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Just as physical health is important, mental health is a necessary balance in everyone’s life. Unfortunately, the medical industry hasn’t placed such high importance on it until the last decade, so many people misunderstand mental health. Some people think that going to therapy is only necessary for people with disorders, while others have come to understand that treatment is for everyone.
Considering the state of the world in recent years with the pandemic, political debates, and socio-economic issues, finding a refuge couldn’t be more critical. Therapists in most cities have stopped taking in-person appointments because so many people need this care. Luckily, online platforms have taken on so many people to support their mental health needs, making therapy accessible without leaving their homes.
Some of these websites personalize therapy for what they need, which is not something that clients can easily do within an office. After reviewing the different options online today, this guide compiled a helpful list that can give people anything that they need from their therapist.
The Best Online Therapy Platforms of 2022
Online therapy websites tend to advertise the same benefits. However, not all of them deliver on these claims, and some can even be shameful ways to make money off of people who genuinely need help. After a careful review of these many options, this guide narrowed down the choices to the top platforms for mental health support, which include:
- Better Help
- Talk Space
- Health Sapiens
- Faithful Counseling
- Teen Counseling
- Pride Counseling
- Self-Therapy Journey
- Doctor on Demand
This guide also included a bonus – a program called Neuro Balance Therapy. Read on below to learn about the different options this guide has compiled.
Better Help is one of the most well-known platforms to get therapy online. They have opportunities for couples, individuals, and even teenagers. One of the most significant ways that Better Help gives consumers support is by providing a massive network of licensed and accredited therapists with experience in precisely this type of support. Each of these therapists has dealt with many issues, like depression, anxiety, and trauma. Users can also get help with their relationships.
For individuals who want a professional experience with a qualified therapist, this platform can help.
Talk Space allows users to instantly match a good counselor that meets their mental health needs. This platform works quickly to connect the user, taking just 60 seconds to fill out the online assessment before they are matched, allowing it to connect users with experts.
According to a study on the Talk Space platform, individuals who used their service over in-person therapy sessions felt that eight weeks allowed them to feel a substantial difference. People who used in-person therapy sessions only reported the same results in 25% of these cases.
ReGain employs licensed therapists to help users to get access to professional therapy. Both couples and individuals can get this support from any location, regardless of the time. The user will take an assessment that they can fill out independently or as part of the couple. The assessment is sent to the therapists who can adequately assist them. They claim to offer the broadest group of therapists for many different purposes.
Users can connect with their therapist over a phone call, video call, or messenger.
Brightside has different plans to coordinate with each patient’s needs and budgets. It comes with much praise from customers who say they noticed a distinct change in their mental health within 12 weeks of speaking with a therapist through Brightside. The therapists employed by Brightside have locally licensed in the state that the customer resides in, and they all have at least master’s degrees.
Users can track their progress using the Brightside app, which offers a symptom tracker called Your Path. This tracker is unique to Brightside, giving consumers a way to keep track of the changes in their care at any time.
Calmerry specifically focuses on helping individuals who struggle with anxiety. Anyone who feels nervous, anxious, or otherwise restless will likely get the support they need from Calmerry, allowing them to speak with a licensed counselor. The cost comes out to $42 weekly, giving users access to a matching process that works for their needs. Plus, the treatment is highly affordable for most budgets.
Individuals who want to get therapy without sacrificing a ton of their paychecks can sign up to see what Calmerry offers. Users need to fill out their survey and select the subscription plan that works with their budget. Users will need to make a payment when they first sign up, and they’ll have access to the therapist within 24 hours.
Online-Therapy only takes a minute to connect users with the best-qualified therapist to help them. The platform launched in 2009, assisting users with therapy, activity plans, live sessions, yoga, and other customized options to the user’s care. Users can access the platform from any smart device, allowing them to get support at a moment’s notice. Plus, all of the progress is easily trackable for the user.
