Online therapy is an excellent substitute for traditional face-to-face therapy. It follows the same rules, uses the same techniques, and has the same licensed therapists. The only difference between both forms of therapy is where it takes place. While traditional therapy needs physical space, online therapy can happen anywhere. Here we have curated the best online therapy sites for you.
The concept of online mental health services is not new, and it existed before the pandemic, although it made it more widespread. Psychotherapists and their clients benefit immensely from online therapy as it lets them work and attend remotely. In addition, mental health conditions are more common than people are aware. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that one out of five Americans suffers from one or more forms of mental conditions or illness. These mainly appear in the scope of behavioral and emotional disorders and conditions.
Globally, many people benefit from traditional treatments. However, there are still stigmas associated with visiting a therapist. That is a gap that online therapy is slowly but surely closing. You can attend sessions anonymously from your place of comfort, and you can contact your therapist wherever you are as sessions take place on your phone or computer.
Moreover, taking your mental health as seriously as your physical health is responsible and shows your commitment to your best self in every capacity. The first step to having a clean mental health bill is asking for help when you need it and getting it. Deciding to go to therapy is a brave decision that shows how strong you are. Not only that going to therapy helps you, but will also foster a better relationship with your loved ones.
5 Best Online Therapy Sites For Online Counseling
- Calmerry– Overall Best Site for Online Therapy; Editor’s Pick
- TalkSpace – Prime Choice for Online Therapist Among Users
- Online-Therapy.com – Best Virtual Counseling Site for Mental Health
- Betterhelp – Popular Online Counseling Platform
- Regain – Best for Online Couple Counseling
#1.Calmerry– Overall Best Site for Online Therapy; Editor’s Pick
Calmerry is one of the new generation online therapy provider. It was founded in May 2020 to help people manage their mental health during the pandemic, and it is safe to say Calmerry put its users first. Calmerry is also the most affordable therapy site we reviewed.
Like other platforms, Calmerry is subscription-based; however, there is a feather to its cap. On Calmerry, you can do only weekly sessions instead of committing to a monthly plan. Weekly sessions cost $44.99 and include unlimited messaging and access to your portal.
Calmerry offers therapy for almost all mental health issues as much as online treatment will allow. Like other online therapy platforms, therapists don’t diagnose on Calmerry, but you get a personal portal where you can track your progress. If you want affordable and effective therapy, you should consider Calmerry.
Advanced Matching: Calmerry is the only platform that doesn’t use an algorithm to connect users to therapists out of all the ones reviewed. After filling out the questionnaire, Calmerry experts use your answers to match you with the best therapist for you. One downside is that some users complained about waiting for over 48 hours before a therapist contacted them.
Payment Plans: Calmerry offers three affordable payment plans. First is the Messaging Plan, where you get unlimited messaging with your therapist five days a week at $41.99 per week ($167.96 monthly) for your first month. You also have access to your portal. Since the discount applies only to the first month, you will pay $56.99 per week ($227.96 monthly) subsequently. The second plan includes all you will get in the Messaging Plan and one weekly live session at $51.99 per week, $227.96 for the first month. Subsequently, you will pay $74.99 per week at $299.96 per month. The third plan includes four live sessions, personalized therapy, and unlimited messaging at 67.49 (269.96) for the first month and 89.99(359.96) for other months.
Personal Portal: The unique portal on Calmerry lets you track your progress. You have a list of short and long-term goals that you can fill and check as you progress in therapy. If your subscription allows it and you have a personalized therapy plan, you can also view it from your portal.
- Couples therapy at no extra cost
- 30% first-month discount
- Most affordable
- Quick response time
- Multiple subscription plans
- No free trial
- Short live sessions
#2.Talkspace-Prime Choice for Online Therapist Among Users
Talkspace is another popular and efficient online therapy platform. Founded in 2012, Talkspace has grown tremendously and is still expanding into areas where other online treatment platforms are not daring.
On Talkspace, you can find all things related to mental health. You will discover relationship counseling, LGBTQIA counseling, psychiatry services, medication management, and individual therapy. When signing up on Talkspace, you will take a 60-second assessment, select an appropriate counseling package, and get matched to a therapist.
Packages: Talkspace offers different packages for its users. After completing the assessment, you will pick the payment package that suits you before matching with a therapist. The first package is unlimited messaging therapy plus, which costs $260. It is the cheapest package, and you will get unlimited chats and calls but no live therapy sessions.
Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium is the second package, and it costs $316. There is one live session per month, including chats and messaging. The third package is Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate, priced at $396. This way, you get unlimited conversations and four live sessions. In addition, you can subscribe to relationship therapy plans at $396 monthly.
Psychiatry Services: One distinct feature of Talkspace is the availability of psychiatry services. You won’t find this on any other therapy platform. Having access to online psychiatry services means that people with mental health issues can get help. Apart from that, they can get medication, and their therapist will help with medication management. Talkspace bills psychiatry services per session. On your first consultation with a Talkspace psychiatrist, you will pay $249, while subsequent sessions are $125.
Accepts Insurance: Another great feature of Talkspace is taking a wide range of insurance. Although Talkspace doesn’t accept Medicaid or Medicare, other options are still availble. You can search for the insurances accepted on their official website to check if your insurance provider is on the list.
- Flexible plans
- SSL encrypted chat rooms
- Easily switch therapist
- $100 off with a discount code
- Psychiatry services available
- Accepts insurance
- Pricing based on your location
- Expensive psychiatry services
#3. Online-therapy.com-Best Virtual Counseling Site for Mental Health
If you seek behavioral change, sign up on Online-therapy.com. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), one of the best behaviorism techniques, is their forte at Online-therapy.com. CBT is clinically proven to help with stress, depression, and anxiety.
Online-Therapy.com was started in 2009 by a Swedish company. However, it caters to many English-speaking countries like the UK, the US, Australia, etc. Therapists on Online-Therapy.com also come from English-speaking countries.
A video introduction welcomes you to Online-Therapy.com when you sign up on their sites. The video talks about what makes Online-Therapy.com stand out from other online therapy platforms. You can choose to watch the video or just get started by joining the site.
Complete Toolbox: The treatment structure on Online-Therapy.com is not like the others. It is not only about matching with a therapist and starting treatment. Online-Therapy.com encourages users to put in the work. Research shows that clients who put in the effort get the most out of therapy. Online-Therapy.com lets you access a toolbox when you sign up. You get a therapist and a complete toolbox that includes journals, activity plans, sections, worksheets, live sessions, and yoga. What Online-Therapy.com does is to let you get involved with therapy and have your therapist act as a guide through the process.
Subscription: You can access Online-Therapist.com through subscriptions. This platform is one of the most affordable online therapy providers. They have three plans – basic, standard, and premium. The basic plan costs $160 and includes 25 worksheets, journals, self-tests, activity plans, and yoga and meditation videos. On the other hand, the standard subscription offers you everything in the basic plan and one weekly live session at $240. The premium plan includes all the benefits in basic and standard, plus express replies from your therapist and two weekly live sessions at $320.
Discount: while Online-Therapy.com doesn’t offer financial aid to its users, it provides them with a 20% discount on their first month’s payment.
- First-month discount
- 256-bit end to end encryption
- Easy to use interface
- Mental health toolbox
- Only for individual adults
- No free trial
#4.Betterhelp– Popular Online Counseling Platform
When you need psychological help, Betterhelp should be your first choice. Betterhelp offers teletherapy, unlike any other provider. Betterhelp draws you in from your first visit to their website. You will find that they have over 23,000 licensed therapists who are willing and ready to start working with you immediately.
Betterhelp provides therapy for individuals, couples, and teenagers. You can even sign someone else up for treatment. Betterhelp has been providing online therapy to individuals, teenagers, and couples since 2013. Not only is BetterHelp popular, but it is also efficient, evident in the rate at which people sign up and their customer reviews. As of March 2022, BetterHelp has transformed the lives of over 2.6 million people worldwide.
Highly Rated:Betterhelp is not only for Americans; it is a global platform.ld, which makes them the most popular and highly rated virtual therapy platform. As a result, they have a high reputation and ensure permanent protection.
Financial Aid: Betterhelp understands that not everyone who needs treatment can afford therapy. Due to that, they have lower fees for low-income and unemployed users. To benefit from this aid, you should indicate your profession or income status when signing up.
Unlimited Access to Your Therapist: There are several options for the therapist and client to communicate on Betterhelp. These options give you unlimited access to your therapist, and Betterhelp App also makes it easier to communicate with your therapist anywhere at anytime.
Easy Signup: When you sign up on Betterhelp, you have to fill out a questionnaire about why you seek therapy. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete the signup process as it is super fast and easy. After signing up, the website’s algorithm pairs you with a professional. It could be a psychologist, social worker, family and marriage therapist, etc. Although it is not possible to pick a therapist of your choice on BetterHelp, you can change the one assigned to you if you are not satisfied.
