The Effectiveness of Video and Phone Therapy

The Effectiveness of Video and Phone Therapy


Web based therapies, such as video calls, phone calls, and chats have become more and more common. Thanks to the Internet, you can access many types of therapy from the comfort of your own home. However, if you’re used to face-to-face therapy, you might not be sure about the effectiveness of these modes of therapy.

So the question arises, how effective are video conferencing and phone therapy?

It’s important to understand the effectiveness of any type of therapy before commencing treatment, and we understand that videoconferencing and phone therapy might not be traditional approaches. With the current global Covid-19 pandemic, we want to make sure all our clients are taken care of, even if that means providing therapy through different formats. The main and most obvious benefit of web therapy is the ability to receive treatment in the comfort of your own home, whether you’re unwell, or socially isolating. Other benefits include feeling more comfortable and sharing more with your therapist and potentially enabling easier self-expression1.

What does the Research Show?

Video Therapy

Research has shown that videoconferencing psychotherapy (VCP) is as beneficial as face-to-face therapy, and that there are no significant differences between the two1, 2. A systematic review found that the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist was strong, and sometimes better in VCP1. They also found that both clients and providers were satisfied with the format, although there was some frustration due to technical issues. More specifically, VCP has been shown to be a promising method to provide psychotherapy for depression3, anxiety disorders including PTSD and OCD4, and stress5. It has also been shown to be an effective method for family therapy by facilitating improvements in family happiness, parental self-esteem, self-efficacy and attitude-behaviour change6.

Phone Therapy

Phone therapy is another form of psychotherapy that has been widely researched and shown to be efficacious in treating a range of disorders and presentations. The biggest benefit is being able to engage in therapy from almost anywhere! Clients who accessed phone therapy were satisfied with phone therapy and believed it helped them improve their lives8.  Phone treatment revealed significant improvements in reduced suicidal ideation and depression symptoms in patients who recently attempted suicide7. Similarly, phone therapy decreased suicidal ideation and increased mental state in adolescents10. It also decreased depressive symptoms in veterans with chronic illness9, and decreased alcohol and drug misuse11.


All clinicians at The Psych Professionals are now offering both video and phone therapy for clients who would prefer this option, are social-distancing or at risk of contracting COVID-19. If you would like to know more about video or phone therapy, book a session or convert your already booked session, please contact our Client Relationships Team on 07 3801 1772 (Loganholme) or 07 3823 2230 (Cleveland).


  1. Backhaus, Autumn & Agha, Zia & Maglione, Melissa & Repp, Andrea & Ross, Bridgett & Zuest, Danielle & Rice-Thorp, Natalie & Lohr, James & Thorp, Steven. (2012). Videoconferencing Psychotherapy: A Systematic Review. Psychological services. 9. 111-31. 10.1037/a0027924.
  2. Stubbings, D. R., Rees, C. S., Roberts, L. D., & Kane, R. T. (2013). Comparing in-person to videoconference-based cognitive behavioral therapy for mood and anxiety disorders: randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research15(11), e258.
  3. Berryhill, M. B., Culmer, N., Williams, N., Halli-Tierney, A., Betancourt, A., Roberts, H., & King, M. (2019). Videoconferencing psychotherapy and depression: a systematic review. Telemedicine and e-Health25(6), 435-446.
  4. Rees, C. S., & Maclaine, E. (2015). A systematic review of Videoconference‐Delivered psychological treatment for anxiety disorders.Australian Psychologist, 50(4), 259-264. doi:10.1111/ap.12122
  5. Stubbings, D. R., Rees, C. S., Roberts, L. D., & Kane, R. T. (2013). Comparing in-person to videoconference-based cognitive behavioral therapy for mood and anxiety disorders: randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research15(11), e258.
  6. Doria, M. V., Kennedy, H., Strathie, C., & Strathie, S. (2014). Explanations for the Success of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG): An Emerging Method in Family Psychotherapy. The Family Journal, 22(1), 78–87.
  7. Marasinghe, R. B., Edirippulige, S., Kavanagh, D., Smith, A., & Jiffry, M. T. M. (2012). Effect of mobile phone-based psychotherapy in suicide prevention: a randomized controlled trial in Sri Lanka. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 18(3), 151–155.
  8. Reese, Robert & Conoley, Collie & Brossart, Daniel. (2002). Effectiveness of telephone counseling: A field-based investigation. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 49. 233-242. 10.1037/0022-0167.49.2.233.
  9. Aburizik, A., Dindo, L., Kaboli, P., Charlton, M., Dawn, K., & Turvey, C. (2013). A pilot randomized controlled trial of a depression and disease management program delivered by phone. Journal of affective disorders, 151(2), 769-774.
  10. King, R., Nurcombe, B., Bickman, L., Hides, L., & Reid, W. (2003). Telephone counselling for adolescent suicide prevention: Changes in suicidality and mental state from beginning to end of a counselling session. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 33(4), 400-411.
  11. Gates, P., & Albertella, L. (2016). The effectiveness of telephone counselling in the treatment of illicit drug and alcohol use concerns. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 22(2), 67–85.


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