These Online Therapy Providers Are Here For You

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Woman psychologist talking to patient
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Online therapy offers affordable access to psychiatry, medication management, and talk therapy. However, it can be challenging to figure out which provider is best for your needs. Some people seek help to improve their mindset and overall quality of life, while others need help working through a particular obstacle or issue within their relationship or family. For some people, affordability is the biggest barrier in finding therapy, while for others, the struggle lies in finding common ground on identity issues such as race or sexuality.

The following online therapy providers stood out for a combination of factors — such as having an outstanding user satisfaction rating and a robust search tool catering to specific identity issues, or because safe medication management was available with need-specific care plans. Whatever your reason for seeking therapy, these online providers have you covered.

Best Online Therapy of 2022 

Best Overall: Brightside

Brightside

Brightside

Key Specs  

  • Price: $95 to $349/month ($75/session)
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Types of Therapy: Individual

Why We Chose It

Brightside's therapists are specially trained in treating anxiety and depression and have many years of experience doing so. The signup and scheduling process is easy to navigate, and insurance is accepted to help break down cost barriers.

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Specifically focused on treating depression and anxiety

  • Most therapists have years of experience 

  • Wide range of available times for appointments

Cons
  • No way to browse therapist bios

  • 24- to 48-hour waiting period between sign-up and scheduling

  • Slow customer service response time 

Overview 

Brightside’s stress-free sign-up process, the in-depth questionnaire used to match you with a therapist, and easy Zoom sessions make this provider a clear overall winner. Brightside also stands out as a medically responsible caregiver: It offers medication management for depression in that it will prescribe, if necessary, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), two of the most commonly prescribed types of medication for this mental health condition. However, controlled substances are never prescribed. 

Brightside also keeps the focus heavily on the therapy itself. The plans that include therapy come with four monthly video sessions with your therapist. You can purchase additional sessions for $59 per session, and you get access to a 12-week independent video/lesson series on the fundamentals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Plans & Pricing

There are three plans at Brightside: 

  • Medication: Psychiatry consultations for prescription medication only ($95/month) 
  • Therapy: Weekly talk therapy sessions ($299/month)
  • Medication plus therapy: Weekly therapy plus psychiatry for prescription medication ($349/month)

The company also accepts insurance, so you may pay less depending on your plan. Brightside accepts Cigna, Aetna, Optum/UnitedHealthcare, Anthem CA, and Allegiance. You can also use an HSA or FSA account for payments. 

User Satisfaction

Our in-house test of the service found the caliber of therapy offered at Brightside to be consistently above average with 90 percent of the 105 users surveyed saying they had a positive experience with the service.

  • 93 percent of users who tried the medication service said the psychiatric treatment was good to excellent
  • 79 percent said most or all of their needs were met.
  • 75 percent of users said they were likely or very likely to recommend Brightside to a friend. 

Best for Unlimited Messaging: Talkspace

Talkspace

Talkspace

Key Specs

  • Price: $65/week and up
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, teen, couples

Why We Chose It 

In addition to regular live sessions, Talkspace’s private therapy “room” is available to you 24/7 so you can message your therapist when needed and they will get back to you that same day (excluding weekends). Talkspace is an easy choice for those who want unlimited 24/7 communication capabilities with their therapist in between sessions. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Dedicated space for messaging your therapist

  • All therapists are licensed and have an average of nine years experience

  • Available in all 50 states

Cons
  • Relatively high cost

  • Difficult to establish a relationship over text

  • Low diversity in therapists

Overview

If your friends are getting sick of you texting drawn-out diatribes about your bad days, or you simply feel most comfortable expressing yourself over text messages, Talkspace might be just the thing for you. The service focuses on therapy done primarily in the form of texting. You have an open space in which you’re invited to text with your therapist as much as you want, either with or without weekly regular live video chat sessions. 