- Unlimited messaging
- Availability of numerous language
- Financial assistance
- Seven days free trial
- No online psychiatrists
- Therapists do not diagnose
#5.ReGain-Best for Online Couple Counseling
If you are in a relationship and want to regain joy, communication, intimacy, etc., ReGain is the best platform to join. With over 11,000 licensed therapists, ReGain is your best bet for saving and improving your relationship. ReGain has helped over 180,000 couples get back on track, and some of these couples have written great reviews about their experience working with ReGain therapists.
You will fill out a questionnaire with your partner when you sign up on ReGain. The ReGain matching algorithm select a therapist for you. If you and your partner do not connect with your therapist, you can easily change until you match the best one for you. In addition, you can signup on ReGain even if your partner is not interested in therapy. Single people healing from past relationships, divorce, etc., are also welcomed on ReGain.
Although ReGain was founded in 2016 and is relatively new compared with other platforms, it is still highly rated and efficient. Betterhelp owns ReGain, and that further increases its reputation.
Security: ReGain is safe to use as it is private and secure. All messages and information are confidential and follow the HIPAA rules. All chats and user data are banking grade encrypted.
Cost: ReGain is relatively cheap, and you pay only $60 to $90 per week, which they bill monthly. Inviting your partner to join you in therapy doesn’t incur extra costs. With ReGain, you get to solve your relationship issues while saving costs.
Licensed Therapists: ReGain employs licensed professionals with over 3,000 hours of experience. Every therapist on ReGain is knowledgeable in relationship remediation and counseling. When you sign up on ReGain, the system will match you with professionals who understand why you seek therapy.
- Seven days free trial
- Couples have access to chats and messages
- Same price individually or with your partner
- Banking grade encryption
- No live messaging
- Couples must be in the same location
#6.Pride Counseling-Most Recommended for the LGBTQIA Community
It may be hard for non-members and others to understand the struggles in the LGBTQIA society. Pride Counseling has made it its sole responsibility to cater to pride members. Unlike other professional therapists, Pride counseling therapists are licensed and have at least 1,000 hours of LGBTQ-related counseling.
Signing up for Pride Counseling is straightforward. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire and create an account. You can create an account on Pride Counseling with an alias to ensure anonymity. Questions include your sexual orientation, pronouns, gender, age, counseling history, relationship status, etc. After completing the questionnaire, you pay for your first month, and the algorithm will match you with a counselor within 24 hours. Pride counseling offers financial aid but you have to qualify to use it.
Services: Pride counseling offers a variety of services. They deal with mental health issues affecting LGBTQIA members, which include but are not limited to anxiety, depression, addiction, stress, anger, etc. The therapists are efficient in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotional-Focused Therapy (EFT), Psychodynamic Therapy, and other therapy techniques.
Payment:Pride counseling’s billing starts at $40 per week, and most people get charged between $60 to $80 weekly. Your first monthly payment on pride counseling is billed upfront. Also, there is an option to pay a fixed price of $316 once a month instead of a weekly cumulative.
Convenient and Secure Sessions: Pride Counseling is convenient to use. You can join and schedule sessions on your web browser or mobile app. In addition to unlimited messaging with your therapist, you get four live sessions monthly, each lasting up to 50 minutes.
- Real-time messaging
- Live video session
- LGBTQ trained therapists
- Easily switch therapist
- Financial aid (if you qualify)
- Strictly 18 and above
- No free trial
#7.Teen Counseling-Trusted by Parents for their Teenagers
Teenagers are at the most crucial stage of character development. They are overwhelmed with hormones and only begin to form their own identity and opinions independent of their parents. These are enough factors to make them feel confused and unsettled. Also, these may potentially lead to mental health coditions like anxiety, depression, stress, etc.
While there are several other online counseling platforms, only one dedicates its resources specifically to teenagers. TeenCounseling has over 12,000 licensed therapists who can help teenagers with various mental and social issues. Teenagers can sign up themselves, and if parents want, they can sign up their teenage kid(s) for counseling on TeenCounseling.
TeenCounseling also allows parental involvement in therapy. Suppose the parent(s) and their child agree to attend a session together. All sessions with teenagers are confidential. However, the therapist on TeenCounseling will let parents know if further intervention is needed.
Dual Sign-up: Signing-up options are available for parents and teens on TeenCounseling. On your first visit to the site, you will see two buttons for joining—the green for parents and the orange for teens. As a parent, when you click the green button, you are asked if you are signing up your child for therapy or for yourself to foster a better relationship with your teen child. You select the option that applies to you most and get started.
