With over 90 million Americans living with some type of mental health disorder, and many more dealing with chronic stress, the idea of hiring a therapist for your mental health is no longer the taboo it once was.
While some argue that mental health issues still have a stigma associated with them, others have embraced the truth that mental health disorders are common, and we all need to tend to our mental health as much as we do our physical health.
But due to our busy schedules and the possible pinch of shame, many of us don't seek the treatment from a therapist that we need.
And, if you do look for treatment, you are likely to face barriers ranging from the exorbitant cost (even if you are able to get in with a therapist who works on a sliding fee scale) to the possibility that the therapist you see isn’t the right match for your needs.
If you are having trouble getting mental health help for whatever reason, using online counseling services is a convenient alternative to going into a therapist's office.
You may feel more comfortable talking to an online therapist in your own home rather than face to face, and many therapy websites offer teleconferences without using video.
You can even choose to join a chat with an online therapist or communicate through email. Let's talk about what this process involves and review eight of the best online therapy sites for mental health counseling.
Online Therapy Sites
Online mental health counseling is now provided over the Internet. It may also be referred to as e-therapy, distance therapy, online therapy, or telehealth.
When you use these online therapy services, you can talk to a licensed therapist from your home either online, on the phone, or via text.
Aside from being more convenient and anonymous than in-person therapy, when you choose to seek these services online, you are not limited to only the therapists who live in your surrounding area.
Perhaps you have a very specific issue that you want to work through, but after doing some research, you find that the best therapist for that issue is located on the other side of your state.
By getting the help you need online, you don't have to settle for someone who specializes in a different area because the therapist you really want is too far away.
Legitimate Online Therapy
When looking into online services for mental health, it is important to note that not all programs are created equally.
While some services use licensed therapists, others use coaches or trained listeners who do not have the proper licensure to be called a “therapist.”
This can cause a problem if you start to think of your coach as a counselor and then avoid seeing a licensed mental health provider because you believe you are getting the help you need. Pay attention to the credentials of the therapists you pay to help you.
You also want to look out for red flags when it comes to confidentiality.
To make sure that the company has your best interest in mind, find out who the owners of the website are.
It's important that psychologists are playing a leadership role in mental health technology companies because they are aware of ethical practice issues that need to be at the forefront of their business.
Cost of Therapy Online
Online counseling services can range in price. Some are billed per week or month and some are billed per session.
- Emails can cost anywhere from $25 to $125 per exchange, which covers the therapist's time and any costs to ensure the session is a secure exchange.
- Sites that charge by time are typically anywhere from $2 to $5 per minute or $100 to $250 per hour.
- If you want unlimited therapy, you can get it for as little as $32 per week from some sites and an average monthly price is about $150.
Now that you know about receiving mental health services online, let's look at some of the best providers.
8 Of The Best Online Therapy Services
Check out our online therapy reviews for 8 online therapists:
BetterHelp's goal is to provide you with easy access to quality, professional online therapy help when you need counseling for life's challenges.
BetterHelp has over 2,500 counselors on their website who are licensed, board accredited, and have either a Ph.D. or a master's degree in addition to at least 3 years of first-hand experience.
Once you're signed up for an account, you are matched with an online therapist counselor according to your answers to a questionnaire.
You can then communicate directly with your counselor through online messages at any time. You can talk to your counselor on an unlimited basis every week and are free to cancel your membership at any time without penalty.
It is free to sign up and get matched with a counselor — and you can even start talking for free. If you decide to continue talking to your counselor, it will cost $35 per week for unlimited communication, which means you can speak to your counselor as much as you need.
BetterHelp's system is HIPAA compliant to protect your privacy. They use banking-grade encryption services, which allows you to be completely anonymous, even to your counselor.
ReGain might be the right online counseling platform for you if you are looking for relationship therapy.
They provide you with convenient, confidential, and affordable access to a licensed therapist. Individuals and couples can both benefit from ReGain's services for relationship or marital issues.
When using ReGain as a couple, two users share a joint account and communicate with a therapist together.
Both users can see all of the written communication, and if either partner wants to speak privately with the therapist, they can schedule an individual live session.
The counselors at ReGain are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers or licensed professional counselors.
Each has a Master's or Doctoral Degree and is certified by their state's professional board.
All 1,000 counselors have at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience and are willing to work with either individuals or couples.
Receiving services from ReGain costs between $35 to $80 per week, depending on the plan that you choose. If you have an account with your partner, only one of you is responsible for payment.
To ensure your privacy, this site offers a “shred” button next to every message that you send so it will be erased from your account.
Additionally, all messages exchanged between you and your counselor are encrypted using banking-grade 256-bit encryption.
This online counseling platform allows you to have professional counseling any time at your fingertips through your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Each of the 1,000 online therapists at MyTherapist is licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited in psychology, therapy, social work, or counseling.
Every professional possesses a Master's or Doctorate Degree in their field and is board-certified with at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of experience under their belt.
MyTherapist offers messaging services, live online chat sessions, live phone sessions, and live video sessions. The cost for this service averages at about $55 per week.