Talkspace has become one of the most popular online therapy companies out there. While there is debate over whether text therapy is as effective as actually talking to someone, there’s no doubt that writing about your problems can be an effective way to help you work through them. Add some input from an experienced professional to the mix, and Talkspace offers an ideal form of therapy for many people. That said, if you prefer to choose your therapist from a list of available profiles or if text-based therapy does not appeal to you or your limited budget, especially since it can feel very impersonal, then Talkspace may not be right for you.

Plans & Pricing

There are three plans for individuals available at Talkspace:

  • Messaging therapy: $69/week; message with your therapist as much as you want with daily responses five days a week
  • Video + messaging therapy: $99/week; adds one 30-minute video therapy session to the messaging plan
  • Video + messaging + workshops: $109/week; includes one video session a week, unlimited texting five days a week, and access to weekly workshops on mental health issues offered by Talkspace

Each plan is billed monthly (every four weeks), or you can choose to pay three or six months upfront for a 10 percent or 20 percent discount, respectively. The cost of therapy is the same for individual or teen therapy, and couples therapy and starts at $396/month, with weekly video sessions included in the plan. There is also psychiatry available at Talkspace, although this is offered only over video, not chat. The initial psychiatry intake session costs $249 and is not included in any of the above-mentioned plan prices, with follow-up sessions running $125.

Talkspace does take insurance, so you may pay less. Check if you’re in-network here, or view the list of accepted insurance here. FSA/HSA is also accepted. 

User Satisfaction

Ninety percent of Talkspace users had an overall positive impression of the company.

  • 83 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options at Talkspace
  • 82 percent of users said they would recommend Talkspace to a friend. 
  • 71 percent of users were issued a prescription within their first or second session, compared to 64 percent of users across all 55 companies researched. 

Best for Psychiatry: Talkiatry

Talkiatry

Talkiatry

Key Specs

  • Price: Patients must be insured, no out-of-pocket price
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes, mandatory
  • Types of Therapy: Psychiatry 

Why We Chose It 

Talkiatry is one of the only companies evaluated that focuses exclusively on providing online psychiatry services with providers that accept insurance. This is an incredibly valuable service because it is challenging to find psychiatrists that accept insurance in the U.S. 

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • All providers are psychiatrists, not physician assistants or primary care physicians

  • Offers medical treatment for a wide range of diagnoses, including ADHD

  • Supplemental therapy is available if needed

Cons
  • Insurance is needed: no out-of-pocket option

  • Site can be glitchy 

  • Not available in all states

Overview

Whether you have already been diagnosed with a mental health condition or you think you might need medication, Talkiatry is a great resource because it will connect you with a psychiatrist that can treat you virtually and allow you to bill your insurance. According to CNBC,  just 56 percent of psychiatrists in the United States accept commercial insurance (compared to over 90 percent of MDs), so Talkiatry is a great way to get your mental health care covered by your insurance.

This makes Talkiatry stand out amongst all the other mental health companies reviewed, especially since it can treat a wide range of conditions, including ADHD, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Plus, while most competitors' psychiatry/medication management plans offered 30-minute intro calls and 15-minute follow-ups, Talkiatry offers 60-minute first sessions and 30-minute follow-ups — giving your psychiatrist the time to truly diagnose and treat you. The company will also refer you to a talk therapist if you need one or don’t have one prior to signing up.

Talkiatry does not restrict controlled substances; providers can write prescriptions for any medication they deem appropriate for your condition outside of controlled substances (such as Xanax and Valium), an unusual benefit for an online service. But unlike certain competitors, the longer session time means your providers have the time to truly assess you and determine whether it actually is appropriate for you to be prescribed these medications. This is most likely why the company has a good reputation.

Plans & Pricing

You must have insurance to use Talkiatry, and the cost depends on your insurance co-pay. You can check to see if your insurance plan is accepted here.  

User Satisfaction

Talkiatry users were very satisfied with the site, with 95 percent of users giving it a good or very good overall rating.