MyWellbeing connects the user with a coach or a therapist, giving them the choice of three suitable matches. Once a therapist is chosen, the user can start therapy. The user will have to answer some questions first, but the information allows the platform to connect users with a good fit. The platform also schedules free consultations over the phone with the matches so that users can make an educated decision about the fit.
The therapists on the MyWellbeing staff have different areas of specialty, dealing with anxiety, career-based stress, and chronic illness. It works for people of all ages.
Health Sapiens allows users to get constant access to doctors who can diagnose the user within a few minutes to improve their mental health. It is a telehealth brand that can connect the user with a therapist over their smartphone. Users can also pay a subscription fee to get constant access as necessary.
Faithful Counseling is designed to help Christians with therapy that follows a Biblical approach. It is much more affordable than in-person therapy, and it allows users to have a connected path to God during their sessions. The website’s questionnaire helps users connect with the therapist that works best for their concerns, giving the unique approach that only other Christians would offer. Users can talk with their therapist whenever they want, though they will also get scheduled appointments.
Teen Counseling is a team of 11,000 licensed therapists focused on a much younger age group that often doesn’t get focused attention with online platforms. All of the therapists are professional, vetted, and licensed. Teenagers can communicate with their counselor through video calls, phone calls, or text exchanges.
The therapists have all the experience needed to help teenagers, ensuring that they get support through bullying, trauma, anxiety, and relationships. They deal with other concerns, giving them all of the benefits of an in-person therapist without making the drive.
Pride Counseling helps users within the LGBTQ+ community. Users can access the platform from their Apple or Android phones or access it directly online. The licensed therapists online have experience with individuals in this community, helping them with challenges that only this demographic truly understands. Once the user signs up, they can reach out to their therapist whenever works for them, though they can also schedule regular sessions. Users of all genders, orientations, and identities will reap substantial benefits from this platform.
Self-Therapy Journey works a little differently than the other platforms available to consumers. This tool takes users through a path of their mind, calling it a “GPS” for the processes within. This tool helps individuals who struggle with procrastination, anger, shyness, eating issues, depression, and other psychological concerns. It also helps with emotional difficulties (like feelings of abandonment and guilt) or relationship health (like intimacy or social confidence). Some people use this service to become more confident at work.
To start, users need to take the online quiz to give them the right direction in their goals. It doesn’t matter whether the user has a particular concern or a broad scope of what they want to correct. However, some customers feel that this remedy is dated.
Cerebral helps users who want to deal with anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADHS, and other concerns related to the user’s emotional health. However, this is one of the few platforms that offer a combination of counseling, prescriber visits, and the delivery of prescriptions to the user’s home. Users will have to sign up for s subscription plan to give them consistent access to assessments, appointments, medication delivery, and prescription management. Everything is included in the single fee, and users can even get this support with their FSA/HAS coverage.
Doctor on Demand
Doctor on Demand gives users access to doctors and therapists, which they can get in touch with at any time of day. The subscription connects the user within just a few minutes, even if it is a holiday or weekday. Other platforms might restrict users to business hours, but Doctor on Demand does not say the same.
For over 98 million Americans, Doctor on Demand is covered with their health insurance, whether they get it privately or through their employer. Users just need to check their coverage to find out the cost.
MDLive helps users connect with licensed therapists and board-certified doctors who can help users deal with anxiety, stress, and other issues. The process only takes a little time; users sign up, schedule their first appointment, and start on a pattern to better health.
Users won’t find any hidden fees or costs associated with their care, helping consumers know precisely what they are in for. The specialists allow users to access urgent care support and behavioral health therapy. Consumers can even choose to talk with a dermatologist if it fits their needs. With the mobile app, this communication is much easier than getting ahold of a primary care doctor or therapist during office hours.
7Cups has counselors and other supportive people available to provide emotional support for users. The service is free, not the same claim made by any other platform in this guide. Volunteers are available to hear anything that the user has to say at any time. There are also online support rooms.
