Telepsychotherapy and the Therapeutic Relationship: Principles, Advantages, and Case Examples

Barbara J. Kocsis, Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: As the use of technology continues to expand within our mental healthcare system, there has been an increasing interest in conducting psychotherapy online using videoconferencing. Literature pertaining to telepsychotherapy has explored possible drawbacks of this modality on the therapeutic relationship, although several studies have shown that the efficacy of online psychotherapy is equivalent to in-person approaches. Little is written about the potential advantages to the psychotherapeutic relationship when psychotherapy is carried out over videoconferencing. Methods: The available literature was reviewed, as were the general principles of telepsychotherapy and the therapeutic relationship, followed by a more in-depth consideration of patient populations for whom telepsychotherapy may offer distinct advantages. Results: The current literature, as well as our own clinical experience, suggests that telepsychotherapy may be effective for a broad range of patients, and it may offer distinct advantages in the building of a trusting psychotherapeutic relationship. Conclusion: Telepsychotherapy offers a novel way to reach and form strong psychotherapeutic relationships with many different types of patients, and it may foster therapeutic intimacy in ways that in-person psychotherapy cannot. More research is needed to further explore this unique modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-334
Number of pages6
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • online psychotherapy
  • psychotherapeutic relationship
  • telepsychiatry
  • telepsychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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