What is Online Therapy?

As an individual seeking out therapy options, it is understandable to wonder, what is virtual therapy? Your might also wonder how can I find online therapy in Canada? And how will I know that my online therapist will offer me the services that I need?

At FTPS, we offer online counselling in Canada. We provide virtual therapy sessions in Ontario and BC. Online therapy involves virtual therapy sessions as well as virtual assessment sessions. This means that therapy sessions actually take place through our secure platform online. This can be easily accessed through any computer or tablet. Even a phone – although the screen is fairly small!

A variety of mental health issues are treated using virtual therapy sessions, more commonly referred to by people as online counselling. These issues include obsessive compulsive disorder, skin picking and hair pulling disorders as well as anxiety disorders, trauma and depression. In fact, there are rarely concerns that cannot be treated using virtual therapy sessions by experienced counsellors online.

These mental healthcare counselling sessions are conducted online through a secure video conferencing platform. You will meet with an online therapist and engage in online counselling in the comfort of your own home environment. This can be extremely beneficial as it allows you to access helpful online therapy sessions from our team at FTPS. We provide online therapy in Canada no matter where you are located within both Ontario and British Columbia. 

In fact, online therapy affords many other benefits as well, including:

  1. flexibility of scheduling therapists online
  2. accessibility of services from wherever you live – no commute needed; no transportation issues
  3. benefits of working with a therapist right in your own home
  4. working with a counsellor online in your home environment
  5. opportunities for coached exposure sessions during virtual therapy within your home environment, where triggers might exist

Is Virtual Therapy Effective?

Online therapy sessions have been shown to be effective for OCD as well as other mental health concerns. This provides us with great comfort in providing it to individuals as we are confident that it will be helpful. 

Online therapy can be used for a variety of different mental health concerns, including:

  • OCD and Related Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Trauma
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Relationship Issues
  • Parenting Issues
  • Couples Therapy
  • Group Therapy Sessions

Virtual therapy sessions can also allow family members to be involved. They can easily join at the end of a session and learn about important skills taught to their loved ones. They can also join at the beginning of a session to provide important updates prior to the online counselling session. This can help parents or other family members support their teen or loved one at home.

If your loved one is receiving virtual therapy for OCD or anxiety disorders, you can observe online therapy sessions in which coached exposure and response prevention (ERP) is taking place. This can help you to then engage in coaching with your loved ones outside of the online counseling sessions. Joining virtual therapy with an online psychologist or therapist is very easy! Just log on securely and engage in the session! 

When you are doing online therapy sessions with an online psychologist or therapist, your treatment has no limits! Your therapist can join you in any environment that would be beneficial to treatment – your home, a store, a crowded neighbourhood or public transportation. This is an aspect of virtual therapy that is superior to in-person sessions. During online therapy sessions, you can go places that far outweigh the limits of a therapist’s office.

virtual therapy effective

Is Virtual Therapy Confidential?

Is it confidential to meet with a therapist online? Rest assured that it is extremely confidential to engage in online therapy sessions. Many safeguards have been developed so you can feel comfortable when participating in virtual therapy or virtual assessments.

The online counselling in Canada offered by FTPS is set up to ensure your personal information is secure. The online therapy platform, Owl practice, used at FTPS is compliant with privacy regulations in both Ontario and BC. It is also compliant with College regulations to ensure you are engaging in a safe and secure experience. All information collected within Owl is stored in a secure encrypted online platform that resides within Canada.

During the actual online therapy session, there are also steps you can take to feel secure within your home. Wearing a comfortable headset or pair of earbuds can allow for the conversation between the psychologist online and you can help you feel secure. Some individuals like to run a white noise soundtrack from their phone during the session. This can be placed comfortably outside of one’s door and adds another layer of confidentiality.

We encourage you to speak to your online therapist about all the different options you have available to you in order to enhance your security and comfort! We have found that individuals readily engage with virtual therapy sessions and find them as beneficial as any other type of therapy connection.

What if I want in-person sessions?

There are times that in-person sessions are meaningful and important for your treatment and recovery. Your online therapist at FTPS will be mindful of this and discuss it with you. There are many ways that in-person sessions can be built into your therapy work.

In-person sessions in Toronto, Ontario can be conducted as needed. At FTPS we do this in a variety of ways. When we work with individuals undergoing treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, we might arrange for community exposure opportunities. These would be conducted as an in-person session in Toronto, Ontario. Individuals often find this very effective and also enjoy connecting with their online therapist in person. In this way, online counseling services can then become a mix of both in-person work as well as continued virtual therapy sessions.

For individuals with severe symptoms of OCD, conducting in-home in-person visits are also beneficial. This allows for you to connect with your online therapist or online psychologist in your own home. During this type of in-person session, you will be coached directly to engage with triggers that you typically avoid. Your family can also benefit from observing this type of a coached exposure and response prevention session. In-home in-person visits are often combined with online therapy sessions. This has been found to be very effective. 

Can anyone access online counselling?

At FTPS, we offer online therapy in Canada. We work with youth and teens, adults, couples, families and offer parent coaching throughout all of Ontario and BC. This allows for many different locations that you can access our online counselling services! 

You might be wondering, how can I find an online psychologist near me? If you reach out to the intake team at FTPS, we can tell you all about our therapy offerings and get you started with a best match therapist. We look forward to working with you – for individual psychotherapy as well as for group therapy sessions! Read all about the therapy offerings at FTPS in both Ontario and BC. We provide online counselling in Canada no matter where you are located within both Ontario and British Columbia!