That’s not to say that professional and pain services aren’t available. By paying $150 each month, users can chat with counselors and licensed therapists for more in-depth mental health support. The team has over 300,000 “listeners” and 180 professional therapists, allowing them to help over 25 million consumers to date.
Bonus Online Therapy Program: Neuro Balance Therapy
Neuro Balance Therapy isn’t a platform for individuals who need to connect with a therapist directly. Instead, users will need to pay between $47 and $77 (depending on the package), giving them access to videos and eBooks that will show users how to incorporate physical therapy into their mental health goals.
The point of this program is meant to improve the user’s balance, which becomes more challenging to control with age. It comes with a spike ball, and it allows the user to enhance natural mobility of the user.
What Were the Criteria for Ranking the Best Online Therapy Platforms?
The quality ranges drastically among online platforms for therapy. The following criteria were considered while assembling the list to ensure that this guide pushed consumers in the right direction.
Licensed, Accredited, Board-Certified Therapists
Consumers need direct access to licensed, accredited, and board-certified professionals regarding mental and physical health care. While emotional support can come from people without a degree, professional therapy only comes from people who have gotten the proper education to help people as they need it.
Custom Matching Based on Concern
Every person has a different reason that they seek out mental health support. Individuals who struggle with anxiety want someone who can help them with the stress, not with depression. Individuals who struggle with self-esteem wish to get in touch with someone who can support their confidence, not improve their relationships. Picking the best therapist is the best way to achieve these effects, and the programs here had to make finding them easy.
Custom Matching Based on Demographics
Specific demographics should be considered when matching the user with a good therapist, like age, gender, and other details. Everyone has their preference, and it should be regarded when deciding between therapists.
Ease of Use
Some platforms make therapy more problematic when it should be easy. Online platforms should make therapy more welcoming and easier for consumers, considering that the alternative is to go to an office directly, which can be intimidating.
Multiple Communication Methods
The best part of these platforms is that consumers can speak with their therapist in many different ways. Texting, phone calls, and video calls make therapy more easily accessible to people, ensuring that anyone can get in touch in the way they feel most comfortable.
The worst part of in-person therapy services is finding the time that works with the therapist’s schedule instead of the other way around. The best online therapy services allow consumers to make an appointment that works with their schedule instead.
Even with all the information online, a platform’s reputation amongst the patients who have reviewed it is essential. It’s impossible that every person would reap the benefits, but positive reviews can say a lot.
Digital Worksheets and Other Materials
Often, patients aren’t directly involved with the therapist, so many platforms provide users with digital worksheets and other online content supporting their goals.
Moneyback or Satisfaction Guarantee
Platforms often offer a money-back guarantee or a refund policy for individuals who cannot get the satisfaction they hope for. These guarantees show that the company has enough confidence in its services that the customer should never need to get a refund. No one should have to pay for services that aren’t helping them achieve their goals.
Price and Value
No proper therapy is entirely free, but it is often cheaper for individuals who get support online. Online treatment can cost between $50 and $200 each week, giving users access to one session each week. Some platforms offer monthly rates instead, paying the cost as a lump sum. Every platform on this list had to provide good value for the cost, even though this guide didn’t specify one particular price.
How Online Therapy Works
The provider primarily determines the way that online therapy works. Most platforms require that the user sign up online, allowing them to contact a therapist with multiple modes of communication, like video chat or email.
Users can sign up on their own or as part of a couple. These services are also available to teens. Once signed up, the user connects with a therapist who meets their needs, whom they then choose how to communicate with. These online services have both monthly and weekly rates, though users can cancel at any time if it is no longer needed.
The websites use the current concerns to match them with the professional that works for their needs, though demographics and other factors are also considered.
What Can Online Therapy Help With?
The best part about online therapy is that it can help with nearly anything typical therapy can. The therapists have many different backgrounds and experiences that help them work with various patients. They can help with conditions like:
- Anger management
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorders
- Interpersonal relationship conflicts
- Couples counseling
Users will get out of therapy as much as they put into it, so it helps to be honest about why they seek out support for their mental health.