For teenagers, click on the orange button. You enter a page where they ask who will pay for your session and provide consent on your behalf. Next, you state their first name and their email address.
Communication: TeenCounselling offers unlimited messaging and chats. The teenager and their parents can have the same therapist but talk to the therapist independently. If parents and their kids agree, they can also have a joint session. Weekly live sessions are available on TeenCounseling; however, they last only 30 minutes.
Therapist Qualifications: You will find an expert team of therapists on TeenCounseling. The experts include psychologists, clinical social workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Every therapist on TeenCounseing has a state license.
Confidentiality: Privacy is a delicate issue with teenagers, and they may disclose information they’d rather their parents not know. Therapists on TeenCounseling understand this and work accordingly. TeenCounseling is HIPAA compliant. If you check HIPAA rules, some states allow teenagers to give consent to therapy and do not necessarily have to involve their parents.
- Separate rooms for parent and child with one therapist
- Parental counseling is available
- HIPAA compliant
- Highly confidential
- No free trial
- Your location affects pricing
How We Made the Best Online Therapy List for You
Therapy is sensitive, and you should approach it carefully and diligently. Hence, we took extra precautions when creating the best online therapy platforms list. The search for online treatment websites yielded numerous results. We screened based on our previously determined criteria. As a result, we eliminated sites that didn’t meet our standards until we finally selected the seven best online therapy platforms.
The top selections on this list are the best online therapy plaforms, most affordable, and most efficient ones among other online therapy sites.
What We Looked For:
During the elimination process we stuck to the following factors:
- Security: Most of your online therapy sessions will occur on the internet. Phishing scams, computer virus, hackers, damage and theft of your devices, etc., are some of the security risks to online therapy that needs to be considered by both parties. Protection of client information against hackers and data thieves is one crucial factor to consider. All the sites on this list have adequate measures to protect their client’s data. They also carry out regular software updates to fix bugs and prevent security breaches. These sites also follow the HIPAA rules, which ensure the confidentiality of clients’ information.
- The Number of Therapists: Many people may sign up on the same online treatment site. Therefore it is essential to be particular about the number of therapists available to clients. Aside from that, the therapist-to-client ratio is another vital factor. In addition, people seeking therapy would find it useful to have a wide range of therapists to consider before choosing one. That further ensures a connection between the therapist and the client, facilitating the therapeutic process. Hence, we included only the sites with more than the average number of therapists.
- Cost: Therapy is costly, and you mustn’t go broke while paying for treatment. All the sites on this list are affordable when compared to traditional therapy.
- Licensure: Anyone can claim to be a therapist, especially if they have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or any related field. Nevertheless, a therapist must have at least a Master’s degree before practicing. That is why licensing boards exist, and they are there to regulate the profession and ensure that anyone claiming to be a psychologist is qualified.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Therapy Site:
Going to therapy will undoubtedly help your mental health. However, there is a difference between choosing an online therapy site because you need it and choosing an online one that will help you.
You should not join any online therapy site without being sure about it. You will share personal and emotional information with a stranger, and you need to know that it’s worth it. Any therapist working with you must have a license to practice. You can check the name of your therapist on their state licensing association website to confirm their licensure.
If you want to get the best out of online therapy, consider the following factors.
The first question you should ask yourself when you decide to go for online therapy is if it is right for you. People have different personalities, and what works for one may not work for the other. Also, mental health care and issues vary among individuals. You need to know if online therapy is best for you or if you are better off with traditional treatment.
In addition, you also need to be sure that you are comfortable talking about issues with someone that is not physically present. It is vital to be sure of the effectiveness of online therapy for you before signing up.
- Mode of Communication
Another essential factor to consider is how you and your therapist will communicate. You will have to decide if you are comfortable with video calls or want to be anonymous. In addition, you should know which communication mode you are most comfortable using. Do you prefer texts, phone calls, emails, etc.? After deciding this, you should let your therapist know which communication mode you are most comfortable with so that they can set that as a default.
Therapy is expensive, so you should consider the cost of treatment and how you will make payments when choosing an online therapy site. Online therapy is generally cheaper than traditional therapy, and some therapy sites have discounts for unemployed and low-income people. Betterhelp, for instance, has a deal in place for students and unemployed individuals.
- Security and Confidentiality
Confidentiality is the most critical offline or online therapy factor. Treatment should occur in a safe, private, and secure location and site. Some apps may give information to third parties, and you do not want to be a victim of that. Any online therapy sites you are signing up on should at least be compliant with the HIPAA. This law protects your information and ensures that no one gives your information away without your consent.