  • 89 percent of users had a positive experience with the psychiatry care
  • 50 percent of Talkiatry users felt their prescriber was available when they needed them
  • 42 percent felt their prescriber was responsive to their questions and medication needs

Best for Couples: ReGain

Regain

 Regain

Key Specs

  • Price: $60 to $90+/session
  • Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, couples

Why We Chose It 

ReGain makes setting up couples therapy easy, with many options for therapists and a stress-free site. It’s no surprise it has become the biggest company for online relationship therapy. 

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Sessions can be alone or with your partner

  • Treats a wide variety of relationship issues 

  • Quick turnaround — matches made in as little as a few hours

Cons
  • Does not take insurance

  • Traditional lexicon can be alienating or triggering to unwed partners

  • No way to browse profiles or pick your own therapist

Overview

BetterHelp, the current leader in online therapy providers, created ReGain as a niche relationship therapy brand in 2016. With 2.2 million visits a month, ReGain is the largest couples therapy platform on the market. The service provides an efficient system with a large stable of competent therapists. 

ReGain can help you and your partner navigate issues such as communication, codependency, parenting, intimacy, division of labor, divorce, infidelity, or anything else that might be causing tension in your relationship. You can invite your partner to join when you sign up, or, if you prefer, you can match and meet with a therapist, and then invite your partner later on. You’re welcome to stay anonymous if you like and use a nickname for your sessions. Video or phone sessions can also take place with you and your partner in separate locations, which certainly helps with scheduling or in long-distance relationships. 

If you are dealing with domestic violence in your relationship, couples therapy is not right for you. However, meeting with a therapist alone may help improve your situation. The Domestic Abuse Hotline (800-799-7233) is always there for you. Calls are answered 24/7.

Plans & Pricing

There is only one therapy plan available at ReGain, which costs $60 to $90/week, billed every 4 weeks. The exact cost depends on your location, your therapist, and the demand for couples therapy at the time you sign up because this company, which is owned and operated by BetterHelp, engages in surge pricing. You can cancel at any time. 

ReGain does not accept insurance, so all payments must be made out-of-pocket, via credit card or PayPal. However, couples therapy is rarely covered by health insurance, so this condition is not unusual for a company focused on this type of therapy.

User Satisfaction

Out of the 105 users surveyed, 80 percent said most or all of their needs were met by ReGain.

  • 88 percent of ReGain users rated their therapist’s qualifications from good to excellent, suggesting the site is a solid, well-rounded solution for couples therapy. 
  • 84 percent of users said they found Regain better than other therapy services they had used in the past.
  • 71 percent said they would likely recommend ReGain to a friend.

Best for Unlimited Group Therapy: BetterHelp

BetterHelp logo

BetterHelp

Key Specs

  • Price: $60 to $90/week
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, peer, couples, group, family, teen

Why We Chose It

BetterHelp’s group therapy sessions are always lively and well-attended, due to its large community of users. The sessions are moderated, thoughtful, and respectful. If group therapy is what you are looking for, look no further.

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Wide range of group therapy topics 

  • Easy-to-use app 

  • Call or email therapists directly from the site

Cons
  • One-on-one therapy sessions can be hit or miss

  • Possible extra charges if attending more than one group session a week

Overview

BetterHelp is the largest online therapy company in existence today, with over 10 million monthly visitors to the site. Such a massive platform has its drawbacks and advantages. One advantage is the large community it brings to its group therapy sessions, which you get access to with an ongoing membership. 

The group sessions run 90 minutes and are moderated by a licensed therapist. They are lively, well-attended, and thought-provoking. Support groups like this are a great way to interact with others dealing with similar issues. Mental health struggles can be incredibly isolating, so talking and listening to other people fighting the same battle can be a huge source of support. 

The sessions are divided into categories, such as loneliness, ADHD, parenthood, or burnout. Then each session has a specific topic: women’s support group for depression, or coping mechanisms for bipolar, for example. You can use the search tool to look for topics you are interested in, along with time preferences. 

