Numerous platforms are available as online therapy becomes an essential need, especially during the current pandemic. With so many choices, picking one might be tricky, so we created a list of the top ten online therapy platforms you can easily choose from.
If you’re completely new to online therapy, check out our getting started guide for more information about online therapy.
3 Quick Tips for Choosing an Online Therapist
Be honest with yourself. Be honest and detailed about what you’re dealing with and what type of support you’re looking for. “Often, clients will send me an email saying I want to improve my self-esteem,” says Kasia. “That may not be enough information to know if I’m the right counselor for them. Try to include what you’d like to work on or some of the issues you’ve been struggling with.”
Make sure the therapist is licensed. Whichever therapist you choose, ensure they are licensed in your state and good standing. Ask for a license number and verify it with the licensing board in your state.
Ask your potential therapist questions. Figure out if the therapist is the right fit for you and the therapist. Ask your therapist if they feel comfortable treating your symptoms. It’s okay if the therapist refers you to someone more specialized for your needs. ( Read more )
Top 10 Online Therapy Sites – Updated 8/10
1. BetterHelp.com – #1 Best Overall Online Therapy Provider
BetterHelp is one of the most popular platforms in the US and has helped more than 3,000,000 people.
They provide counseling to teens, couples, and individuals. They have an easy-to-use app that you can access through your laptop, tablet, or Smartphone.
They have more than 25,000 licensed professionals that abide by strict local laws and regulations.
They also have the necessary credentials and certifications to offer a top-tier service. Therefore, you are guaranteed confidentially, privacy, and professionalism.
The subscription at BetterHelp is $60 per week for the initial month, and then it varies between $60 and $90 per week, depending on the contract period.
- Ability to stay anonymous and use a nickname
- Many therapists offer worksheets and encourage live sessions
- Financial aid is available if you are eligible
- 15% Coupon for New Signups
- You can easily change the therapist whenever you want
- Highly rated for helping with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress
- Response times vary significantly from one therapist to the next
- No Meds
2. Talkspace.com – Well Established
Talkspace has been around since 2012 and boasts its record of helping over one million people.
They even have Michael Phelps as their spokesperson, discussing how the platform helped him. Talkspace has over 3000 licensed professional therapists that specialize in plenty of fields. Therefore, you can get the help you need with depression, insomnia, trauma, addiction, or other mental health issues.
They use numerous treatment approaches, such as CBT, psychodynamic, and dialectical behavioral therapy. The subscription costs between $65 and $99 per week.
- It supports live sessions
- Easy-to-use app
- 1-Week free trial
- Easy communication through text, video, or audio
- Prompt replies with e-mail notifications
- If you can cancel the subscription, you will get billed for the month regardless
- Some therapists tend to offer short replies
- Matching you with a therapist can take a couple of days
3. Calmerry.com – #1 Newest Online Therapy Platform
Calmerry.com is one of the new online therapy platforms, but it is quickly growing and climbing to the top of the list. It is founded by a group of professional EU and American entrepreneurs who want to provide the world with the help it needs in these challenging times.
As of June 1st, they’ve added a new package deal, offering one week of therapy for $45.00 (a 50% discount), including unlimited messaging and 1 video session. The platform offers affordable and professional online therapy through a vast roster of experienced and certified therapists. They offer a variety of plans that start from only $45/month. These plans include unlimited text messaging as well as 30-min sessions via video call.
These professionals will provide guidance and support on various mental-health-related issues. These include anxiety, grief, stress, depression, and much more. The platform is easy-to-use, innovative, and user-oriented.
- Free Trial for all New Clients
- A great option for clients who want to get value for their money
- Fully licensed therapists with many years of experience
- Secure HIPAA-compliant platform for messaging therapy and video therapy
- Therapists specialize in treating a wide range of mental health issues
- The customer support team is friendly and is always ready to help
- You can switch therapists for free and cancel any time
- Does not accept insurance
- New online therapy platform
4. Online-Therapy.com – #1 for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Online-Thearpy.com offers an original approach to online therapy. It has licensed and trained professionals under its service. You can get the opportunity to talk with licensed season counselors.
Of course, it has its pros and cons, but it is an exceptionally good and unique approach.
The licensed online therapy costs $150 a month, and it includes accessible communication with the therapist, including live chat and sessions.
