Online Therapy for Depression

Online Therapy For Depression: Essential Tips

Do you often feel sad, fatigued, and lacking motivation or self-confidence? A lot of people, one in five, at some point in their lives experience these and other symptoms of clinical depression. Working on this issue with the help of a mental health professional is the best way to start making a change for the better and improve your well-being.

There are numerous people who suffer from depression but cannot attend face-to-face therapy sessions, due to health reasons, busy schedules, fatigue, or a lack of motivation.

In this article you’ll find out why Online therapy for depression is a very promising avenue to take if you want to make a change from the comfort of your home or office.

What is Online Therapy for Depression

Online therapy for depression is a form of professional mental health treatment that leverages digital platforms like video calls. One of its main advantages is accessibility. For those unable to attend face-to-face therapy sessions due to physical limitations, busy schedules, or geographical restrictions, online therapy or virtual therapy provides a lifeline, as it offers the opportunity to seek professional help and support from the comfort of their own home.

Adaptation of Traditional Therapy Principles

Just like traditional in-person therapy, online therapy for depression adheres to the same professional standards and therapeutic principles, including adapting to the client’s preferred communication method.

The major difference lies in the mode of communication – it takes place through video calls, phone calls, live chat or text messaging, rather than face-to-face. This adaptation of traditional therapy principles, including cognitive behavioural therapy, to the digital environment has been a significant step in making mental health care more accessible to a wider population via online help.

Diverse Therapeutic Approaches

There are many different approaches used to treat depression, including CBT, psychodynamic and person-centred approaches. The good news is that they are all easily adjustable to the online medium of communication. Here’s a brief breakdown of the differences:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A popular form of therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns that contribute to depressive symptoms. For example, a common negative thought pattern might be “I’m a failure” or “I can’t do anything right,” which your online therapist will help to challenge and reframe. Online CBT involves interactive sessions and digital tools like worksheets and mood trackers to help identify and modify these thoughts.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This approach delves into how past experiences and unconscious processes influence current behaviour. Incorporating this approach within online therapy for depression allows for deep explorations of personal history and its impact on your current mental health. For example, you might explore how early childhood experiences have shaped current self-esteem or relationship patterns. Online platforms can facilitate reflective exercises and journaling activities to support this therapeutic process.

Person-Centred Therapy (PCT)

PCT is focused on the client’s personal experiences and feelings. In an online setting it can be particularly empowering as it offers a safe and confidential space for self-exploration and personal growth. For example, it may involve exploring feelings of worthlessness or abandonment to understand their impact on your day to day choices and relationships.

Does Online Depression Counselling Work?

Yes it does work. For example, numerous research confirmed that online therapy for depression, especially CBT, can successfully help people struggling with depression, leading to decreased symptoms and greater quality of life [1], for both adults and a younger population [2].

Ready to explore how online therapy for depression can work for you?

Fill out our form and schedule your first session today.

Understanding Depression: Symptoms and Causes

What Does Depression Feel Like?

Imagine waking up each day feeling like there’s a heavy weight on your chest. It’s more than just a bad mood or a blue day. Here are some common symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling Down All the Time: You may feel like you’re carrying a sadness that just won’t let go, even when there’s no specific reason for it.
  • Not Enjoying Things Anymore: Remember how you loved to paint, hike, or meet up with friends? Now, it feels like all the color and joy has drained out of those activities.
  • Eating Too Much, or Not Enough: Your appetite just isn’t what it used to be, and it’s showing on the scales.
  • Sleeping Too Little, or Too Much: Either you’re tossing and turning all night, or you just can’t seem to get out of bed.
  • Feeling Exhausted: It’s like your energy battery is permanently on low, even when you haven’t done much.
  • Being Hard on Yourself: You’re often beating yourself up over things, even the less important ones.
  • Struggling to Focus: Making decisions or concentrating may feel like trying to swim through fog.
  • Unexplained Aches and Pains: Your body seems to be in discomfort, and you don’t really know why.
  • Thinking About Death or Self-Harm: This may be a sign of severe depression, or in some cases, it can indicate moderate depression. Things may be getting really serious and it means it’s crucial to get help right away.