Plans & Pricing

BetterHelp’s individual therapy costs $60 to $90/week, depending on your location. It’s billed monthly (every four weeks). One group therapy session per week comes free with membership. Taking more than one group therapy session a week may result in an extra charge, but it varies depending on the group.

It’s worth noting that BetterHelp does not take insurance. 

User Satisfaction

Eighty-six percent of the Betterhelp users surveyed said they had a positive experience with the site.

  • 84 percent of users said they preferred Betterhelp to other therapy services they had used in the past.
  • 76 percent of users said they found the signup process to be easy or very easy
  • 73 percent said they felt the company had good value for money.

Best for BIPOC: Inclusive Therapists

Inclusive T

Key Specs

  • Price: $25/session and up
  • Insurance Accepted?: Depends on provider
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, family, group, in-person, reduced-fee, child, teen

Why We Chose It 

Inclusive Therapists won best for BIPOC communities thanks to the highly specific search function. It caters to clients who want to match with therapists from specific cultural, linguistic, or spiritual backgrounds. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Highly inclusive search function

  • Can pick your own therapist or request a match

  • Sponsored membership for Black and Indigenous therapists 

Cons
  • Profiles can be outdated, including whether a therapist is taking new clients 

  • Matches can take up to five days

  • Site can be glitchy

Overview 

Finally, a directory that understands and addresses the built-in challenges marginalized people face in receiving mental healthcare. There is no doubt that issues of discrimination, micro-aggression, and racism plague the mental health community, and Inclusive Therapists understands this. 

The site is a small platform without the massive database or resources of the larger heavy hitters, but it does focus on breaking down systemic gatekeeping and lays out the welcome mat for almost any marginalized group you could think of. Looking for a therapist who speaks Cantonese? Haitian Creole? Tagalog? Depending on your location you may or may not find the right therapist, but you’ll find the categories that apply to you here — and at least that’s a start. The therapists listed in this directory are usually in small practices or may practice solo, so prices will vary as will insurance acceptance.

The site reaches far beyond typical BIPOC categories, too. Whether you’re looking for a therapist who identifies with the Asian diaspora, the adoption experience, or being West African, you’ll find them here. The site is also free for clients to use, with therapists footing the bill for membership.

One caveat: while this site is the most inclusive single site for BIPOC community members, it does not have the same breadth or resources as the larger directories and therapy companies. There are lots of directories that cater directly to specific minority groups, such as Therapy for Black Girls, Therapy for LatinX, Therapy for Muslims, and Yellow Chair Collective. These offer spaces for specific ethnic/cultural groups, and it may be worth looking for a more niche site that might house your tribe. 

Plans & Pricing

Using Inclusive Therapists is completely free—you can browse the listings and even request a match where you fill in your information and let therapists reach out to you without paying a dime. Unlike some directories where therapists sign up for free and clients pay a fee, at Inclusive Therapists the payment falls on the shoulders of the providers, who pay both a sign-up fee and a monthly fee to be listed on the site.

How much you pay for therapy, then, will depend on the therapist you choose to work with, though you should be able to find this information in the therapist’s bio while you search the directory. This makes it pretty easy to find someone in your price range. 

Some providers accept insurance too. In the search function, there’s an option to filter for providers who take your specific insurance.

User Satisfaction

Seventy-eight percent of users surveyed at Inclusive Therapists said they were still using the therapist they found through the directory.

  • 89 percent of users said they found the site to be good or very good overall
  • 84 percent said they found the site easy or very easy to navigate.
  • 68 percent of users said they found the process of finding a therapist that met their needs easy or very easy.

Best for LGBTQIA+: Zencare

Zencare

Zencare

Key Specs

  • Price: $25 to $250/session
  • Insurance Accepted?: Depends on provider
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, peer, couples, group, family, child/teen

Why We Chose It

Zencare caters to the LGBTQIA+ community with its wide range of search options catering to most gender and sexual identities.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Long list of provider identities

  • Free initial calls

  • Can filter search by insurance provider

Cons
  • Crowded site

  • High monthly and sign-up costs for therapists limits directory growth

Overview 

Founded in 2015, Zencare offers highly specific search capabilities, so users can find a provider that fits their demographic and specifications as closely as possible. Zencare’s search feature allows users to choose the therapist's identity, such as trans/nonbinary and/or LGBTQIA+.

