Best Online Therapy Sites Compared – April 2017

Not sure about which online therapy service to use? Browse below and read our online therapy reviews for more detailed information. Our experts have tested the leading online therapy services based on a range of factors, including support and effectiveness, confidentiality and privacy, counselor qualifications, areas of expertise, usability and pricing.

#1 Expert’s Top Pick
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Visit BetterHelp

BetterHelp is geared towards those exact people who e-counseling was made for – people on the go. Those too busy to take the time to travel and go to a therapist, get the same benefits from the convenience of their smartphone. Therapists are available for you 24/7 with the option to also have a live phone session. BetterHelp allows each patient to participate anonymously. Privacy standards are used on the same level as financial institutions using military grade 256-bit encryption. BetterHelp offers you a 7 day trial period, after, billing you weekly with no limit on the amount of sessions. BetterHelp provides the top therapists to fit everyone’s needs.

Plans from $35 per week
  • 2,000 Licensed Therapists
  • 500,000 Users
  • Best In Class Privacy
  • 7-Day Free Trial
#2
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Visit Presto Experts

Presto Experts provide a wide range of professional help from technology and education to health, design, and business. Presto listens to your needs and matches you with the best fit therapist. Then you are given the opportunity to have a trial session with the therapist before committing. This allows users to explore and truly get the therapist that is right for them. All of the therapists are legally licensed and have signed an agreement to keep your information private through SSL encryption. Presto Experts also allows you to read reviews of your therapist online so you can get a feel for therapy session before it even begins!

Plans from $1 per minute
#3
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Visit Breakthrough

Breakthrough is known to have therapist that focus on you and your needs. Their success rate is incomparable with other sites and they work to make sure you are taken care of professionally. They are bound by federal laws (HIPAA, etc.) to keep their privacy to the highest standards. A major benefit to Breakthrough, compared to other e-counseling sites, is that they take most major insurance, unlike other e-therapy sites.

Plans from $50 per hour
#4
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Visit TalkSpace

Talkspace is similar to most other e-counseling platforms, except for their free chat room feature. This is an initial secured consultation with a therapist without the commitment or forced pay. Talkspace uses only professional therapists from PhDs, PsyDs, LICSWs, LMFTs, to LMHCs, MSs, and LPCs. All therapists have at least 3,000 hours of experience before being accepted. With three different therapy plans you will get the sessions you want without a whole in your wallet.

Plans from $32 per week
#5
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Visit 7 Cups of Tea

This is the first free e-counseling service we have found! Taken into account that their counselors are not licensed therapists and are therefore titled as listeners on the site, all their counselors truly care about their clients because they are doing it on a volunteer basis. 7 Cups of Tea creates a community feel for their customers allowing them to get stabilize emotional support, which is said to be the best medicine for someone just looking to vent.

Plans from $50 per month

E-counseling.com strives to maintain the most up to date and accurate data with regard to the above online therapy services. These reviews have been compiled by our team of experts to assist our visitors in making more informed decisions. Since there are many components to a service, we have analyzed each area to help users understand the ins and outs of how the service works. For example, since online therapy services use chat-based technology, we detail the usability and responsiveness of this feature. While our online therapy reviews take into account several factors about each service, it is important for readers to fact check pricing and other terms prior to signing up with an e-therapy service.

You may not know it but over 90 million Americans suffer from some form of mental health disorder. That’s roughly one in five people throughout the nation. It’s clear that mental health disorders are quite common. Naturally, one would come to the conclusion that there would be a variety of options for people seeking help. After all, we live in the age of technology and knowledge. Unfortunately, this assumption would be wrong.

Due to our advances in academia, universities throughout the country have put out some of the best clinical psychologists worldwide within the last century. However, there is still a lack of mental health professionals available for well over 50% of the population. This is especially true for people living in rural areas, where access to healthcare, affordable or not, is oftentimes non-existent. There are people living with mental health problems that need to travel several hours just to seek out help.

This should not be confused with a lack of overall health professionals. Though psychologists are (and will always be) in demand, there isn’t a massive shortage within the mental health sector. It just happens to be that many psychologists operate out of major urban areas, given the population density figures of most major cities.

