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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online

Goda Brzozauskaite
  • Dec 24, 2021
  • 5 min read
psychotherapist taking notes during session

Online therapy has quite recently taken the world by storm. It’s a fairly new, non-traditional approach to mental health. It’s only fair if people are slightly doubtful about its effectiveness. Online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or any other online therapy, in general, comes with a list of specific pros and cons. But, before we proceed with that, let’s address the elephant in the room. 

According to The Lancet Psychiatry Journal research, cognitive behavioral therapy online is as effective as attending in-person CBT sessions for a mild or moderate case of depression. Here’s more on online CBT and how it looks like.

What Is Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is an evidence-based approach to mental ailments which aids in eradicating negative thinking patterns. How we think directly affects our emotions, mood, and the way we behave. Thus, CBT therapy approaches wellness with the utilization of self-help materials and techniques that can dampen unrealistic thoughts and help patients engage in healthier thinking patterns.

Some commonly relied upon cognitive behavioral therapy techniques include cognitive reframing through role-playing, the conduction of behavioral experiments, meditation, gratitude journaling, and mental distractions.

Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are different therapies that use similar cognitive behavioral therapy techniques or principles. Here are some of them:

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)

REBT is a kind of CBT therapy centered around the principle that our behaviors, emotions, and cognition are all interconnected. This therapeutic technique focuses on detecting and eradicating irrational thoughts amongst patients. 

REBT also aids in managing irrational beliefs and emotions in a much healthier manner. This kind of cognitive behavioral therapy can aid in managing psychotic symptoms, social anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior among young ones, etc.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

DBT is another modified extension of cognitive behavioral therapy, originally designed to treat bipolar disorders among patients. At the moment, DBT helps individuals who struggle with emotional regulation or find themselves inclining towards self-destructive habits. 

Some of these self-destructive, negative habits may include starvation, overeating, substance abuse, and other eating disorders, etc. DBT also helps in adapting mindfulness as a core lifestyle principle.

Cognitive therapy

Like REBT, cognitive therapy is a therapeutic technique that focuses on any emotional patterns and behavioral issues resulting from irrational thinking. With its problem-solving approach, cognitive therapy nullifies any detrimental impact negative thoughts tend to have on an individual's mood and sanity.

Multimodal therapy

Lazarus’s multimodal therapy seems more like a combined approach to a treatment plan. This therapeutic measure optimizes the treatment plan of a mental ailment by incorporating psychosocial interventions, pharmacotherapy, etc. 

In short, multimodal therapy doesn't commit to a single approach to treatment. Instead, it takes a patient's personality type and behavior under great account before landing on an optimized plan.

How Does Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

Like any other in-person therapy program, you’ll have to fill out a questionnaire before you start online therapy. It will help online therapy services choose the best therapist or several therapists for you. 

You’ll connect with the therapist on the same day. You can start communicating online via messages, audio, or video calls. As your therapy continues, you and your therapist will identify the problem and create a list of possible solutions to these problems. They will help you implement those solutions in your life. 

To ensure positive results by the end of therapy, your therapist can offer you to use specific online exercises to self-monitor your thought process and behavior.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • Online CBT is an excellent approach to therapy, especially for those with limitations, such as people with disabilities. 
  • Furthermore, if you have a tight work schedule but wish to spare some time for therapy, attending cognitive behavioral therapy online provides you more flexibility.
  • Not only does CBT work as a great treatment option for a wide range of mental ailments, it’s also much more affordable than other therapeutic options. Some online therapy services are covered by insurance. 
  • It's a convenient option for those who might find the idea of attending in-person sessions in a therapist's office less tempting. Attending therapy is stigmatized even today. Online therapy can play the role of an introductory setting stone which lays the foundation for any future in-person sessions. 
  • Online CBT effectively overcomes negative feelings, dissociating habits, and harsh thinking patterns because it allows you to connect with a therapist every day. CBT requires personal involvement and motivation, and daily support will help you not lose your goals.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online: Things to Consider Beforehand

Before you begin online therapy, there are a few things to consider.

Explore each available option

You will probably have the preferred way of communication. Consider that would be the most suitable for you. Messaging therapy is the most affordable and flexible option and is suited for people who lack a private setting. It can be done via audio or video messages. Video sessions are more similar to in-person therapy.

It takes time to get used to anything

Not everyone's very tech-savvy, so you and your therapist can face a few hurdles during online therapy. You might require some time to establish proper communication via messaging or video calls or overcome technological problems. 

Additionally, you might feel awkward about this non-traditional method of therapy. It doesn’t always indicate that online therapy might never work for you. It’s just a sign that you’re taking time to adapt, so don’t call the shots for an immediate ending before you’re truly sure.

You’re allowed to share your frustration

If you’ve had in-person sessions instead of online therapy with your therapist, then you might find this medium a little frustrating. You have the liberty to share that concern with your therapist. In-person support means a lot to some people, and their needs are perfectly reasonable.

It can seem a little rigid at first

Unlike other therapeutic techniques, CBT doesn’t put much focus on people's innate resistance to change. It’s more structured and less focused on any unconscious urges to repel. The instructional role that your therapist plays might seem a little rigid at first if you’ve tried other kinds of therapies in the past. 

Provide feedback

We’re all familiar that online therapy is a fairly new concept. To resolve any hiccups along the way, you should give your therapist feedback. If there are any technical difficulties on the other end or something unresolved, get your point across.

You’ve got a bigger role to play

Cognitive behavioral therapy’s stance as an extremely structural approach really suits patients who find focused techniques more agreeable. Thus, patients must possess the urge to recognize negative thinking patterns and perform self-analysis apart from the time spent while attending therapy.

CBT can only be effective if a person’s willing to spend time and notice how their behavior’s affected by their thought process. People often report that despite recognizing their problematic negative thinking patterns via therapy, they still find it harder to alter their thinking ways.

It takes time

Just like any other therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy shows gradual results; thus, individuals attending online therapy shouldn’t always expect a huge breakthrough right at the beginning. An individual attending online therapy for social anxiety might not step into a social setting at the beginning of therapy. Instead, they may show growth by simply testing the waters and imagining themselves in social settings, interacting with others.  

It may not be for everyone

CBT might not be a sound idea if one’s dealing with severe depression or ailments of similar nature. 

In-person sessions seem more like a preferable choice if the symptoms of a mental anomaly seem consistent and intense. Consult your physician to contact a trusted therapist or check your local listings for more.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online Can Help You

Cognitive behavioral therapy online is as effective as in-person therapy. It also offers comfort and flexibility for those who need it. If you are interested in trying online therapy, we can connect you with a licensed CBT therapist

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