Additionally, the search choices demonstrate an open-mindedness around sexuality that’s not found on a lot of the more mainstream sites. You can choose LGBTQIA+, gender, and sexuality topics as a search filter, or gender identity and transgender health. That open-mindedness around sexuality is geared toward everyone, regardless of orientation: There’s a kink/polyamory/nonmonogamy filter, as well as one for sexual assault and general sex therapy. 

Plans & Pricing

Zencare directory membership is free for clients. (Providers pay a regular fee to be listed.) There’s also a free initial call available with the therapist of your choice. 

Then once you begin regular therapy with your chosen therapist, session fees will vary based on who you decided to work with. You can find these fees in each therapist's bio, and while most are around $100 to $250, some therapists do list a sliding scale fee.

Most providers on Zencare also take insurance, and there is a filter in the search bar to search for providers that take your specific insurance.

User Satisfaction

Most of Zencare’s ratings were about average compared to other directories. Zencare won based on its inclusive search engine, which offers broad appeal to all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. More niche directories did tend to report higher levels of user satisfaction among their specific communities, though. 

  • 90 percent of users said they found the site good or very good overall
  • 81 percent said they were satisfied with the therapist selection on the site overall.
  • 74 percent of users said they found the process of finding a therapist easy to very easy

Best for Eating Disorders: Amwell

Amwell
Amwell

Key Specs

  • Price: $109/session (masters level provider) $129/session (doctoral level)
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, family, group

Why We Chose It

Amwell is a full-service telehealth provider with entire teams, including medical doctors, nutritionists, therapists (and prescribers, if necessary), devoted to treating eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, as well as other mental health conditions. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Treatment team includes medical doctors and nutritionists

  • Specific background pages on each eating disorder with click-through links to care

  • Access to doctors for any other medical conditions you might have

Cons
  • Jam-packed site can be overwhelming to navigate

  • Relatively high per-session cost

Overview

Treating eating disorders online can be challenging. While talk therapy is an essential component, it is rarely recommended as a stand-alone treatment. Eating disorders can take a heavy toll on physical health, and care from a medical doctor may be needed to address issues that arise from malnutrition, such as an irregular heartbeat. Amwell’s stable of telehealth doctors is a good place to start. Amwell also has nutritionists that can help create an individualized meal plan and educate patients on building and maintaining healthy eating patterns. 

Talk therapy and potential medication management are a couple of aspects of this three-pronged approach to treating eating disorders. Amwell can both assess a patient’s needs and streamline the process of assembling the proper care team. You'll need to look for either anorexia or bulimia in the directory; there is no comprehensive page for eating disorders.

Plans & Pricing

According to the site, treatment for eating disorders varies based on severity, so the total cost depends on a patient's individualized plan. However, the therapy component is billed at two separate rates:

  • Master's level provider: $109/session (work with a therapist who has a master’s degree)
  • Doctoral level provider: $129/session (work with a therapist who has a Ph.D.)

Eating disorder treatment will most likely also include visits with both a nutritionist or dietitian ($70/session) as well as an M.D. ($79/session).

Amwell accepts over 100 insurance plans, including from UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and MVP. The full list of insurance companies accepted is available here. Uninsured patients may also pay out of pocket. 

User Satisfaction

Eighty-eight percent of the 105 Amwell therapy users surveyed had good to excellent overall experience.

  • 88 percent of users preferred Amwell to other online therapy companies they had used in the past
  • 87 percent said Amwell met most or all their needs
  • 78 percent said they would recommend Amwell to a friend.

