

Resilience: Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even this Disaster

Linda Graham, MFT
2 CE Hours

Now more than ever, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health professionals can benefit from Linda Graham’s accessible, practical and effective strategies on how to build resilience. Clients and therapists alike will benefit from her techniques on enhancing the capacity and inner resources to cope quickly and skillfully in any crisis, large or small.

Creating Connection From a Distance: Making Virtual Psychotherapy a Relational Experience

Janina Fisher, PhD
2 CE Hours

In this recording of our 2-hour webinar, Janina addresses the challenges for therapists and clients alike in embracing virtual therapy. In the current climate of fear and isolation that affects us all, both therapist and client often struggle with the disconnected experience of online therapy. Without the relational contact that is the heart and soul of psychotherapy, virtual sessions can feel distant and impersonal.  Janina maintains “telehealth” does not HAVE to feel distant!