- Affordable online therapy
- Chat for free 24/7 with volunteers and listeners
- Allows you to grow and progress at your own pace
- Group support sessions available (anxiety, LGBTQ+, relationship, etc…) – Individual and couples therapy
- Weekly 45 mins live sessions (video, voice, or text)
- Unlimited messaging
- 8 section CBT program, incl. 25 worksheets
- Daily worksheet replies Mon-Fri
- Change therapists with a click of a button
- Therapy on a secure & confidential platform
- Yoga & meditation-videos, journal, activity plan & tests
- Newcomers might be confused about how to start at first
5. PrideCounseling.com – #1 for Gay & Lesbian Therapy
PrideCounseling was launched in 2017 as a part of the BetterHelp therapy platform. It provides the LGBTQ+ community with the support they need. All the professionals are aware of all the issues that the members of the LGBTQ+ community suffer daily. They are well-trained, understanding, friendly, and, most importantly, licensed and HIPAA compliant. It offers its services at a flat fee subscription of $65 per week. It includes unlimited text, audio, and video messaging and one weekly live session.
- Live chat and sessions available
- Specializes in all mental health issues of the LGBTQ+ community
- Affordable, with available financial aid to those who are eligible
- Easy and accessible treatment via phone, laptop, or tablet
- HIPAA compliant
- Long questionnaire when signing up
- Matching with a therapist can take up to 24 hours
6. Regain.us – #1 Therapy for Couples
Regain is an online therapy platform that specializes in counseling couples. They can address a wide array of challenges in the relationship, from communication issues to infidelity and trust. All its counselors are trained, accredited psychologists and licensed marriage and family therapists with at least 2000 hours of hands-on therapy experience. It offers a safe space for you and your partner with the ability to talk privately to the therapist. It costs $65 per week, including unlimited messaging and one live session.
- Focuses on couple’s therapy and problems
- No extra fee if it is a couple or an individual in the sessions
- Couples can attend therapy even when they are not physically in the same location
- Live sessions are encouraged and available
- No live customer support
- No 3-way live video sessions are available
- Some therapists reply after 24 hours
7. TeenCounseling.com #1 for Parent, Teenager & Child Counseling
TeenCounseling specializes in treating individuals that are aged between 13 and 19. They have professional therapists with the experience needed to deal with issues like self-esteem, bullying, eating disorders, stress, and anxiety. It was founded in 2013 with more than 1000 licensed counselors. It has two plans that come with a price tag of $45 and $65 per week.
- Sessions are confidential
- Counselors are well-equipped to deal with teen-related issues
- Private “room” for teens and their therapists
- Live sessions are available on-demand or as a part of the plan
- Ability to attend the therapy as a parent with no extra charge
- Various communication methods with live sessions
- The platform will not provide a diagnosis
- It does not fulfill court orders
8. FaithfulCounseling.com #1 for Christian-Based Therapy
Faithful Counseling has various mental and physical health services catering to Faith-based counseling. It was founded in 2012 with a fantastic record of accomplishment.
They have a massive team of psychiatrists and psychologists who offer the support and aid you might need.
They also have free mental health assessments through the screening tool. It will not take more than a few minutes to finish.
The prices vary between $129 and $299 per visit, depending on the session’s time and purpose.
- Upfront and transparent pricing
- Effective medication management and emotional support
- 24/7 availability
- Plenty of options to get the help you need
- Free screening tool available
- No e-mail or chat customer support
- There are minor delays in replies from support
- Video chat is the only option
9. DeafCounseling.com – #1 for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired
DeafCounseling.com offers a unique online counseling platform where all its therapists are Deaf. Owned by two Deaf providers who really know how to cater to their audience.
All therapy sessions are completed in sign language, so there’s no need for interpreters. Unlike other online counseling platforms, they accept many insurance plans, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), pro bono and sliding scale options, Victim Compensation, and Vocational Rehabilitation Vouchers. As a deaf person, you can seek and get all the help you need.
Whether you need life coaching or suffer from any mental condition, anxiety, depression, or anything else, DeafCounseling is more than prepared to provide the required help and support.
- 100% confidential, HIPAA-compliant
- Offer In-office sessions or videophone and web-based therapy
- Accepts many insurance plans, EAPs, and vocational rehabilitation programs
- Sliding fee scale available
- LBGTQ friendly
- Prices are not listed on the website
- No 24/7 Support
ChoosingTherapy.com is a unique online therapy platform. It does not only offer access to therapists, as it believes that all information regarding mental health should be available for everyone and for free. Therefore, it provides a massive library of articles, guides, and therapy techniques that you can access for free. Once you have all the necessary information, ChoosingTherpay.com offers access to many therapists with different specialties. You can directly book an appointment after finding the best fit for you. You can view all therapists’ profiles, including all the information you might need to make an educated decision.