Additionally, we use technology for everything. Soon, all of our electronic devices will be powered by the Internet of Things. If this is a reality, how is it that technology can’t help people with, say, depression? If we can go to Mars, surely we can figure out a way to leverage new technologies in order to adapt traditional counseling into the lifestyle and expectations of people today.

Online Therapy

Online therapy is defined as the latest form of delivery of mental health services via the Internet. Several years ago, a few pioneers saw this large gap in the mental health industry. They noticed that millions of people were living without access to professional help. They also understood that we live in a fast-paced world, with people constantly on-the-go. So, these innovators decided to rectify the problem by creating online therapy platforms, which essentially connect certified psychologists and people suffering from mental health issues such as depression, stress and anxiety, among dozens of other clinically defined disorders.

While the online therapy industry is still in its early years, as it currently stands, there is no shortage of online therapy providers available to people looking for professional help. There are close to a dozen tier-one e-therapy services, with several others emerging as major services. These providers will only grow as the demand increases over time. Therefore, we have evaluated each of the major online therapy brands, outlining all of the pertinent information one needs to make an informed decision.

Online Therapy Reviews

The research on e-counseling.com has been carried out by a team of expert reviewers. They understand the ins and outs of the online therapy industry, and are therefore equipped to properly evaluate what each online therapy service offers. This includes the benefits of online therapy (as detailed below), in addition to the effectiveness and drawbacks. Additionally, these online therapy reviews take a deep dive into the various areas of what the service offers including the sign-up process, pricing, usability, counselor support, confidentiality/privacy, counselor qualifications, and each services areas of strength and weakness. It’s important to note that our reviews and rankings are based off of our knowledge and experience of using each service. Success can vary from person to person and thus it’s imperative to find the service that’s tailored to best suit your specific needs.

Benefits of Online Therapy

Most people, even the ones who work within the online therapy industry, believe that online therapy / automated technology should not replace in-office therapy. Rather, it should complement your traditional therapy sessions, as online therapy offers a range of benefits to users. Some of the most common benefits associated with online therapy are:

  • No Boundaries: With online therapy, there is no longer a need to seek out help within your city limits. You have the ability to connect with a psychologist that’s not in your area. Best of all, should you not click with your therapist, you have the option to change therapists.
  • Efficiency: If you’re working full-time, chances are you have very little personal time set aside. With online therapy, you can receive help 24/7, or while you are on-the-go.
  • Communication Channels: Gone are the days of having to set pre-arranged appointments and then receiving therapy in person. Online therapy enables you to open your therapy app and get help right away. This includes SMS/chat, video, and phone therapy options.
  • Stigmas: Oftentimes people don’t set therapy appointments due to the stigma surrounding therapy. In fact, some people who do in fact set appointments won’t show up for their session due to this unfortunate stigmatization of therapy. With online therapy, that stigma is gone.
  • Privacy/Confidentiality: Using online therapy provides users with complete privacy and confidentiality. For starters, therapists on the platforms are bound by strict local and federal laws, as is the case with their brick and mortar business. Your therapy sessions are protected by HIPAA. Furthermore, your chat sessions are also secured by various bank-grade encryption levels, which only you and your therapist can access. Lastly, should you still not feel comfortable with therapy, even online therapy, you have the ability to sign up using an alias and dummy e-mail account.
  • Pricing: Did you know that it generally costs someone roughly $200 for one therapy session? Even if you are covered by premium insurance, the co-pay on each session can be as high as $50. If you’re going in to therapy once a week, that’s $200 per month on therapy. On the other hand, some of the best online therapy services provide users with incredible pricing, starting as low as $32 per week ($128 per month). Moreover, some online therapy services even work with major insurance companies, which further reduce your costs.

Effectiveness of Online Therapy

As is the case with any service or product, there have been people who question the effectiveness of online therapy. Such concerns include:

  • The absence of verbal dues
  • Effectiveness
  • Technological complications
  • Regulatory concerns

Though many of these concerns are valid, they vary on a case to case basis. Some have suggested that human/face to face contact is the only way a therapist can truly identify the feelings and behavior of their client. This may be true in some instances over chat therapy, however video therapy eliminates this issue, which in turn eliminates the ‘limits of effectiveness’ claim as well. Moreover, people living in rural areas may have spotty Internet connection. There are also some who point to transmission and server problems.