Unlike some other sites that focus on only one niche, MyTherapist is a one-stop option for any type of online therapy that you may need.
Additionally, it offers a simple platform that is easy to use, even if you are not very tech-savvy.
TalkSpace is a website that allows you to send videos, audio, and pictures in a chatroom with a therapist via text.
Their mission is to give people convenient access to over 1,500 licensed therapists who can help people live happier and healthier lives.
It costs as little as $128 per month for 24/7 access to your therapist, who will respond to your messages inside of their business hours.
TalkSpace has helped clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, PTSD, eating disorder, LGBT issues, difficulty in their relationships, and suicidal ideations.
To ensure your confidentiality with these issues, the website encrypts all of your chat data on the servers, as well as all communication between the software and servers.
When using the TalkSpace app, you are required to enter a password and you can opt to create a unique passcode for added security.
Additionally, their iOS app uses both Touch and Face ID on enabled devices.
TalkSpace used to offer the option of remaining completely anonymous, however, they now collect emergency contact information from clients who are first starting out.
As for security, the chat data on this site is encrypted on TalkSpace's servers, as well as any communication between their software and servers. All of their technology is also HIPAA compliant.
Breakthrough offers the services of over 1,000 licensed therapists and psychiatrists.
It has a variety of high-quality video platforms for clients, such as VSEE, Adobe, and Frozen Mountain, which allows it to service over 30,000 clients every month.
All of the professionals on the site are certified and go through a rigorous application process before being approved to offer their services on the site.
Therapists set their own price on this site, so online counseling sessions can cost anywhere from $50 to $400 an hour, depending on your therapist.
While this may seem expensive compared to other online services, Breakthrough is the only online service that accepts most major insurance plans.
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This means that your health insurance company may be able to pay a large portion of your therapy treatment.
Creating an account and scheduling an appointment are both simple, and the mobile app is one of the most highly rated therapy apps available.
You can use the app for live video streaming or chatting through text, depending on what you are most comfortable with.
Breakthrough is also compliant with HIPAA, and your chat and video sessions are 100% encrypted. Additionally, the website never records or stores your sessions.
Finally, Breakthrough provides users with helpful tools that can show you how effective the service is, including two psychological assessments – the DASS-21 and the Holmes-Rahe tests.
These measure your level of depression, anxiety, and stress, and assesses your risk for developing a stress-related illness based on your recent life events.
This online program is based on a popular and effective therapy method called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
The site uses a team of professionals with a wide range of credentials including academic degrees, licenses, and certifications, in addition to many hours of hands-on experience.
This program offers chatting, worksheets, and readings to help you find a happier mindset.
Your therapy program has eight interactive reading “sections” that have all of the information you will need to identify and challenge your misleading thoughts.
You will read each section and complete the accompanying worksheets at your own pace.
The worksheets are a critical part of improving your life because they provide you and your therapist with a foundation to work from when you're trying to overcome your problems.
Within 24 hours of filling out your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the worksheets, you will receive individual feedback on your work from your therapist.
This site also gives you a journaling tool, an activity plan, and even yoga videos so you can supplement your journey to a better you.
You can either chat with your therapist live or send them a message as well. If you want to talk to other people who are sharing the same issues that you are experiencing in your life, the forum allows you to do so anonymously.
You can choose the online therapy subscription that works best for you, depending on how active you plan to be on the site. Plans start at just under $32 per month. You can always put your subscription on hold or cancel at any time.
The Virtual Therapist Network is an online resource to find a variety of mental health professionals who provide virtual face-to-face therapy and counseling to people and couples using a webcam.
Signing up is easy and requires minimal personal information.
The site uses security technology to establish an encrypted link between their server and their clients, which means any information you provide to your online therapist, either through video or audio, is encrypted.
This site offers unlimited visits with your therapist or counselor and it allows the professional to set their own rate.
This means that you will pay your provider directly and the website does not charge an additional fee. You can attend your virtual appointment using your computer or through the VTN app.
With therapy options regarding over 80 issues such as infant mental health, alcohol abuse, LGBTY issues, and video game addiction, this site is a one-stop shop for all of your family's therapy needs.
If you are looking for online counseling services, you are likely either seeking immediate attention for a pressing issue, or you want to acquire ongoing support for some longer term, complex issues.
Using the services provided by this online therapy site allows you to receive counseling quickly from a highly qualified therapist.
Or, if it better suits your needs, you can join an online support group on this site that is dedicated to your unique issues.
All of the mental health professionals on My Therapy Couch have a minimum degree of Ph.D.
When working with your therapist, you can use multiple online mediums with this website, such as email, G-chat, Skype, video conferencing, and online support groups.
This site uses the most secure form of online communication and encrypts all of your messages with your therapist.
Did you find this post on online therapy reviews helpful?.
Online counseling services offer people a unique new option in the field of mental health and therapy. Like other new ventures on the internet, it requires you to do some research to find the best online therapy for you.
The convenience, cost, and availability of online counseling services might be the answer you're looking for in order to improve your overall wellbeing.
There are thousands of people who could benefit from online therapy. If you found this post helpful and informative, please spread the love by sharing this post on your favorite social media platform.