You might find that these symptoms flare up during the winter months, which might be a sign of seasonal affective disorder. Regardless of what month of the year it is, if these signs sound familiar and they’re not just a one-off, but a constant in your life, it might be time to reach out for help.

What Causes Depression?

There’s no clear cut answer to this question, depression is like a puzzle with many pieces. It’s rarely just one thing, but more likely a mix of different factors:

  • Family History: Just like we can inherit a parent’s smile, sometimes the tendency towards depression or other mental health difficulties can be passed down in families.
  • Brain Chemistry: A persistent low mood can also be due to an imbalance of chemicals in your brain.
  • Life Throws a Curveball: Big life changes or stressful events – losing a job, going through a breakup, or grieving a loved one – can be triggers. Even having a baby can cause a deep and long lasting low mood in both fathers and mothers. This is known as postpartum depression.
  • Health Challenges: Some health problems or medications can nudge your mood out of balance.
  • Negative Thinking Patterns: If your inner voice is often negative or critical, it can set the stage for depression.
  • Childhood or Traumatic Events: Difficult experiences from your childhood or traumatic events can leave deep scars, shaping how you view and interact with the world. These can have the potential to develop depression later in life.

Now that we’ve taken a look at symptoms and causes of depression, let’s see how online counselling can be a helpful ally.

What to Expect from Online Counselling for Depression?

You can expect the following from online counselling for depression:

  1. A safe, warm and confidential space to express your difficulties
  2. An empathic and non-judgemental understanding of your struggles
  3. An understanding of where your depression might come from
  4. Learning how depression affects work, relationships and leisure time
  5. Alleviating stress
  6. Coming up with new ways to act and start feeling better
  7. Learning how to recognise early signs of when your depression is increasing

You can also expect to notice significant improvements after 10 sessions of online therapy for depression. However, in more severe cases, more time and therapeutic work might be needed. The therapy will always be tailored around your specific, unique needs, creating a personalised treatment plan.

What to Expect from Online Counselling for Depression?
What to Expect from Online Counselling for Depression?

How to Pick the Right Online Counsellor for Depression

Choosing the right online counsellor or therapist is a very important moment in your journey to address depression. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Qualifications and Experience: Make sure that the practitioner has the necessary qualifications and experience in treating depression. It’s important they understand the nuances of this condition. All of our qualified professionals hold a full registration or accreditation with the main regulatory bodies, such as BACP, HCPC, UKCP or BABCP.
  • Therapeutic Approach: Different therapists use different approaches. Whether it’s CBT, psychodynamic, or person-centred therapy, find a counsellor whose methods align with your preferences. Our therapists are trained in several approaches and often integrate their techniques to address your unique needs.
  • Comfort and Compatibility: The rapport between you and your therapist is fundamental. You should feel comfortable and understood by your therapist. The stronger the bond between you and your therapist, the more effective the overall treatment. If you notice from the start you’re not ‘clicking’ with your therapist, it may be a good idea to find a better match.

At Therapy Central, we believe finding a right match is paramount. When working with us, every client is matched against a therapist with the suitable experience and qualifications to work with them on their unique goals. This ensures that you receive personalised care tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Find your perfect match for your online therapy needs with our team of qualified professionals.

Reach out for a free consultation today

Understanding the Role of a Depression Therapist Online

When you’re dealing with depression the support of a qualified therapist can be invaluable. Here’s what therapists can bring to the table:

Expertise and Skills: An online depression therapist brings a wealth of expertise and specialised skills, essential for addressing various aspects of depression. They will not only have experience of treating depression, but will be able to adapt it to the online setting.

Therapeutic Techniques: A skilled practitioner will utilise a range of therapeutic techniques tailored to individual needs. The work is aimed at fostering personal growth and effective management of depressive symptoms.

Support System: A depression therapist also acts as a supportive figure, offering guidance, insight, empathy, and understanding throughout your journey.