Advantages of Online Therapy
There are many advantages to engaging in online therapy since it works with a broader schedule and costs much less. Some people use it to access these services in less populated areas. Here are some of the main advantages.
Just as Effective (Or More Effective)
Individuals take on online therapy for many reasons, but they need to ensure it is adequate for their needs. According to studies, online treatment can be as helpful as seeing someone in person. Some people still prefer to speak with a therapist in an office setting, but this option is still effective.
Talk Via Phone, Video Chat, or Chat
A certain sense of safety and comfort comes with speaking with someone over chat or a phone call, rather than facing them in person. With so many ways to reach out to a professional, consumers can work with what they’d prefer.
Accessible Mental Health Solutions for Remote Areas
Individuals in any area can get support from mental health support online. It is more difficult to find access to a nearby therapist in remote areas. These therapists are within arm’s reach with online therapy, no matter what.
Makes Mental Health Accessible for Someone with Physical Limitations
Disabilities can make accessing in-person therapy more difficult because even leaving the house is an ordeal. Every person needs to be able to get mental health support, which is more easily achieved with online therapy.
Convenient and Time-Saving
There are no driving or other arrangements that users need to consider with online therapy. There’s no waiting in an office, and users can be in one of their most comfortable rooms in the house.
Get Help in Minutes
Users only have to wait a few minutes to connect with their counselor or therapist with an online therapist. These short wait times are beneficial for people going through a stressful time who need to speak with someone sooner rather than later.
As good as some of the therapists are for in-person services, no one can be available at any time of day. The top platforms have so many therapists available that it is easy to reach someone day or night. With massive networks, users can reach out when something difficult challenges their mental health.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Like an office setting, the discussions between the user and the therapist are entirely confidential. Plus, no one else needs to know that the user is even in therapy because they don’t have to go to a doctor’s office, and they don’t have to clear out their schedule in the same way. Users who value their privacy will likely get more from their online therapist than an in-person therapist.
Use Any Smartphone, Tablet, or Computer Anywhere You Go
It is impossible to visit a regular therapist when traveling because they’re so far away. With online therapy, consumers can take their therapist with them with any device, whether their smartphone, computer, or tablet.
Available for Individuals, Couples, Teens, and Kids
Every person has reasons for pursuing therapy, so these therapists often accommodate both individuals and couples. Even therapists see young children and teenagers, which all require different types of care.
Professional, Licensed, Board-Certified Therapists
An online therapist isn’t just some unqualified volunteer. When anyone goes to a professional online, they meet with trained professionals who are educated and board-certified. Even though the individual doesn’t see someone in person, they should not have to forgo quality.
With no building to rent or overhead costs to consider, online therapy is less pricey than in-person sessions. There aren’t any staff that adds to the cost of running the business, which means that consumers get a better price.
Downsides of Online Therapy
It isn’t necessarily a good option for others (as helpful as online therapy can be). Here are some of the disadvantages of participating in online therapy.
Insurance May or May Not Cover It
Consumers must first understand that many of these platforms don’t accept most insurance plans for online therapy. Although many people pay for their health insurance every month, not being able to use it means that their out-of-pocket cost is much higher.
Some States Limit Online Therapy Availability
Depending on where the individual lives, it is possible that telehealth visits with behavior health specialists aren’t permitted. These platforms require that their providers have the proper licenses to make it possible to offer therapy services. Unfortunately, states with a lower population may not have as many therapists available online at any given time.
Not All Online Therapy Programs Are Made Equal
Every online therapy program is different, which is both good and bad. The best programs offer quality that far surpasses in-person support. However, proper research is needed to ensure that users get the quality they want from an online therapy platform.
Lack of Body Language and Cues
Even with the best therapists on staff, it is hard for them to read body language without in-person visits, even when the user is on a video call. Some conditions get better care when the therapist can observe their physical movements, which could be impossible for individuals without in-person care.
