The landscape of mental health services has evolved, and online therapy platforms have become increasingly popular. With so many options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit for your needs.
Our Online Mental Health Reviews team has a lot of experience studying, evaluating, and comparing different mental health services, which makes us qualified to write about the best therapist online.
We want to make sure that the information our readers get is correct, reliable, and tailored to help them make better decisions about their mental health.
Lead author Jared Levenson sees a therapist regularly, and has for years, and has some strong thoughts on the value of online therapy in general (see below).
In this post, we’ve researched and analyzed the top online therapy services of 2023 to help you make an informed decision.
However, before we dive in please see this Reddit Thread which accurately summarizes our perspective regarding online therapy in general: in-person therapy is preferred for more difficult mental health struggles, and online therapy privacy policies are porous.
online therapy in general:
- Online therapy platforms do not lend themselves to long-term relationships. While short forms of therapy, such as CBT for depression and anxiety are evidence-based, not all forms of mental health (i.e. trauma) can be treated in a shorter amount of time. In-person therapy relationships lend themselves to longer-lasting connections and therapeutic alliances.
- The cost per session is about the same, all things being equal between online therapy providers and in-person therapists. However, online therapy does benefit individuals who may save money on gas and childcare expenses.
- Meta-analysis research supports the notion that online-therapy and in-person therapy are equal in terms of effectiveness. However, this research is focused towards shorts shorter term therapy solutions.
Essentially, we believe 12-20 sessions of therapy can treat a variety of mental health struggles, such as assertiveness, anxiety, depression, and many more.
However, years of therapy will be necessary for some more difficult mental health issues like sexual abuse, OCD, PTSD, and personality disorders.
BetterHelp is a well-known platform that offers a vast network of licensed therapists. They provide a wide range of specializations, making them suitable for various mental health needs. 4.8 from 108,000+ reviews on the App Store.
- Large network of professionals
- Financial aid available
- Easy-to-use interface
- Subscription-based pricing
Talkspace is another popular online therapy platform with a user-friendly app and website. They offer different plans and a variety of therapists to choose from. In our review, we documented how Talkspace is best if you want a lot of therapist choice selections. 4.8 from 19,000+ reviews on the App Store.
- Multiple pricing plans
- Accessible via app
- Wide range of therapists you can choose from
- No free trial
Brightside Health is a high-quality, evidence-based online therapy service that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety and depression. In our review, we were highly impressed by Brightline’s onboarding process and overall quality. 2900+ reviews on Reviews.io give an average score of 4.46.
- Best combo medication plan and therapy
- Covered by major insurance providers
- Doesn’t focus on other mental health concerns such as OCD, BPD, relationships, etc.
4. 7 Cups
7 Cups is a unique platform that offers both professional therapy and peer-to-peer support through trained volunteer listeners. They are, in our opinion, the leading provider of free online listening. Gets a 4.8-star rating from 25,000+ reviews in the Google Play Store.
- Professional therapy and peer support
- Affordable pricing
- Anonymous chat option
- Limited availability of licensed therapists
Doctor On Demand offers great online therapy platforms and psychiatric services, making it suitable for individuals seeking both therapy and medication management. In our review, we noted how Doctor on Demand is primarily a doctor service (not online therapy). Average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from 106,000+ reviews on the App Store.
- Therapy and psychiatric services
- Licensed professionals
- Video sessions available
- No texting option
MDLive is another comprehensive telehealth platform that includes mental health services such as therapy and psychiatry. In the Apple App Store, MDLive has a 4.7-star rating from more than 71,000 reviews.
- Wide range of healthcare services
- Experienced therapists
- Video sessions available
- Limited to US residents
What do other reviews consider to be the best online therapy providers?
When selecting an online therapy service, consider factors such as privacy, security, and the qualifications of therapists.
It’s essential to find a platform that offers exceptional support, user-friendly features, and a secure environment to protect your personal information about online therapy providers.
At Online Mental Health Reviews, we believe you’ll be most empowered to make your best mental health decision by seeing patterns across data sets.
In other words, see what other reviews consider to be the best online therapy providers!
- EveryDayHealth.com – https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/best-online-therapy/
- Forbes.com – https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/best-online-therapy/
- VeryWellMind.com – https://www.verywellmind.com/best-online-therapy-4691206
Is Online Therapy the Right Option for You?