Confidentiality and Comfort: A crucial aspect is for your therapist to provide a secure, private and confidential space. This set up allows clients to open up without fear of judgement or external consequences, encouraging transparency and honesty, which are key to therapeutic success.

What are the Benefits of Getting Help with Depression Online?

Here we’ll focus on general benefits, and in a separate section we’ll address the specific advantages of online therapy for depression:

  • Greater insight into the dynamics of your depression.
  • Improving self-empathy, reducing self-criticism.
  • Improving your overall well-being.
  • Reduced symptoms of sadness and increased mood.
  • Improved self-confidence.
  • Removing the barriers to your motivation and self-development.
  • Less fatigue and more energy for both work, relationships and leisure activities.
  • Better sleep.
  • Learning more functional coping mechanisms; not relying solely on medication management.


Online Therapy for Depression Sessions: How Do They Look?

Scheduling and Setup

Online sessions are scheduled in advance, much like face-to-face sessions. Usually, they involve a video connection between you and your therapist, as this allows for the exchange of nonverbal information which is extremely important. Audio only is ok, but we encourage clients to turn on their camera during the online sessions, if possible.

Once everything’s working fine, the internet and your devices are working, the session moves on as it would in the face-to-face version.

Structure of Your Sessions

Usually, the first few minutes of your sessions are more casual and serve as an introduction to the “middle” part of the first session, which takes the most time and where you and your therapist are discussing a particular issue, giving it a new perspective or finding solutions. The online session may end with a summary wrapping-up what you covered and, for example, encouraging you to start applying what’s been discussed in between sessions.

Online CBT Depression Treatment

Here we’ll focus on an example of Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for depression. CBT is a type of therapy that understands depression as caused by irrational beliefs manifesting in various areas of our life.

Identifying Irrational, Unhelpful Beliefs

If you are depressed, it’s not uncommon to harbour strong negative beliefs about yourself that maintain your low mood.

Believing that “Everyone is better than me”, “I’m worthless.” or ‘I’m unlovable”, can significantly affect your daily life. For instance, by making you unwilling to speak up in a discussion, or feeling uncomfortable expressing your needs to your partner or coworker, because you feel you don’t deserve this. These dysfunctional beliefs may also cause you a hard time focusing on work because you believe that, being not good enough, it’s not worth the try.

Although at times very powerful, these beliefs are not reflections of reality. In CBT, you’ll have a chance to see them for what they are: distortions of your self-perception, influenced by depression.

Working with Negative Beliefs

After agreeing on the most important issue to work on, your therapist might ask you to write down (e.g., in an online shared document) some of the negative thoughts you have about yourself, others, and the world, as they emerged in a particular situation of distress.

In this respect online counselling is very convenient as you can write down, save and share everything you need easily, while the session lasts and of course later, whenever you want. Both you and your therapist can then use that shared document (and others if needed) to build on your work together and tackle the difficult thoughts fuelling your depression.

Your therapist will guide you in challenging these beliefs, with the goal of developing a more balanced and realistic perspective. This process can be enlightening and empowering. Many clients discover that these beliefs, once examined, are not as reliable as they once thought!

Other Techniques and Homework

CBT for depression also includes techniques such as diaries, homework (e.g. observing your negative thoughts and writing down more positive alternatives), activity scheduling, behavioural experiments, etc. They all use some kind of forms or templates, which are much more easily shared online, via email or in a shared folder, to keep track of your progress.

The work you do in these sessions – from jotting down thoughts in a diary to engaging in real-world experiments – is not just about tackling depression; it’s about rediscovering your strengths and capabilities.

Online Therapy for Depression Sessions: How Do They Look?

What are the Advantages of Online Therapy for Depression?

We’ll focus here on specific advantages of doing remote counselling for depression:

Reaching People with Fatigue and Low Motivation

Depression can involve feelings of fatigue, low energy, and low motivation. It may be hard to motivate yourself to meet a therapist in person weekly, especially if your therapist is far from you. Online therapy can reach you even if you struggle with motivation. It requires very little effort, no transportation and little preparation. Keep in mind that having to talk to your therapist in-person also has its good sides as it can combat inactivity.