Not Ideal for Serious Psychiatric Illnesses
While many concerns could benefit from online therapy, clients should address severe psychiatric conditions with in-person therapists.
How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?
Online therapy varies from platform to platform, though it tends to be less expensive than seeking out in-person care. Since the overhead costs are much lower without a physical office or a staff, patients are charged much less than they ordinarily would.
Most programs cost about $60 to $100 weekly, but the charges are billed to the user’s account every month instead. Users who want to pay a little less may find subscriptions for $50 to $75 instead, but premium care is offered for $300 to $500 monthly.
Here’s the pricing for some of the top options for online therapy:
- Better Help: $60-$80 weekly, billed every four weeks.
- ReGain: $60-$90 weekly, billed every four weeks.
- Talkspace: $260-$396 monthly, billed every month.
- Pride Counseling: $60-$90 weekly, billed every four weeks.
- 7Cups: $150 monthly to speak with therapists, free to chat with volunteers.
Does Insurance Cover Online Therapy?
Online therapy is still relatively new, so it is possible that the top insurers won’t offer coverage for these services. With the way so much has changed through the pandemic, more insurers moved to cover this type of therapy.
Aetna doesn’t require members to pay any copay for some types of telemedicine appointments. However, United Healthcare is much broader in its coverage, allowing users to get their therapy covered in any location (including online). Individuals who have Blue Cross can access online behavioral health benefits in certain areas, but only with providers, they’ve approved.
On the websites for the online therapy platforms, consumers will find that they are FSA/HSA eligible, which means they can use tax-based savings accounts to cover their visits. Still, consumers should be aware that it is ultimately up to the therapy platform if they accept any insurance as coverage.
Benefits of Starting Therapy Today
No matter the form, starting the therapy is a positive step towards better mental health. Speaking with a professional therapist in person or online can be incredibly helpful for the following reasons.
Releasing Anxiety and Worry
As the world is constantly changing, stress is a normal response. However, when everything feels like a catastrophe or an individual finds themselves overgeneralizing everything, it may indicate something more. These habits can be harmful to mental health, but therapy can help.
People who feel hopeless about what the future has for them can positively benefit from therapy, helping the participant figure out why the user feels this way. Then, they can relieve the cause with targeted treatment.
Solving any problem with the user’s mental health can’t be instantly fixed in one night. Treatment takes time and trying multiple methods to get it right but setting up a step-by-step plan can help users feel more in control of their mental health path.
Adapt, Change, and Grow
Using therapy helps consumers improve themselves, even if they don’t have a specific reason. Anyone who feels stuck where they are at or is struggling to get through a particularly tumultuous time can use the services of a therapist to get through it.
Process Trauma and Changes
The pandemic brought up some difficulties for people worldwide, including feelings of grief as so many individuals lost loved ones within their families. Trauma is difficult to process alone, so professional support is so beneficial.
Build Interpersonal Relationships
Relationships with other people are complicated for introverts and extroverts alike. The dynamics of these relationships can be navigated with a professional, helping anyone learn how to communicate better, determine specific attachments, and more.
Talk to a Neutral, Professional Third Party
Speaking with an unbiased third party about personal problems feels safe. There’s no judgment or taking any sides, making it more accessible, to be honest.
Scientific Evidence for Online Therapy
According to recent scientific studies, online therapy can be pretty effective in supporting mental health. While some of this research indicates that online treatment matches in quality to in-person treatment, other studies suggest that online therapy can be more effective than in-person therapy in some cases. For instance, a 2014 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders supported the idea that in-person therapy and online therapy matched in quality. An unrelated study supported this discovery after reviewing the impact of both types on depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
The evidence that supports the use of online therapy is quite extensive. A study from 2020 allowed researchers to consider the results of 17 studies on both online and in-person therapy, comparing treatment methods. They also sought to find how these therapies offered online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). According to this discovery, online therapy was comparable or better than in-person therapy on this matter.