- Quick Appointment Status
- Does not accept insurance companies
- Not yet accessible in all states
- No monthly subscriptions
- No unlimited messaging
|Company||Cheapest Price||Financial Aid||Length of Live Session||Insurance||Services||Free Therapy||Android & iPhone App|
|25% off||45 Minute||No||Unlimited Text, Video, Audio Messaging, 1 weekly live session||No||Yes|
|Talkspace||$104/week ($416 month)||no||30 Minute||Yes||Unlimited Text, Video, Audio Messaging, 1 weekly live session||No||Yes|
|no||30 Minute||No||Unlimited Text, Video, Audio Messaging, 1 weekly live session||No||No|
Online Therapy Learning Section
How I Choose
As a licensed professional mental health therapist, I carefully assessed each online therapy service by looking into the therapist’s credibility, their prices, and the expertise of the professionals found on each online platform.
Each one listed on this page meets my standards.
I reviewed this article to make sure everything found on these pages is accurate and considered the following criteria when selecting the top online therapy platforms, such as:
- Easy sign-up process
- Availability of the counselors
- Cost and Payment options
- Insurance Providers
- Variation of services and ways to connect with a therapist
- Collection of well-specialized experts
- Only collaborate with fully licensed mental health professionals
Choosing an Online Therapist
It is crucial to find a good therapist when it comes to therapy. You must find a therapist you will feel comfortable talking with because you will share uncomfortable thoughts and stories. The therapist will hear things that you have never told anyone before. Therefore, you must be completely comfortable and open with your therapist. If you seek a therapist at an online platform, you will find plenty of therapists because of the current pandemic situation. Therefore, it might be tricky to plan. So, we have compiled some strategies that should assist you in finding the best therapist for you.
Why is it Vital to Find a Good Match?
You may get recommendations from a friend regarding a therapist, telling you that this specific therapist has worked wonders with him. While recommendations are great, it does not mean you will get the same results. For the therapy to be effective, you must feel comfortable and connected with the therapist. For example, if you feel that the therapist will judge you, you might not be able to talk freely, and you will apply filters when you speak, which will deem the therapy ineffective. The relationship between therapist and patient is so crucial that it has its term, “Therapeutic Alliance.”
What Does Therapeutic Alliance Mean?
Edward Bordin was one of the first researchers to examine the therapeutic alliance and its effect. His research showed that the therapeutic alliance is not only the bond between the therapist and the patient. It also includes the mutual agreement on the therapy’s goals and the methods to achieve them. Various research studies reinforced that the relationship between the patient and the therapist, the “therapeutic alliance,” is vital to the treatment’s success. The APA formed a task force to see the most effective therapy type to stress that fact. The research showed that the therapeutic alliance is more important than the therapy type.
What Factors Should You Consider When Picking a Therapist?
You should decide which factors you should consider when picking a therapist. These factors can include the following:
- Religious Beliefs
Therefore, online therapy platforms will always ask questions about these points regarding your preferences in picking the therapist. For example, you might feel that you can connect with an older woman easier than a young man. On the other hand, some might feel better talking to someone of their age and gender. Maybe you would want someone who shares the same religious beliefs because you want to bring God into the therapy. In short, it all depends on our preferences and who you think you would feel comfortable talking to during the treatment.
You should also check the bio that each therapist usually presents. You will be able to know more about the therapist, which should help you decide. Of course, the therapists will not share much about their personal lives, but they will share their credentials and a few basic facts about who they are.
Understanding the Different Credentials
Therapists will boast their credentials, and you will see a lot of initials after their names. It can be confusing to understand these initials. Some of the most common credentials are:
- NCC (National Certified Counselor)
- LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
- Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
- PsyD (Doctor of Psychology)
- LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor)
- LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
These initials are basic as they come in different variations depending on the state, credentialing system, and licensing board. It is vital to check if the therapist is licensed and follows the guidelines and ethics code. For your therapist to get their credentials, they will have to meet all the requirements and pass the tests required by the local state board. These credentials mean that they have acquired the stamp of approval and are competent to provide you with their service. It also means that they follow the strict confidentiality and ethical codes set forth by their respective state board and licensing organization.
What Questions to Ask the Therapist Before the First Appointment?
While reading their bio and reviews are helpful, nothing will make you know the therapist better than talking with them first. Therefore, you should always have a quick call with the therapist before the first appointment. First impressions matter, and therefore that call will give you an indicator of whether you made the right choice or not. After some introductory small talk, you should ask the therapist a few questions. These questions can include:
- How do they conduct their treatment?
- How do they help people who want to achieve the same goals as you?
- How do they help patients get comfortable during therapy?
- Have they helped people with similar cases?
These are only a few questions, as you should add your own. Ask them any question that pops in your mind because therapists are more than willing to open up and answer anything. So, don’t hold back and ask away.
