What is the difference between online and in-person therapy?

Many parents are still unsure of online therapy and its effectiveness in helping children. While online therapy is relatively new in South Africa it has been practised with great success internationally for over 15 years.  

 Research has proven that the results you will get from online therapy and in-person therapy are the same for certain types of therapies. The effectiveness is also dependent on the training and skill set of the therapist. 

After doing over 2000 online sessions, what we have found at My Online Therapist is that parent involvement and carrying over skills into the home is more achievable with online therapy.

Certain therapies requiring physical touch are best delivered in-person like neurodevelopmental therapy or tactile prompting. 

We also see that a child’s age, communication development and family support play a role in the effectiveness of online therapy, which is true for in-person therapy as well. 

For example, A 4 year old child with autism and social anxiety will do better with online sessions as they are in their own home while a 8 year old child with ADHD may do better in a specialised sensory room.

The Pros:

  • Convenience 
  • Easy Access to experts – location no longer an issue 
  • Reduced stigma
  • Safe from sickness

The Cons:

  • Internet reliant 
  • Loadshedding in SA 
  • Camera angles 
  • No physical touch 

The positives to online therapy definitely outweigh the negatives. 

While online therapy might not be the best solution for every child, in most cases, every parent can be supported to better understand their child’s needs and be supported to address challenges at home.  Ethically we are guided by what is best for the child! This is why each family is supported with their own case manager who acts as a connector to all services online or in-person. 

A good online therapist is an effective communicator, creative thinker and master integrator of all the information observed and not observed. 


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