• Online therapy can provide greater convenience and affordability than in-person therapy (if the client would be spending money on gas and childcare) but is not suitable for everyone.
• Individuals should consider questions such as access to reliable internet, comfort with communicating online, availability of specialized therapists, comfort discussing personal matters, insurance coverage, commitment to sessions, and schedule compatibility when determining if online therapy is the right fit.
• Answering these questions can help determine if online therapy is the best option for an individual’s mental health needs with insurance covering online therapy.
We recommend the general guideline: if you are firmly against online therapy, go with in-person! If you know you want online therapy, go ahead.
Now, if you’re uncertain, please keep researching. You can try a variety of free online therapy services (some offer an initial trial session) and see if online therapy is right for you.
Finally, don’t be afraid of digging around a little bit. Don’t be afraid to use Zocdoc and other directories to find the right in-person therapist though too.
Remember, finding a great, life-changing therapist often takes several attempts. We realize this is a lot of work – finding and trying a few different therapists before committing to one – but it’s worth the effort.
Types of Online Therapy Sessions: Phone, Audio, Live Video, and Chat
Online therapy is becoming a popular way to access mental health services, especially for those unable to attend in-person sessions.
• There are several types of online therapy available, including phone, audio, live video, and chat.
• It’s important to find a qualified and experienced therapist who is right for your needs for online therapy to be successful.
• With the right support and guidance from an experienced professional, online therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions.
How the Online Therapy Process Works: From Signup to Sessions
• Researching different therapists or services is the first step in the online therapy process.
• After signing up, patients can schedule sessions with their therapist that accommodate their schedule and preferences.
• Sessions are conducted via video chat or telephone call and provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their challenges and develop solutions.
• Following up on sessions with reflection and action items suggested by the therapist allows for greater progress to be made over time.
• Online therapy offers a flexible option for those who need convenient access to mental health care and prescribe medication.
Therapist-Matching Process: Finding Your Ideal Support
Psychology Today writes an excellent article about the ‘art’ of matching with your ideal therapist and gives the following tips:
• Research different types of therapy to determine which one fits your needs with medication management.
• Consider factors such as cost, location, and availability when selecting a therapist.
• Utilize friends’ and family’s recommendations or online reviews when looking for therapists.
• Use free consultations and trial sessions to get a sense of the therapist’s approach and style.
• Make sure you feel comfortable before committing to ongoing sessions.
Communicating with Your Online Therapist: Methods and Tips
• Choose an online therapist that is licensed and experienced in the type of therapy needed.
• Establish communication expectations with your therapist before treatment begins.
• Be open and honest with your therapist about your feelings and experiences.
• Ask questions if something isn’t clear or if more information is needed.
• Take notes during sessions to remember key points and track progress over time.
• Don’t forget to practice self-care outside of therapy sessions.
What Type of Mental Health Issues Can Virtual Therapy Help With?
Virtual therapy can help with a variety of mental health issues, including:
- PTSD (recommended: in-person)
- OCD (recommended: in-person)
- Trauma (recommended: in-person)
- Marital Challenges
- Substance Abuse (recommended: in-person)
- Stress and Burnout
- Productivity Issues
Licensed Family and Marriage Therapists vs. Licensed Clinical Social Workers
When looking for the best therapist online, it’s important to understand the differences between Licensed Family and Marriage Therapists (LMFTs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs).
- LMFTs have specialized training in marriage and family therapy, while LCSWs have broader training in clinical social work.
- LMFTs are trained to address mental, emotional, and interpersonal disorders specifically linked to couples and families, while LCSWs can provide clinical social work services including diagnosis and treatment.
How Much Does Online Therapy Cost? Comparing Pricing and Payment Options
Online therapy allows access to mental health care from the comfort of home, and costs depend on the provider, platform, and location.
• An hour-long session can range from $65 – $250 without insurance, while some platforms charge a weekly fee that ranges from $40 – $109 per week or $70 – $300 per session.
• Insurance coverage varies depending on the provider; it’s best to check with your insurer in advance.
Does Insurance or Medicare Cover Online Therapy Sessions?
• Insurance and Medicare can cover online therapy sessions.
• Original Medicare Part B covers certain types of telemedicine, including online therapy.
• Most insurance companies also cover online therapy services but coverage details may vary.
