What Is Online Counseling?

Online counseling is a virtual form of talk therapy, or psychotherapy, that does not involve in-person interaction during treatment. Most mental health counseling involves a patient meeting face-to-face in an office with a mental health professional like a therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist. But online counseling, which is also known as online therapy, virtual therapy, or teletherapy is a digital approach to mental health treatment, and can be conducted online through video chat or over the phone. 

Online counseling is a growing trend that has become an increasingly popular alternative for anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone who is seeking mental health counseling or talk therapy. In this age, advancements in technology have made the internet and digital devices readily available and easy to use, and for more and more people seeking mental health care, virtual counseling makes the most sense for their lifestyle. Additionally, many evidence-based approaches to psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), are well-suited to online counseling.

In this day and age, many important aspects of healthcare, and daily life in general, are available online. Online counseling is a new approach to talk therapy that keeps up with the digital world and can help many seek the mental health care that they need in a format that better suits their needs. 

Why Online Counseling?

Online counseling is a good option for people seeking individual mental health therapy who either don’t want to, or are unable to come into an in-person clinic for some reason.

You may choose online counseling for reasons such as the following:

  • You live in a rural community or area where mental health treatment options are scarce
  • You live in an area where quality mental health care is scarce 
  • You travel often for work or have a difficult schedule 
  • You don’t have access to transportation
  • You have a health issue that limits your mobility 
  • You are fearful of facing a stranger in person or do not wish to meet in an office setting due to a mental health issue, for example social anxiety or stress 
  • You are not dealing with severe psychological disorders or suicidal concerns

What Issues Can Be Treated With Online Therapy?

Online counseling is a good treatment option for mental health concerns such as:

Who Is Online Counseling For?

Online counseling is right for people who:

  • Want a more convenient and flexible option for their mental health care
  • Reside in the state of Michigan, as licensing is by state and our clinicians are located and licensed in Michigan 

Online counseling is not right for people who:

  • Are actively suicidal or looking for help with suicidal thoughts 
  • Are in an extreme crisis situation 
  • Have severe depression
  • Are looking for help managing schizophrenia or a personality disorder
  • Are uncomfortable using technology 
  • Have limited privacy at home
  • Don’t feel comfortable sharing personal information over the internet or phone 

Can I Use My Insurance for Online Counseling?

At IDENTITY, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance plans. Some BCBS plans do cover telehealth, but many do not. If this is critical, make sure to check with your insurance company prior to starting online counseling. Our clinicians are licensed in Michigan, which means that you must be physically located somewhere in Michigan for us to help.

COVID-19 Update: For the time being, insurance is covering telehealth sessions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Below is a list of insurance plans that we accept at IDENTITY. Please note that just because we accept your insurance does not mean that you will be covered for teletherapy. If you have one of the following insurance plans and are interested in therapy at IDENTITY but need to guarantee that you’ll be covered, individual, in-person counseling on location at our Ann Arbor practice might be a better fit for you.

Accepted insurance plans:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) 
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) 
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO (BCBS PPO)
  • Blue Care Network of Michigan (BCN)
  • U-M Premier Care (BCN) 
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal 

If you want to use your insurance for teletherapy but you are not in-network with us, we can always provide a detailed receipt for you to submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement. Some clients are able to get reimbursed 100% and some are not able to get reimbursed at all. If this is critical, we suggest checking your out-of-network and telehealth benefits with your insurance company prior to beginning online counseling sessions. For more information on out-of-network benefits, please see our FAQ page

How Do I Schedule an Online Counseling Session?

To schedule an online counseling session with IDENTITY, you must reside in the state of Michigan. All of our clinicians are licensed mental health professionals in the state of Michigan. 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the therapists at IDENTITY are all offering online counseling at this time.

To schedule an online counseling session with IDENTITY, fill out the contact sheet below:

*PLEASE NOTE* If you do not receive a follow up email from our office ( within 1 day, please check your spam folder.