Here's what the experts have to say about online therapy.

 

 

Telemental health is effective for diagnosis and assessment across many populations (adult, child,geriatric, and ethnic) and for disorders in many settings (emergency,home health) and appears to be comparable to in-person care. In addition, this review has identified new models of care (i.e., collaborative care, asynchronous, mobile) with equally positive outcomes

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TELEMENTAL HEALTH: A 2013 REVIEW

 

 

A University of Zurich study divided a group of 62 patients in half and found that depression was eased in 53 percent of those given online therapy, compared to 50 percent who had in-person counseling. Three months after completing the study, 57 percent of online patients showed no signs of depression compared to 42 percent with conventional therapy.

Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial.  

 

 

Videoconferencing Psychotherapy is feasible, has been used in a variety of therapeutic formats and with diverse populations, is generally associated with good user satisfaction, and is found to have similar clinical outcomes to traditional
face-to-face psychotherapy

Videoconferencing Psychotherapy: A Systematic Review

A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions

 a meta-analysis of 92studies  (9,764 clients)examining the effectiveness of online therapy of different forms effective traditional, face-to-face therapy. Next, we examined interacting effects of various possible relevant moderators of the effects of online therapy, including type of therapy (self-help web-based therapy versus online communication-based etherapy), type of outcome measure, time of measurement of outcome (post-therapy or follow-up), type of problem treated, therapeutic approach, and communication modality, among others. A comparison between face-to-face and Internet intervention as reported on in 14 of the studies revealed no differences in effectiveness.

 

Web-based interventions for comorbid depression and chronic illness: a systematic review2015
systematic review examined 11 independent studies (N = 1348 participants most commonly performed with diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Results indicated significant improvements in depression severity (, in addition to quality of life, problem-solving skills, functional ability, anxiety and pain-related cognitions 
Telepsychology for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: a systematic review
The effectiveness of psychological services provided remotely, telepsychology, for the management of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was evaluated. Eleven studies (n = 472 participants) were identified Short-term treatment gains were reported for internet and video-based interventions. This included significant medium to large improvements in cognitive and behavioural symptoms of depression, generalised anxiety and posttraumatic stress. 
Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial ☆2014
The primary aim of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of an internet-based intervention with a face-to-face intervention for depression in a randomized non-inferiority trial.
62 participants suffering from depression were randomly assigned to the therapist-supported internet-based intervention group (n=32) and to the face-to-face intervention (n=30). The 8 week interventions were based on cognitive-behavioral therapy principles. 
no significant between-group difference (online vs. face-to-face group) At post-treatment both treatment conditions revealed significant symptom changes compared to before the intervention. At 3-month follow-up, results in the online group remained stable. In contrast to this, participants in the face-to-face group showed significantly worsened depressive symptoms three months after termination of treatment 
The effectiveness of telemental health: a 2013 review.
Telemental health is effective for diagnosis and assessment across many populations (adult, child, geriatric, and ethnic) and for disorders in many settings (emergency, home health) and appears to be comparable to in-person care. In addition, this review has identified new models of care (i.e., collaborative care, asynchronous, mobile) with equally positive outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS:
Telemental health is effective and increases access to care. Future directions suggest the need for more research on service models, specific disorders, the issues relevant to culture and language, and cost.
Outcomes of 98,609 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Patients Enrolled in Telemental Health Services, 2006–2010 The study assessed clinical outcomes of 98,609 mental health patients before and after enrollment in telemental health services of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs between 2006 and 2010. 
The study compared number of inpatient psychiatric admissions and days of psychiatric hospitalization among patients who participated in remote clinical videoconferencing during an average period of six months before and after their enrollment in the telemental health services.
Between 2006 and 2010, psychiatric admissions of telemental health patients decreased by an average of 24.2%, and the patients' days of hospitalization decreased by an average of 26.6% %). The number of admissions and the days of hospitalization decreased for both men and women and in 83.3% of the age groups.
This four-year study, the first large-scale assessment of telemental health services, found that after initiation of such services, patients' hospitalization utilization decreased by an average of approximately 25%. 
Videoconferencing psychotherapy: a systematic review. 2012
. We conducted a systematic literature review of the use of videoconferencing psychotherapy (VCP), designed to address 10 specific questions, including therapeutic types/formats that have been implemented, the populations with which VCP is being used, the number and types of publications related to VCP, and available satisfaction, feasibility, and outcome data related to VCP. After electronic searches and reviews of reference lists, 821 potential articles were identified, and 65 were selected for inclusion. The results indicate that VCP is feasible, has been used in a variety of therapeutic formats and with diverse populations, is generally associated with good user satisfaction, and is found to have similar clinical outcomes to traditional face-to-face psychotherapy. Although the number of articles being published on VCP has increased in recent years, there remains a need for additional large-scale clinical trials to further assess the efficacy and effectiveness of VCP.
A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions2007
Internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions have been used for more than a decade, but no comprehensive review and no extensive meta-analysis of their effectiveness have been conducted. We have collected all of the empirical articles published up to March 2006 (n = 64) that examine the effectiveness of online therapy of different forms and performed a meta-analysis of all the studies reported in them (n = 92). These studies involved a total of 9,764 clients who were treated through various Internet-based psychological interventions for a variety of problems, whose effectiveness was assessed by different types of measures. The overall mean weighted effect size was found to be 0.53 (medium effect), which is quite similar to the average effect size of traditional, face-to-face therapy. Next, we examined interacting effects of various possible relevant moderators of the effects of online therapy, including type of therapy (self-help web-based therapy versus online communication-based etherapy), type of outcome measure, time of measurement of outcome (post-therapy or follow-up), type of problem treated, therapeutic approach, and communication modality, among others. A comparison between face-to-face and Internet intervention as reported on in 14 of the studies revealed no differences in effectiveness. The findings of this meta-analysis, and review of additional Internet therapy studies not included in the meta-analysis, provide strong support for the adoption of online psychological interventions as a legitimate therapeutic activity and suggest several insights in regard to its application. Limitations of the findings and recommendations concerning Internet-based therapy and future research are discussed.