FAQ About Online Therapy Or Visual Counseling
Q1: Is Online Therapy Confidential?
Every therapy, regardless of the form, is confidential. Therapists should keep all information shared by their clients confidential. Hence the informed consent form you sign at the beginning of therapy, usually in the first session. However, there are three exceptions to the confidentiality rule. Firstly, a therapist can breach confidentiality if they have good reason to believe you will harm yourself or others. Secondly, if they have good reason to think you are being abused or abusing others. The third reason is if they get a court order asking for your information. Apart from these exceptions, be rest assured that everything you discuss in therapy is confidential.
However, since online therapy takes place on social networking sites, no one knows how much of the client’s information these networking sites take. Even if they do,
Q2: Are Online Therapists as Good as Traditional Ones?
Licensed mental health professionals are the same people doing traditional therapy. These online therapists are professionals and have licenses in their respective fields. All the professional therapists on our list have state licenses and at least a master’s degree in their respective psychology fields.
Q3: Can I Get Prescribed Medications From Online Therapy?
Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication for you either online or offline. Psychologists and psychotherapists can only diagnose, and if you need to get on medication, they may do a referral. If you need to get a prescription, you should be looking for an online psychiatrist instead of an online psychologist.
Q4: How Does Online Therapy Work?
Online therapy works pretty much the same as traditional therapy. You walk into the psychologist’s office virtually, of course, and start therapy from there. You and your therapist determine the therapeutic process, diagnosis, therapy technique, therapy duration, goals, etc. The only difference between online and traditional therapy is that you do not have to be with each other whenever you have a session physically. One advantage of online therapy is that your therapist is more accessible to you since you can reach them. You also do not need to worry about missing or getting late to a session since you attend from anywhere.
Q5: How Long Will I Be in Therapy?
Therapy duration will depend on how quickly and efficiently you achieve treatment goals. Another factor that determines therapy duration is the technique your therapist uses. For instance, Solution-focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) only takes about five sessions to see improvement and reach treatment goals. In comparison, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) will go on for 8 to 20 sessions to achieve treatment goals.
Also, the severity of your issue will determine how long you will be in therapy. Clients dealing with trauma, for example, tend to stay longer in treatment. Therefore, the severity of your issue, the technique your therapist uses, and the achievement of treatment goals will determine the duration of therapy.
Q6: Can I Ask My Therapist Questions?
Yes, you can. It is even advisable that you should. Your therapist is there to serve you, and you should pick the one you are comfortable with the most. You can ask your therapist about their education and professionalism, and you can ask if they’ve dealt with issues similar to yours before. If they ask you a question that is not clear, you can ask them to repeat themself. You can as well ask about your assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
In addition, you can ask your therapist some personal questions, and they will let you know if they are comfortable enough to answer them. However, remember that the therapy is about you, and you are not a therapist when asking personal questions.
Q7: Are Online Therapy Priced the Same Way as Traditional Therapy?
Payment for traditional therapy or in person therapy is per session, which is usually 45 – 60 minutes. On the other hand, online therapy platforms have packages, and you may pay for a biweekly or monthly package.
Also, online therapy is cheaper than traditional therapy. Traditional face-to-face treatment involves office space, hard copies of forms and assessment tests, refreshments, bills, etc., which are some of the reasons why it is so expensive. However, these are not present in online therapy, and as a result, online treatment is cheaper.
Which Online Therapy Site to Choose: Conclusion
Therapy is worth it, and if you put in the work, you will see the changes you desire. You do not need to worry about the form in which you are taking therapy. The therapists have licenses too, and they follow their associations’ rules; they ensure confidentiality. There are many other licensed clinical social workers that may help you and make you choose the perfect option for you. You may also get a doctor on demand.
In addition, online therapy is increasingly popular now, and you are not wrong to prefer it. Nowadays they are also available in the form of mental health apps. It gives clients the freedom to attend therapy whenever and wherever they like, and it is also relatively cheaper than traditional therapy. There is absolutely no reason not to consider online therapy if you are sure it is the best online therapy option. Remember to consider the factors listed when choosing the best online therapy services to ensure you do not fall victim to data and information theft.
Keep in mind that, unlike traditional in-office therapy, choosing among the best online therapy platforms cannot fulfill court-ordered treatment. Also, most online therapy platforms do not accept insurance payments. However, you may check with your insurance provider, and they may be able to reimburse you.
Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We do not test each product thoroughly but give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.