Most Affordable: Open Path Collective

Open Path Collective

Open Path Collective

Key Specs

  • Price: $30 to $60/session (sliding scale)
  • Insurance Accepted?: N/A
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, family, group

Why We Chose It 

Open Path is a directory that will help connect you with therapists that offer sliding scale rates of $30 to $60 per session. This is the place to go if you don’t have insurance or you’re underinsured. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Social justice mission to make therapy accessible to all

  • One-time $59 fee affords lifetime membership

  • Large directory with over 18,800 therapists 

Cons
  • No matchmaking service

  • Includes pre-licensed therapists

Overview

Open Path Collective was founded way back in 2012, making it one of the oldest (and largest) online therapist directories out there. The collective’s founder is a graduate of the Buddhist Naropa University, and the group’s mission statement is rooted in Buddhist dogma: Open Path envisions  “a just, compassionate world where all people can easily access the care they need to thrive.” 

The site is intended for people with a household income below $100,000, and either no insurance or inadequate insurance. In fact, these are both requirements — albeit honor-based ones, as providing proof of income is considered unnecessary red tape in accessing care. 

Any therapist can sign up to be in the directory for free, so there is a large spread of therapists with a wide range of specialties and backgrounds. Users can browse the entire directory for free as well, including contact info. But if you want to message directly from the site, and lock in a session at the discounted sliding scale rate, you’re going to need to pay the one-time $59 membership fee. 

The site does allow pre-licensed therapists to register. These are therapists who have completed their education, but not the therapy hours needed to be independently licensed, which is part of how Open Path manages to keep costs down. However, most therapists in the test search results were already licensed. To show up in a search, a therapist must be taking at least one new client at the $30 to $60 rate, or their profile is hidden. This is a really nice feature as it filters out that frustrating “not accepting new clients at this time” roadblock for you. Open Path has a great reputation among both its clients, who rank the site highly independent of the cost factor, and the therapist community. For many full-price therapists, it’s their go-to referral for uninsured patients on a budget. 

Plans & Pricing

There is a one-time lifetime membership fee of $59 to join Open Path Collective. This pays for access to the database, and the ability to qualify for the $30 to $60 sliding-scale session rate with member therapists. 

One of the requisites for membership to the Open Path Collective is a lack of insurance, and as such, users are expected to pay the sliding scale rate out-of-pocket. Open Path does not help with insurance. 

However, this is a database, not a company, so once you are working with a therapist, you are working with them directly. Many of the therapists on Open Path do take insurance, but it would be up to you to work it out with your therapist. 

User Satisfaction

Open Path also scored higher than average in terms of the process of finding a therapist, and more Open Path users were still seeing their therapist than average when surveyed.

  • 90 percent said they found Open Path to be good or very good overall.
  • 74 percent said they were able to find a therapist that met all their needs
  • 83 percent thought they would still be seeing their therapist in six months

Best Directory: Good Therapy

Good Therapy logo

Good Therapy 

Key Specs

  • Price: Varies; includes sliding scale fees
  • Insurance Accepted?: Depends on provider
  • Types of Therapy: Individual, peer, couples, group, family, teen

Why We Chose It 

With its well-designed site, thoughtful search filters, and a large database of diverse therapists, Good Therapy is a clear winner for best directory. 

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Results in both map and list options

  • Large database of experienced therapists

  • Call or email therapists directly from the site

Cons
  • Pricing or insurance info not listed on bio

  • No way to enter your own search term 

Overview 

Good Therapy’s directory has lots of options for search parameters, it’s free for clients, and most importantly, the search results are excellent. The therapist profiles are informative, and contact links are up-to-date, easy to use, and include a messaging feature. Users can filter searches based on insurance, scheduling, issues they are dealing with, or modalities they like to use. It’s also possible to search for in-person care here and to combine filters if you’re looking for something as specific as, say, in-person wheelchair-accessible art therapy. 

The list of types of therapy was particularly extensive, with many I had never heard of before. It’s also a great site for additional resources if you’re looking to learn more about therapy and mental health. In general, you would do well to start here. 

