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The Doctor Will See You Now: Understanding the Growing Interest in In-Person Mental Health Therapy

Heather Lyons, Ph.D.

When it comes to mental health care, the method of delivery has always adapted to the times, evolving with advancements in technology and shifts in societal norms. Yet, recent trends suggest a growing interest in in-person therapy sessions. This blog post explores the nuanced reasons behind this preference despite the demonstrated benefits of both online and in-person therapy.

Understanding the Appeal of In-Person Therapy

The Power of Personal Connection with a Mental Health Professional

In-person therapy sessions offer a personal connection that is difficult to replicate through a screen. This connection with a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist isn’t just about being physically close. It’s about the energy shared in the same space, the empathetic nods, and the comfort found in a shared silence. For many, these subtle yet profound interactions lay the groundwork for a therapeutic relationship with a mental health professional built on trust and understanding.

Non-Verbal Communication and Behavior: A Window into Emotion

A significant portion of human communication is non-verbal. In a therapy context, body language, facial expressions, and even the energy in the room can provide invaluable insights. For both therapist and patient, being in the same room can enhance the ability to read and respond to these non-verbal cues, enriching the therapeutic experience. Additionally, the signs and symptoms of health concerns like major depressive disorder, anxiety, gender identity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder are often displayed non-verbally.

The Therapeutic Space: A Sanctuary for Healing

There’s something to be said for the dedicated space and therapeutic relationship that in-person therapy provides—a safe, controlled environment that’s distinct from the stress and chaos of daily life. This physical separation from one’s regular environment can help clients step into a mindset that’s more conducive to the introspection and healing that is a part of psychotherapy.

Reasons Behind the Shift Towards In-Person Sessions

As we delve deeper into the reasons why individuals might gravitate back to in-person therapy, it’s essential to recognize that this shift isn’t about discrediting online therapy. Instead, it’s about understanding the diverse needs and preferences that guide personal choices in health and, specifically, mental health care.

The Continued Benefits of Online Therapy

While we explore the greater inclinations towards in-person therapy, it’s crucial to acknowledge the undeniable advantages of virtual therapy that have supported countless individuals through their mental health journey, whether that is in individual therapy, couples therapy, or family therapy.

Unprecedented Accessibility and Convenience

One of the most significant breakthroughs in mental health care has been the democratization of access through online therapy. Individuals living in remote areas, those with mobility challenges, or people with tightly packed schedules have found a lifeline in the ability to connect with therapists, whether a psychologist, mental health counselor, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional, from the comfort of their homes. This level of accessibility to a mental health provider is unparalleled and continues to play a vital role in breaking down barriers to mental health care.

Flexibility to Fit Every Lifestyle

The flexibility offered by online therapy sessions is unmatched. Being able to schedule a session during a lunch break or attend a session while away from home provides a layer of convenience that fits seamlessly into modern lifestyles. This flexibility ensures that therapy can be a consistent part of one’s routine rather than an exception, burden, or additional source of stress.

A World of Choices at Your Fingertips

Online therapy opens up a world of therapeutic options. No longer are patients limited to therapists within driving distance. Now, they can find a therapist who specializes in their specific needs, whether that’s someone with expertise in trauma, anxiety disorder, depression, anger concerns, insomnia, grief, domestic violence, addiction, substance abuse, or other mental health concerns. This breadth of choice in a mental health provider and modality, in-person or online, empowers individuals to find the therapeutic relationship that truly resonates with their mental health journey.

Navigating the Choice Between In-Person and Online Therapy

Making the decision between in-person and online therapy involves a thoughtful consideration of one’s personal needs, preferences, and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider when navigating this choice.

Assessing Personal Mental Health Needs and Preferences

Start by reflecting on what feels most important in your therapy experience. Do you find more value in the physical presence and direct eye contact of in-person sessions, or does the convenience and comfort of attending sessions from your own space resonate more with you? Consider also the nature of your therapy and mental health goals and whether they might benefit from the specific dynamics of in-person or online therapy.

Practical Considerations for In-Person and Online Therapy

Don’t overlook practical factors such as travel time to a therapist’s office, the availability of privacy for online sessions, or even your comfort with technology. These logistical elements can significantly impact your therapy experience and should be part of your decision-making process.

The Future of Therapy: Blending Modalities for Personalized Care

The evolution of mental health care is steering towards a model that values personalization above all. As we look towards the future, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the dichotomy between in-person and online therapy is not about competition but about complementation. These two modes of health care experience can work together!

Embracing a Hybrid Approach to Psychotherapy

For many, a hybrid model of therapy, which combines the benefits of both in-person and online psychotherapy sessions, offers the best of both worlds. This approach allows for the flexibility and accessibility of online therapy while still maintaining the personal connection and depth of in-person psychotherapy interactions when needed. Therapists and patients alike are finding value in the ability to tailor the therapy experience to fit individual needs and life circumstances.

Personalized Therapy: A Path to Comprehensive Care

The ultimate goal of any therapeutic journey is to provide care that is as unique as the individual receiving it. By offering a choice between in-person and online therapy—or a blend of the two—mental health care becomes more inclusive, accessible, and effective. Much like how a therapist may blend cognitive behavioral therapy with psychodynamic psychotherapy, this personalization ensures that everyone can find a path to healing that feels right for them, respecting their preferences, needs, and the complexities of their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I switch between in-person and online therapy sessions?

Yes, many therapists offer the flexibility to switch between in-person and online psychotherapy sessions, allowing you to choose the format that best suits your needs.

Is in-person therapy more effective than online therapy?

Effectiveness varies by individual and situation. Both in-person and online therapy have been shown to be effective for a variety of mental health issues. The key is finding the right fit for you.

How can I find in-person mental health therapy near me?

WithTherapy.com offers a comprehensive directory to help you find in-person therapists in your area. You can filter your search based on zip code, specialty, and other preferences to find the best match for your needs.

How much does in-person therapy cost?

The cost of in-person therapy can vary widely depending on several factors, including the therapist’s experience and qualifications, the location of their practice, and the length and frequency of sessions. It’s also worth noting that many health insurance plans cover part or all of the cost of therapy sessions, so it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider about your coverage. Additionally, some community health centers and clinics offer mental health services at a reduced rate or for free, depending on eligibility.


The growing interest in in-person therapy highlights the diverse needs and preferences that individuals have when it comes to their mental health care. As we continue to navigate the complexities of the human mind and spirit, the ability to choose—or blend—therapy modalities is a powerful tool in our collective journey toward healing and growth.

Remember, the best therapy approach is one that resonates with you personally, offering the convenience and connection needed to thrive.

Find an In-Person Therapy Session Near You

Whether you’re leaning towards in-person therapy, are interested in exploring online options, or considering a hybrid approach, WithTherapy.com is here to support you. Explore our resources, connect with therapists, and take the first step towards a therapy experience that’s tailored to you.

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