What to do if you are not happy with your Therapist?
If you feel that you are not comfortable with your therapist and that it was not a good match, you should act. It does not matter whether it is the first appointment or the tenth; you can change the therapist whenever you feel like it. On the other hand, if you have been with the therapist for a while, you may want to discuss it first and explain why you do not feel connected. It might feel uncomfortable or awkward, but do not fret; therapists get into that conversation often. They can address what is causing the lack of connection. That is not all. If the issue cannot be fixed, they can even help you find someone who is a better match after understanding why you feel that way.
It works the same way if you are getting therapy online. With a few clicks, you can ask for a new therapist. Most platforms will ask for feedback to understand why you feel that way. They will use the information to improve their service and to be able to find a better match on their platform.
Most importantly, do not feel awkward about changing therapists; go ahead if you think you need to do it. Sometimes, the therapist and the patient do not have the necessary connection for numerous reasons. To take full advantage of your therapy, you should always feel comfortable and connected with your therapist.
Benefits of Online Counseling
- Online counseling gives you access to a larger directory of mental health professionals who might be more culturally competent and diverse than local counselors.
- Online counseling gives you the choice of how often and what method of communication you would like to use, helping you feel in control and safe.
- You can refer to old text messages and emails between you and your therapist as a form of reference. They remain secure in your messenger app or email for you to review anytime.
- Online counseling is great for those who struggle with severe trauma, depression, social anxiety, and trust issues. This is a safe way to talk about sensitive issues in your home. It is often easier to be vulnerable when you trust your surroundings.
- Treatment is more flexible because you are not limited to traditional office hours. It is also a terrific way to stay connected with your therapist while traveling for work or family events. It can be beneficial for couples who are having relationship issues, as well. They can participate in couples therapy online and never have to stop treatment.
Will Insurance cover Online Therapy?
If you feel confused and overwhelmed by all the changes to insurance, its rules, and service access, rest assured that you are not the only one. From the statement of many people in the field, whether insurance or psychotherapy, the main reason behind the confusing rules and regulations regarding telehealth coverage is that they are changing rapidly during the pandemic crisis. Also, the US Congress has expanded coverage for several programs. They include Federal Programs, Medicaid, and Medicare for the affected areas. That is not all, as the Dept. of Health and Human Services relaxed its ultimatum of HIPAA compliant platforms, although they made it clear that they still encourage them to be used.
Regardless of all of that, one fact remains. The fact is that when it comes to insurance coverage for online therapy, it will mostly depend on the carrier, as stated by Virginia Hill, the Senior Insurance Analyst. She explained that some insurance companies would cover the sessions, while others would only cover them if necessary from a medical perspective. Unfortunately, some insurance agencies won’t cover anything. On the other hand, in the wake of COVID-19, many insurers are trying to find new ways to handle the sudden switch to online therapy.
The bottom line is that many insurance companies are changing their coverage to include online therapy due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders. For many insurers, the service itself is not new, but they are witnessing a great surge in the number of therapists and clients moving toward online therapy. Therefore, due to this transition from traditional to virtual treatment, the companies should provide clear info on their websites regarding Teletherapy coverage.
How to Navigate the Most Common Insurance Issues?
The insurer is the most important and accurate source of your insurance plan and its coverage. The first stop should always be the insurer’s website, which would give you an idea of what kind of therapy is covered, how much the copay is, and which therapists/online therapy platforms the insurance accepts. It is also essential to have everything documented, and you need to understand the documents you need to get the reimbursement. That is essential, as someone from the insurer might tell you that online therapy is covered, but your claim can still get denied. Therefore, you will need to appeal and keep a good record of every conversation you have with the insurer and its representatives.
Therefore, the first step is to check your carrier’s website.
Medicaid and Medicare
Many people wonder whether Medicaid and Medicare cover online therapy or not. Medicaid and Medicare have broadened their services to include access to psychotherapy and other mental health services. It is a result of the emergency declaration by the president in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Medicare’s website, Medicare Part B covers specific telehealth services like psychotherapy. You will need to pay the same amount for Teletherapy for most cases and services as you would for traditional face-to-face therapy. Even though it is always important to contact your insurer’s customer service and get more info.
It is also quite important not to give up. If the insurer tells you it is not covered, contact them occasionally, as decisions and new regulations are constantly happening because of the current pandemic.
How to Pay for Online Therapy without Insurance?
Many online therapy platforms, counselors, and psychologists are offering a sliding scale so that they can provide access to those in need of it but do not have insurance or do not have a plan that covers it. Some would offer a 50% discount, and others provide programs allowing you to buy multiple sessions at a reduced price.