Plans & Pricing

Clients can use Good Therapy for free. (Therapists foot the bill for the site, paying a monthly fee to list their profile.) Session rates vary by therapist, but it is possible to search for therapists who offer a sliding scale and/or a free initial session. 

Insurance varies by individual therapist. There is a filter in the search allowing you to search for providers in your network. 

User Satisfaction

Users were very satisfied with Good Therapy, with 95 percent of the clients surveyed giving the directory a good or very good overall rating.

  • 90 percent said they found navigating the site easy or very easy
  • 98 percent said they found a therapist that met all or almost all of their needs.
  • 77 percent of users said they would likely still be seeing their therapist in 6 months

Final Verdict

There are a lot of factors to consider before selecting an online therapy provider, but overall, for general depression and anxiety, Brightside offered the best experience, treatment plan, and therapists. Most insurances are accepted and the large platform can adequately cover the entire country. The form of care was consistent — by unifying all therapists under a CBT-led modality (which is proven to be highly effective), there is a uniformity to the sessions not found in platforms where therapists lead with their preferred styles of treatment. Also, feedback on psychiatry service describes it as conservative enough to not worry about being incorrectly or over-prescribed, yet still effective. The user survey results backed up these findings; Brightside received high ratings across the board, standing out as a top-ranked platform among the companies reviewed. 

Still, therapy is anything but one-size-fits-all, and Brightside isn’t going to be right for everyone. Maybe you’re not looking for individual therapy, which is all Brightside offers. For many people who are dealing with relationship issues, ReGain, which specializes in couples therapy, is a great option. If you are looking for certain qualities in a provider or a niche need, using a directory such as Good Therapy could help you find the exact therapist to meet your specific needs. Good Therapy has an outstanding search engine, and users can filter searches along a very wide range of choices. 

Guide to Choosing the Best Online Therapy

What Types of Online Therapy Are Offered?

“Online therapy can cover everything from individual, family, and couples therapy to child and adolescent therapy, ADHD coaching, and sex therapy,” says Hannah Owens, L.M.S.W., one of the subject matter experts we worked with on this project evaluating companies. “Many different therapeutic modalities are available as well, such as CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy.”

Figuring out what type of therapy is best for you can be an intimidating starting point. If you’re looking for individual therapy to deal with general anxiety and depression, most online therapy companies, such as Brightside, start out with a brief questionnaire that serves as a guidepost for figuring out where you're at and what you need.

On the other hand, browsing the options using search filters on an online directory, such as Good Therapy, might help you hone in on your issues and what form of therapy you would like to try. 

Most therapy companies and therapy directories post additional resources to their websites, such as this list of types of therapy on Good Therapy, or this self-care video series at Brightside. These can be a great way to learn more about different forms of therapy or get a taste of the principles you can expect to encounter during your sessions. 

Comparing Online Therapy Services

“When comparing services, it can be helpful to know what you're looking for,” says Owens. “Do you need to find a therapist who accepts your insurance? Do you need a specific type of therapy (individual, couples, etc.)? Is there a therapeutic technique you're interested in? Would you like your mental health care and physical health care to be provided by the same company?” 

Here are some questions that might be helpful in figuring out what services to prioritize in an online therapy company:

  • Price: Does the platform offer a sliding scale? Do rates change with location and demand? Does it accept insurance or are clients expected to pay out of pocket? 
  • Type of therapy: Does the platform focus on individual therapy? Does it offer services for couples, families, children, or teens? 
  • Scheduling: Does the platform allow you to view time slots when choosing a therapist? If the therapist assigned to you is not available at a good time, what are your options? What happens if you need to reschedule a session?  
  • Platforms: Does the company only offer video sessions? Are there options for phone or live chat sessions? Does the portal allow you to message your therapist between sessions? 
  • Ease of switching between therapists: Does switching therapists require sending a message, making a phone call, or just clicking a button? Does the process take minutes, hours, or days? When you switch, do you choose your new therapist, or is one assigned to you?

