How People With Cancer Benefit From Online Therapy?

Coping with cancer can be one of the most difficult things a person can do. Cancer not only affects your physical health but your mental health as well. It also dramatically affects your relationships and the roles you play. Cancer is debilitating for most people and can force you to put your dreams on hold for a while.

Your mental health is affected during each stage of cancer treatment. From the moment you are diagnosed through treatment (and sometimes even after) making sure to stay mentally healthy is crucial. However, for people suffering from cancer going to in-person therapy can sometimes be difficult. Online therapy has become widely more popular in recent years and is viewed as an equally effective alternative. People with cancer can eliminate some hassle by engaging with this method of therapy and getting their mental health back on track.


For people with cancer, therapy is a great way of improving self-care. It is so important to pay attention to our bodies and the messages it sends. Take care of yourself and take time to be cognizant of your feelings. If you are unsure how to get started, check out the following articles we have on sleep, meditation practices, and self-care:

Emotions and Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can mean a variety of things for people. Some reactions can range from shock and disbelief to sadness, anxiety, and fear. Cancer is a series of losses; loss of health, changes in appearance, being forced to give up activities, and can even change relationships. For most, there is a major adjustment period.

When the shock sets in it may cause you to feel numb. It may take some time to accept your diagnosis. While cancer treatment has come a long way in the last several years, that initial word can feel very frightening. It is natural to worry about everything that comes with being diagnosed.

You may resent the doctor who gave you the diagnosis or the diagnosis itself. Cancer may take time some to diagnose because of the nature of the disease, so it is natural to try to hyper analyze the situation and how things could have been different. Do not blame yourself. People who are diagnosed with cancer typically worry most for the people they love and feel a sense of guilt and responsibility for putting them through this struggle as well. If this is the case, we suggest even more strongly working with a therapist or some form of counseling.

Why It Might Be Better to Get Therapy Online

Online therapy is the most convenient and safe way for someone with cancer to receive therapy. The individual can stay in their own home (a safe, sanitized environment) away from any possible contagions. This is particularly crucial in the sensitive weeks of chemotherapy or other treatment that may weaken your immune system.

Research has found that online video therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. People with cancer face many stressors in their day that can be helped with online therapy. This option can offer support and relief of psychological symptoms.

How to Find a Therapist Who Fits Your Needs

Do not limit yourself to huge platforms to find the right therapist for you. Pay attention to their specialties and how they write about themselves. The way they describe themselves is important. If you feel hesitant about someone, that is okay! Find someone else. Your therapy journey is all about you, so find someone who you believe you could work with and trust. To find out more, check out our article on how to find a therapist here.

It is crucial to establish from the beginning how often your sessions will be. It should be enough to where you receive the support you need and do not feel overcommitted. However, for some methods of therapy (psychoanalysis), you do not have the choice for how often you should go. For more information on how often you should go to therapy, click here.

What to Expect

It is important to note that typical therapy sessions look a little different for everyone. What is consistent is that the person you engage with for your online therapy session will be a credited professional with a degree and license. Sometimes the bulk of the communication will be done via messaging and there may not be a lot of interaction at the same time between the therapist and patient. Most of the time you will be connected to your therapist in a real-time chat on the phone or video.

  • Chat: In a chat, you and your therapist will send messages back and forth instantly. You will ask each other questions and receive answers. Your therapist will be able to help you brainstorm solutions to your problems and give you feedback when you need it. While you are not speaking directly, you will have an uninterrupted conversation. A big pro of this method is that you have a written record of any conversations.
  • Phone: A phone conversation allows you to hear your therapist’s voice and discuss in real-time. Sometimes the nuances of chat messages can be misinterpreted or missed altogether. A phone conversation is much clearer and personal.
  • Video: When you have a video conversation with your therapist it is as if the two of you are in the same room. You connect with them through platforms such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and more. You are on a secure platform that ensures privacy. It can be a little awkward in the beginning if you are not used to video calls, but it will feel quite personal very quickly.

Who Will Pay for the Therapy

Online therapy can vary in price. Most clients will choose packages that have a set amount of sessions. These are typically 30-50 minutes. The packages can range depending on your therapist and the kind of therapy you are hoping to receive. Payment is typically expected in full upfront for these packages, but there may be a free trial period. These trial periods are often very short, typically lasting one week. This, however, provides a client with enough time to feel out the service and the therapist to see if online therapy will work for them. 

Insurance companies do not always cover online therapy. This does not mean it is a guarantee, however. As more research proves its effectiveness, it is likely that more insurance companies will start to cover it. At the very least, some may cover a portion of the costs. We suggest contacting your insurance company directly in order to see if online therapy is covered.

Professional mental health support is crucial to improving your wellbeing in these difficult times. Cancer can drastically change someones’ life, so take back some of that by working with a therapist. Speak with your oncologist or physician for their resources as well. For more information on how to find a therapist covered by insurance, please see our blog post. 

For other resources on finding a therapist, check out Mental Treat’s platform. We have a variety of skilled, licensed professionals ready to support you with whatever you may need. Our filters make finding the right person even easier.

A word from Mental Treat

If you were diagnosed recently with cancer, this can be a very strenuous and difficult time. Online therapy can help improve a variety of facets of your life (relationship problems, financial difficulties, or other challenges). We hope that you take this time to help yourself in the ways that you can and get the love and support you need. For more resources, please visit the Mental Treat website.


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