Also, there are a lot of organizations that would help you find low-cost online therapy. For instance, in NYC, there is the NY Society of Clinical Social Workers. They have a list of resources to help people find low-fee online therapy. There is also ThriveNYC, which offers a lot of info about how insurance agencies modify their mental health services rules and regulations during the Coronavirus crisis. You should always check your local mental health agency and state health departments’ websites, as they can offer more information about that in their respective state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it as Effective as Regular Therapy?
It is undoubtedly the number one question on everyone’s mind. According to several studies, online therapy is genuinely as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. A study in 2018 that the Journal of Anxiety Disorders published in 2018 determined that CBT is as acceptable, practical, and effective as face-to-face therapy when treating panic disorders, generalized anxiety, major depression, and social anxiety. In 2014, two studies vouched for the effectiveness of online therapy and the usage of CBT in dealing with mental health problems. They were issued by Behavior Research and Therapy and The Journal of Affective Disorders
Are there any Disadvantages?
While online therapy has plenty of pros, it has one disadvantage. Many people feel that it is impersonal when compared to traditional office-based therapy. They also think the therapist will be unable to read their body language as effectively, even if the sessions are via video call.
What are the Advantages and Benefits?
Online therapy has countless potential benefits, which certainly outweigh the disadvantages. For instance, plenty of people choose online therapy because of its convenience and how it saves time. It is easy to schedule appointments, whether during the morning, the evening, or even during the weekend. The therapists are also easily reachable as they are only a text away.
Online therapy also saves time, as you will not need to drive or get a cab to the office. You will quickly open the app and access the video call if you have an appointment.
Is Online Therapy for Everyone?
Online therapy platforms always make it clear on the website about who will be a good candidate for online therapy. For example, online therapy is not suitable for individuals who are having suicidal thoughts or suffering from psychosis.
Are Online Therapists Licensed?
Any well-repeated site will only hire licensed professional therapists. Also, reputable websites will always highlight their therapists’ credentials, licenses, and fields of expertise. So, if you choose the website carefully, you can rest assured that all its therapists are licensed professionals.
Can I Get Prescribed Medications Online?
There is no definitive answer online, as it depends on each platform. Some websites can prescribe medications like anti-anxiety and antidepressants, which you can get at your pharmacy.
How to Choose an Online Therapy Platform or App?
Choosing a platform can be tricky, as many online do not offer the same quality and professionalism. Therefore, it is essential to pick it carefully to get the therapy and support you need. For example, you should check the credentials of the therapists as well as the communication methods. For instance, some platforms offer live sessions and text, while others only support text messaging.
Another critical point is the price and the offered package. You should see if you prefer an ongoing subscription with unlimited messaging or would you want to have live appointments that you can schedule when needed. You should also check reviews of the different platforms, as they will provide you with insight into all the aspects of different platforms.
Does Insurance cover Online Therapy? How to Pay for it?
It depends on each insurance company, as some cover the cost of therapy online and others do not. Also, they sometimes have a contract with specific platforms and therapists. On the other hand, most online therapy platforms are not covered by insurance. Therefore, you can pay using credit cards and some e-wallets.
How Can I Communicate with my Therapist and How Often?
It differs from one platform to the next, but there are multiple communication methods. They include audio messaging, video messaging, text messaging, video calls, and phone calls. The regularity of contact depends on your needs and the platform you picked. Most offer unlimited messaging and one video call per week. The impressive thing about online therapy is that you can do all of that through your phone with a simple app.
Which Mental Health Problems can be Treated Online?
You can get help with many mental health problems online, such as stress-related problems, panic disorders, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. On the other hand, some types of therapy cannot be carried out online. These types of treatment include sand tray therapy, EMDR, and play therapy.
Are there Online Therapy Platforms Specific for Couples, Teens, and the LGBTQ Community?
The answer is a clear yes. There is an online therapy platform for everyone. For example, PrideCounseling is for LGBTQ community members, Regain for couples, and TeenCounseling for teens and children.
Can I Pick the Therapist I Want?
It depends on the platform, as some will give you options to choose from after reading their bios. According to a brief questionnaire about your preference and needs, other sites will find the best match for you. Either way, you will have the option to change your therapist for any reason at any time, with ease.
Will I Always have the Same Online Therapist?
Most, if not all, online therapy platforms will let you communicate with the same online therapist so that you can build a bond and get better help.
How Long Does Online Therapy Last?
It all depends on your treatment progress and needs. For instance, some people would only need a few messages and a video session, while others might need online therapy as a long-term resource.
Is Online Therapy Confidential and Secure?