These are all important factors to consider in making your selection. If you are planning to use insurance to pay for therapy, looking for a provider in your network will be a good starting point. If there is any other single factor that stands out as most important to you — say, you want a therapist from a specific religion, a therapist you can text with, or you need a prescription to augment substance use therapy — put that factor first in your search, whether it's for a company or an individual. 

Once you’ve met your essential requirements, you can either sit back and let a company match you or sift through therapist bios based on factors you want to prioritize.

Who Is Online Therapy For?

“Generally speaking, online therapy is appropriate for people who are living with mild to moderate mental illness (such as anxiety and depression), people who want to address stressors in their life and learn coping techniques, and people who need support in things such as relationships,” explains Owens. 

Online therapy is not appropriate for people in crisis, who are feeling suicidal, or who are living with serious mental illness, as these conditions often require a higher level of care (such as in-person or more frequent sessions) than online therapy can provide.

What If I'm Having Thoughts of Harming Myself? 

If you're having thoughts of hurting yourself, take action immediately by calling 988, the national emergency hotline number, or texting "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line. Do not put off getting the care you need.

“If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, you can call 988, the national emergency hotline number for those experiencing a mental health crisis,” says Owens. (However, it is important to note that, when calling 988 rather than 911, police might still be the first responders. This might be an issue for some people, especially people in the BIPOC community.) You can also text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for 24/7 support. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Conditions Can Online Therapy Treat?

Online therapy can be helpful for a wide range of conditions and is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, relationship issues, grief, anger, burnout, and many other issues. It is appropriate for any mild to moderate mental health condition or issues, but may not be for more serious ones such as borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia. 

How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?

Most online therapy companies charge about $60 to $120 a session, which ends up being about a $240 to $480 subscription fee billed each month. Some companies and individual therapists do take insurance, which can lower the cost significantly. There are more affordable therapy options too: sliding scale payments can be found for as low as $30 a session, but usually range from about $40 to $100. Top-tier therapists in expensive cities charge upwards of $250 (and more) a session. 

Is Online Therapy As Effective As In-Person Therapy?

While some therapists still prefer in-person sessions, a 2020 study suggests that online therapy is at least as effective as an in-person treatment, and in many cases, can be more effective than in-person therapy. The study looks only at cognitive behavioral therapy (which the top pick, Brightside, offers exclusively) but it also signals a paradigm shift: Online therapy is no longer a temporary, pandemic-driven solution. It is becoming widely considered a top-level form of care. 

Does Online Therapy Accept Insurance?

Yes. Not all companies/therapists, and not all insurance plans, but if you have insurance, it is definitely worth using that as your jumping-off point. Therapy can be expensive, so start by finding a company or a therapist who takes your insurance, if you can.

Methodology

Fifty-five online therapy companies as well as 22 online therapy directories were researched to select these best picks. Many of these companies and directories were personally tested by members of our team or freelancers. Their experience and impressions with each platform were closely documented, and this feedback was used in our selection process. We also conducted user surveys and asked questions regarding their experience with the site, the therapists, the navigation, whether their needs were met, and their overall impressions. To qualify as the best pick, a selection needed to have either outstanding general user ratings, or offer important services that were difficult to find and still score at least on or above average in user ratings. These companies were evaluated by all three of our subject matter experts: Amy Marschall, Psy.D., Nic Hardy, Ph.D., and Hannah Owens, L.M.S.W., all of whom are licensed therapists. 

Edited by
April McCormick
April McCormick
April is the health editor for performance marketing at Dotdash Meredith, overseeing family, health, fitness, wellness, and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Mind, Verywell Family, Verywell, Fit, Verywell Health, Time, Parents, Parents Magazine, The Straits Times, The Huffington Post, TripSavvy, Parenting, First Time Mom and Dad, Mama Mia, All4Women, the New York Times Bestseller, A Letter To My Mom, and more.
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