In 2016, researchers found similar information when examining online therapy’s benefits in three different categories. Based on the research, this therapy was “clinically efficacious,” discovering that patients seemed to get the same connection from their therapist in either setting. This study also showed that clients enjoyed online therapy, though the therapists involved cannot say the same.
For many reasons, therapists have consistently rejected that online therapy could be a better or comparable option. Using online tools can be hard on the therapist rather than the client, and compliance with the current state and federal laws online proves challenging in an online setting. Therapists who want to work nationwide need to get licensed and registered in every state.
Even though therapists tend to be more hesitant about online therapy, it has consistently proven effective for anyone who wants to get support without leaving home.
Online Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does online therapy work?
A: With online therapy sessions, consumers get connected with a licensed and board-certified therapist within their state, communicating online or via phone call. Depending on the platform, it may be possible to email or do a live chat with the therapist, giving many tools to speak with an online therapist.
Q: How much does online therapy cost?
A: While the cost will vary with the platform, the average price is $50 to $200 for each session. The platforms that offer online therapy typically charge per month, but the price is broken down into a total cost of $50 to $90 weekly.
Q: Who should use online therapy?
A: Online therapy helps anyone! Whether they want to get support for their relationship individually or as a couple, or if they’re going to have therapy sessions for their children, there are many options available.
Q: Is online therapy legitimate?
A: Yes. The top online programs employ licensed and board-certified therapists.
Q: What’s the best online therapy?
A: The top online therapy platforms include Better Help, Talk Space, ReGain, Brightside, and Calmerry.
Q: What is online therapy?
A: Online therapy is a fairly general term, but the individual gets counseling or psychotherapy from an online service rather than visiting a therapist in an office setting. They often communicate through phone calls, videos, or live chats.
Q: Does insurance cover online therapy?
A: Not all plans allow users to cover the charges associated with online therapy, but that’s changed in recent years. Always check with the insurance company to determine what their coverage is.
Q: Are online therapists licensed?
A: Yes. The most reputable platforms only work with licensed therapists. These therapists must be licensed for every state they intend to treat clients in.
Q: Can an online therapist prescribe medications?
A: Prescribing medication primarily depends on the services offered by the particular platform. Individuals who may need antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication should consider this need when choosing a platform that might work for their needs.
Q: What’s the best online therapy app?
A: Any of the choices on this list can provide support for anyone seeking online therapy.
Q: How often can users communicate with their online therapists?
A: Weekly and monthly schedules are available for users, but most of these programs make it possible to customize the plan to their particular desires from the program.
Q: Can users pick the therapist they want with online therapy?
A: Some platforms match the user with the therapist who meets their needs the best, while others give users a few different options.
Q: Will users always have the same online therapist?
A: Most of the time, online platforms use the same therapist to maintain continuity in care. However, anyone who wants to change their therapist because it isn’t a good fit can do so.
Q: Is online therapy confidential?
A: Yes. Every therapist has to keep up with specific codes and laws when they treat patients, and one of the primary regulations is that they must maintain patient privacy. If the therapist is licensed, they abide by these rules.
Q: What’s the best free online therapy program?
A: One of the only legitimately free online therapy programs is 7Cups, which helps users with live chats. The team is made of volunteers, but individuals who want to speak with a licensed therapist will choose one paid service.
Q: Is there online therapy for couples?
A: Yes. Online therapy platforms often provide services for couples as well.
Q: How long is online therapy?
A: The majority of these sessions last between 30-60 minutes. However, users can choose longer or shorter sessions to meet their needs with many options.
Q: Is there online therapy for children and teenagers?
A: Yes. Therapists specializing in treating teens and children are often found on these platforms.
The Best Online Therapy Platforms of 2022 Final Thoughts
With online therapy, consumers have accessibility to treatment that ordinarily isn’t available to them in their local area. It is comparable to in-person treatment, depending on the state. With the ability to constantly contact a professional therapist when they need to, consumers can improve their mental health continuously. With any of these top-ranked online therapy platforms, customers can see how they benefit from getting therapeutic support.