Reaching People with Busy Schedules

A lot of people who suffer from low mood are still able to go to work but may have no time (or energy) to go and meet a therapist in-person. It can be a bit tricky getting to fit weekly sessions in an already-tight schedule. Online therapy for depression, including video sessions, can be arranged at almost any time and from anywhere (including your office), unlike face-to-face therapy sessions. In addition, for those who have children or teens struggling with depression, some therapists offer family therapy sessions that can be conducted online, making it easier for busy parents to attend and learn how to support their child.

Reaching People with Health Issues

You may have concerns about COVID-19; perhaps you’re feeling unwell or have a chronic illness which makes it hard for you to visit a therapist each week. In these cases, online therapy sessions can be a great solution, removing any health-related barriers and allowing you to see your therapist from the comfort of your home.

Making Childcare Easier

Taking care of your children is no small responsibility, it requires a lot of time and energy. Childcare can make it virtually impossible for you to physically meet your therapist every week. Online therapy for depression instead allows you to see your therapist from home, requiring someone else to watch your children only for the time of your session. Online therapy still demands focus and a quiet and private room. Make sure to let others in the house know you should be left undisturbed for an hour.

Reaching People with Self-Confidence Issues

Depression often comes with low self-esteem and confidence. This can make it stressful to meet new people as you might feel uncomfortable around them. If this is your case, online therapy can provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need to gain self-confidence and make the first step – meeting your therapist – easier, while making it less stressful to establish the therapeutic relationship with your therapist.

Alleviating Depression with Online Counselling

Tips to Prepare for Online Depression Therapy

  1. Make sure everything works well on the technical side. The internet connection is of course crucial so it would be good to always check the strength and stability of your signal before starting an online session. Check your microphone, camera, laptop, anything you’re using, before the online session starts. This way you’ll make sure that your sessions revolve around you, and not around technical issues. Moreover, it’s always good to have a backup option, such as using your phone (or its mobile network) as backups if something goes wrong.
  2. Assure privacy. Psychotherapy should be kept private. While the online modality gives you freedom to have online sessions everywhere you want, you shouldn’t do online sessions from a restaurant, bar, in public transport, etc. Find a quiet, private and comfortable room which can stay that way for an hour.
  3. Remove distractions. The comfort of doing everything from your home or office is a big advantage. However, it is important to remove distractions. Switch off or silence your phone’s notifications. Let your partner, housemates, children or friends know when you’re having therapy so that you can be left undisturbed. The same goes for receiving packages, or getting a call from your loved ones. If you’re at work, make sure to find a room no one else is going to use to guarantee your privacy.
  4. Think about what you want to work on. Make a note of the most important issues you would like to talk about with your therapist, and feel free to share your list with them during your online sessions. 

Get started with Online Therapy for Depression

Depression is one of the most widespread psychological issues, including major depressive disorder. However, not all people get the help they need. Online therapy is one effective way to manage depression symptoms and alleviate the effects of major depressive disorder. It is a promising pathway which allows you to get the help you need from a qualified therapist without having to travel to a consultation room.

While online therapy for depression may be a valid option for many, for some it may be a necessity, for instance if you’re unable to attend face-to-face therapy because you’re busy, live far from your therapist, or have health conditions preventing you from travelling. Online therapy services are also ideal for people who want an occasional online consultation for depression or other mental health symptoms, without having to change their in-person therapy routine drastically.

Here at Therapy Central, we have qualified therapists that specialise in mental health services for depression.

Begin your journey towards better mental health.

Contact us today for a free 15-min consultation


[1] – Online randomized controlled trial of brief and full cognitive behaviour therapy for depression – Psychological Medicine

[2] – Computer-Based and Online Therapy for Depression and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents – Pubmed

More readings:

Online Therapy

Depression Counselling

Depression in Women


Anxiety Therapy

Sleep Therapy

Clinically reviewed by:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Read More

Members of:

We're registered with AXA Health, AXA therapists, AXA counselling, Aviva, Vitality, Cigna, BPS, HCPC, BABCP
Free Consultation - Icon
Call Now Button