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The best online therapy for 2021

Phone calls, video conferencing, and texting have made obtaining easier mental healthcare wherever you are – now you don’t have to sit on a therapist’s couch to get help, especially during the pregnancy pandemicWith less social connection, this may be an appropriate time to talk to a licensed online therapist. Some online therapy services, such as Talkspace, even allow you to give the gift of therapy to loved ones.

It’s not only convenient ̵

1; online therapy can often be cheaper than personal therapy“Therapists reduce their costs by not having to rent offices and pay other costs associated with a separate workplace,” said Mark Pines, a licensed therapist and CEO and founder of OpenCounseling, a website that assesses online therapy platforms and helps people in get in touch with free and affordable guidance. “They also eliminate the time and expense of commuting. The low cost, accessibility, and added convenience open therapy to a whole new audience.”

Young man using online therapy

Research shows that online therapy can be equivalent to personal care.

Amwell / Getty Images / iStockphoto

But not all online therapy platforms are created equal. Below is an introduction to five popular HIPAA-compliant therapy services that only employ licensed and trained mental health professionals.


How it works: Onboarding takes place with a chatbot, which tells you about the platform and then asks you a few very basic questions. To answer, choose from the available answers and immediately get a few possible therapist matches that can help with your specific needs.

Therapists: More than 5,000 licensed therapists, each with more than 3,000 hours of clinical experience. They have all been screened and trained by Talkspace to use the platform.

Services: Talkspace offers three service levels. With each message you can send your therapist an unlimited number of text, video and audio messages and your therapist will respond daily, five days a week. With the more expensive tiers, you also get one or four live video sessions per month, although anyone can add 30-minute live video sessions for an additional cost.

Cost: $ 260 – $ 396 per month depending on the plan you choose. If you prepay for three or six months, you can save 10-20% on the total cost.

There are no contracts and you can cancel your subscription at any time. Contact your human resources department for financial assistance; Talkspace works with health plans to provide employees with online therapy through employee benefits and behavioral health benefits.


How it works: You will be asked a variety of questions pertaining to your gender identity, sexual orientation, mood, and more that only take a minute or two to complete. After that, you will be matched with a therapist – usually within 24 hours or less. You can read a little about the counselor and then message him, or request a new match with any preferences, such as gender.

Therapists: More than 4,000 licensed and vetted psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW) or licensed professional counselors (LPC). Each therapist has a master’s or doctoral degree in their field, plus a minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours of relevant experience.

Services: You get access to unlimited text-based messages and live weekly interactions that are planned in advance and conducted via phone, video or chat. BetterHelp offers more than 150 digital worksheets and modules to aid you in treatment and also provides free access to more than 20 live group therapy sessions.

Cost: $ 80- $ 100 per week. Prices are based on your location, preferences and therapist availability. BetterHelp does not partner with insurance companies or employers. As a result, services are usually not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, but you should check your specific plan details. You can cancel your BetterHelp membership at any time.

Goes well

How it works: After creating a free account and adding your insurance details, if applicable, you can navigate Amwell’s full platform, which includes emergency care and specialty care such as dermatology in addition to therapy. Click on the Therapy tab and you will be given a list of licensed therapists in your country with limited information on each. From there you can schedule your first appointment.

Therapists: Hundreds of licensed psychologists with a master’s degree or doctorate in their field. Each is trained in telecare prevention and treatment techniques. Amwell also offers online psychiatrists who can prescribe drugs as well as a national network of US-certified clinicians to meet other medical needs.

Services: Live video sessions scheduled in advance. Therapists are available 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm EST.

Cost: $ 99 to see someone with a master’s degree; $ 110 for a therapist with a PhD. All sessions last 45 minutes. Amwell works with a variety of employers and leading health plans, so you may end up paying only a copay or whatever it takes to meet your deductible.

Dr. On Demand

How it works: Take a free mental health assessment to see if you would benefit from talking to a therapist or dive right in by creating a free account. Once you do that, you will be presented with a list of available therapists. Unfortunately, there is no way to search or sort by preference. Schedule your first session with the consultant of your choice.

Therapists: Hundreds of licensed psychologists and board-certified psychiatrists, as well as doctors who can provide emergency or preventive health care.

Services: Live video sessions scheduled in advance.

Cost: $ 129 for 25 minutes or $ 179 for 50 minutes for a psychology appointment; $ 299 for a 45-minute initial psychiatric consultation and $ 129 for each 15-minute follow-up. Dr. On Demand also accepts insurance and works with more than 400 employers.


How it works: Register for free and choose a reason for your visit. After answering a few questions, you’ll be presented with a list of available therapists and their biographies, which you can sort by specialty, language, and gender. Appointments must be requested; they are not immediately booked.

Therapists: Licensed mental health professionals and certified physicians, including psychiatrists. All healthcare providers receive tele-health training and undergo background checks.

Services: Pre-scheduled phone or video sessions.

Cost: Up to $ 108 per session, depending on your insurance. MDLive accepts insurance and also partners with various employers and health plans.

Find a therapist the good old fashioned way

If you don’t want to go through an external platform, you can still work with a therapist online to access traditional therapy. Many now offer online options, in addition to their in-person sessions, through their private practices. If you have insurance, you may be able to search for therapists through your provider’s portal.

Or browse databases such as those maintained by Psychology Today, which allow you to narrow your choices based on a variety of parameters, including gender, languages ​​spoken, and whether the counselors offer online therapy.

Whichever route you choose, keep these tips in mind when searching:

  • Make sure they are licensed professionals. Make sure the person you’re considering is a licensed therapist (in your state!) In good standing. “Therapist and psychotherapist are not legally protected words in most states, which means anyone can claim to be a therapist and offer services that may appear like therapy,” the APA said. So ask for a license number and verify it with the license board in your country. A therapist can be a nurse, counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Plus, there are many different types of therapy, from simple counseling to cognitive behavioral therapy, so you may want to do some research on what types of therapy sessions with an online counselor would benefit you the most.
  • Be honest and specific about what you are dealing with and what kind of support you are looking for. “Sometimes customers send me a description saying that I want to improve my self-esteem,” says Kalai. But that’s just not enough to know if I’m right [therapist] for you.”
  • Ask your potential therapist about themselves and their practice. “Make sure you find a therapist who feels confident to manage your symptoms,” Kalai says. Especially remotely – not all forms of therapy can be performed online. Stumped about what to ask them? Here is a list of questions to ask a therapist.

More support for your mental health

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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