Frequently Asked Questions

When beginning online therapy, people wonder if online therapy sessions are as good as being face to face with a therapist. As more and more individuals across the world have begun doing this type of work, we have learned a great deal about its benefits for clients.

Not many studies have directly compared face to face sessions with online therapy sessions. An interesting study conducted at the University of Alberta did find that online therapy sessions were as effective as face-to-face sessions with veterans who were experiencing symptoms of trauma and PTSD. In addition, it was suggested that virtual therapy sessions might reduce stigma and increase accessibility.

We believe there are several aspects to online counselling services that can make it preferable to in-person sessions:

  • Increased convenience
  • Increased accessibility
  • Working easily with family members
  • Working with a counsellor online in your own environment, which can be a place of anxiety and triggers

For all these reasons, and with evidence to support its effectiveness, we feel very confident in delivering online therapy for anxiety or online depression counselling. We provide online therapy in Canada. Our services at FTPS are offered throughout Ontario and British Columbia.

A virtual therapy session is the same amount of time as a session conducted in person. Often, individuals meet with therapists online for a clinical hour. This usually ranges from 50 to 60 minutes.

An initial session is often 90 minutes. After that you will be meeting for online counselling for 50 to 60 minutes. This can also be discussed with your online therapist to ensure that it fits with your schedule and expectations.

Online therapy sessions are not conducted for free at FTPS. However, we do offer an initial virtual therapy session free of charge. In this initial online therapy session, you can meet with your potential counsellor to ensure they are the best fit online therapist for you. If this therapist is not the best fit for you, you can reach back out to our administrative team and we will ensure you can meet with someone else.

Unfortunately, online therapy sessions are not covered by OHIP. However, extended health insurance plans often provide some coverage. Once you have paid for your session, you will be emailed a receipt that can be submitted to your insurance company or used for tax purposes.

Consulting therapists online has been shown to be effective for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A recent study out of Chicago found that virtual therapy sessions for OCD were effective at decreasing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder along with co-occurring symptoms. Quality of life was also enhanced. It was also found to produce results sooner than weekly in-person outpatient treatment. This is wonderful news for individuals experiencing symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It provides confidence in seeking out online therapy sessions for OCD.

When providing therapy for individuals with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, clinicians want to work with you and help you expose yourself to a range of triggers that increase anxiety and distress. OCD can latch on to many different areas of one’s life, including religiosity, perfectionism, cleanliness and orderliness as well as relationships with children and family members.

Therefore, when doing exposure and response prevention therapy during online counseling, you will want to expose yourself to a large variety of items (and practice ritual prevention of course!). Exposure therapy can therefore include working with items that are thought to be contaminated, such as doorknobs, toilets and grocery carts. It may also include exposure to places that are avoided for moral or religious OCD reasons, such as churches or other places of worship.

Individuals might want to be exposed to parks and playgrounds if they experience intrusive thoughts about children or they might want to practice sitting close to family members or hugging them if they experience distressing sexual intrusive thoughts in their presence. Your online therapist will discuss with you all the different ways in which you can successfully complete exposure and response prevention therapy in virtual therapy sessions.

Online therapy sessions have afforded online therapists the golden opportunity to work with you anywhere and everywhere with absolutely no limits!

During virtual therapy sessions, you and your therapist can visit the Vatican in Rome and look at triggering naked statues and bring on intrusive thoughts. Your therapist can coach you through resisting  mental review as you walk through the virtual halls of the museum. Or you can take your phone and earbuds with you and walk through your house or into a store and interact with any imaginable contaminated item. 

You can be coached through typical hand washing and cross contaminating other items during sessions. During online counseling, we can also bring in family members to sessions and coach them through challenging exposures. This teaches everyone valuable coaching skills as we go.

Virtual therapy sessions literally have no limits. If you are considering doing in person therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or anxiety, take a pause and think about all your triggers and all the different places that you need to really work on these exposures. And then consider virtual therapy sessions and all the places your therapist can go with you – easily and in the most accessible way possible. FTPS provides online therapy in Canada, specifically Ontario and BC. Reach out to us to learn more!

You might be wondering the best way to access online counselling in Canada. Fortunately, there are resources for this now. FTPS does offer online therapy in Canada. Specifically, we are able to provide services to anyone living in Ontario or BC. This is very helpful for many people.

Online therapy sessions can allow you to access specialized services that might not exist where you live. It can also allow you to attend online therapy from the comfort of your own home. This can be very helpful in terms of the enhanced convenience. It can also allow you to attend session without losing time from work or other family responsibilities. If you are wanting online counselling in Canada then look no further. We would be happy to tell you more about our services.

This is a great question. Therapy is only as confidential as the system set up by your healthcare provider. At FTPS, we provide confidential online counselling in Canada. Specifically, we provide these services throughout Ontario and BC. We ensure that it is confidential through a number of important safeguards.

First, the online therapy platform, Owl practice, used at FTPS is compliant with privacy regulations in both Ontario and BC. Second, it is also compliant with College regulations to ensure you are engaging in a safe and secure experience. Third, all information collected within Owl is stored in a secure encrypted online platform that resides within Canada.

We also ensure that when you attend a therapy session you do so alone and from a confidential space in your home or office. Many individuals choose to wear some type of headset as well to ensure that the conversation is heard only between them and their therapist. If you have any concerns about confidentiality at FTPS, please let us know!

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