Is Virtual Counseling Secure and Confidential? Understanding Privacy Measures
Virtual counseling provides mental health support from the comfort of your home, but it is important to understand the security measures in place for privacy and confidentiality.
Please remember the following general points about online therapy privacy policies, according to Consumer Reports:
- Third parties often collect data from these mental health apps, with limited disclosure about who and why.
- Data from these apps may be used for marketing or medical research, and it is not always easy to opt out of the latter.
- “Facebook can use data from other apps on an aggregated level, not on an individual basis. It says so explicitly both in their engagement with advertisers like us, as well as in their public information.”
Online Mental Health Review’s Take on Privacy Policies for Online Therapy Providers
This means that companies like Facebook might find out that you use a mental health app, and that piece of information could be combined with many other data points, like your gender, your hobbies, and your location, to decide which ads Facebook shows you on its platform or on other websites.
You might never know if getting one of these apps made a certain ad show up on a website you were visiting. The advertising business has become too automatic and complicated to be able to figure out something like that. But it’s not hard to picture because that’s how Facebook’s ad network usually works.
Not everything has to do with Facebook and Google too! Most of the mental health apps we looked at share data with other companies, and they don’t always tell you which ones or why.
To be fair, a lot of other apps on your phone also don’t tell you who they do business with. And sharing data doesn’t always mean it goes to marketing companies or data providers. Many useful things are done by third parties for apps, like keeping track of which features are used the most and making chat work.
But the more places your information goes, the more likely it is that it will be used in ways that might make you uncomfortable. And tools for mental health can gather very private information.
Customer Service: What to Expect from Online Therapy Platforms
Most online therapy plans which provide messaging with online therapists say to expect around 1-2 messages per day during weekdays.
However, customer support service can vary. Talkspace replied every 2-3 days to our queries, whereas Brightside replied in a faster manner.
Tips for Finding the Right Virtual Therapist: Factors to Consider
• Get recommendations from friends and family who have used online therapy services before.
• Read reviews from other users to gain an idea of their experience with the provider.
• Confirm that the therapist has experience with your particular issue or condition.
• Verify that the therapist is licensed and certified by a reputable organization such as APA.
• Ask about session lengths, the technology used (such as online EMDR tools), and additional fees associated.
• Compare prices between different providers to get the most cost-effective fit.
• Take time to get comfortable with the process before beginning sessions.
How to Quickly Find In-Person, In-Network Therapists Nearby
Zocdoc is a good option for online therapy providers, especially for people who prefer to talk to someone in person when they need help with their mental health.
- The site makes it easy for users to find nearby therapists and doctors who are part of their insurance network.
- This makes sure that they can get good care that fits their needs and budget.
- Zocdoc makes it easy to find and make appointments with nearby therapists by providing a large database of healthcare professionals and an easy-to-use search interface.
Our team knows how important it is to find the right mental health tools and has bought and reviewed Zocdoc to give you a well-rounded view of what it can do for you.
With a high Trustpilot rating of 4.4 from over 7,000 reviews, the platform has received a lot of praise for its efficiency, convenience, and a large network of healthcare experts.
In our review, we talked about how the platform makes it easier to find in-person therapy choices, which makes it easier for people to get the care they need. Overall, Zocdoc is a great choice for people who want an alternative to online therapy and want to meet with local therapists and doctors.
Best Therapist Online Conclusion
In conclusion, finding the perfect online therapy service can be a game-changer for your mental health journey. By considering the factors mentioned above and exploring these top options, you’ll be well on your way to making an informed decision that meets your specific needs. Happy healing!
Do you have any questions about the best therapist online? Or do you have a suggestion on what mental health service, app, or course the Online Mental Health Reviews team should buy and try next?
Please leave a comment below! We’d love to learn if you have any further questions about the best online therapies or any suggestions on other mental health professional services, apps, or courses for Online Mental Health Reviews to review.
If You Are In Crisis
If you find yourself in a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session may not be the safest option. In urgent situations, such as plans to harm yourself or others, it’s crucial to call 911 immediately. If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm, you can reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. This helpline is available 24/7 to provide support.
Additionally, you can contact the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This free and confidential service offers assistance to individuals struggling with mental health or substance abuse disorders, helping them find appropriate treatment and providing information around the clock, 365 days a year.