Online therapy is currently booming. The threat of the coronavirus with its stay-at-home restrictions has made online therapy a workable and safe option during these anxious times. Even before COVID-19, however, the online therapy market was becoming increasingly popular. You can’t argue with its convenience and accessibility. But what about its cost? Let’s look at how much you might pay for online therapy.
Cost of Online Therapy
Online therapy can take many forms: you can text, talk on the phone, or have a live video session with a therapist. With many online programs you can do it all, but different services and plans will grant you varying levels of access. For a comprehensive overview of the best online services, check out this list of top services.
Here are how five of the most popular services compare in cost;
Talkspace is probably the most well-known online provider, offering text, video, and audio messaging in three plans. The difference between the plans is the number of live half-hour sessions. The first plan priced at $260/month offers no live sessions. The second plan at $316/month offers one live session, and the platinum plan at $396/month gives you four live sessions. You only have the option for monthly subscriptions.
BetterHelp is right behind Talkspace in popularity. It is similar to Talkspace but also allows live chat. You are billed monthly at a rate of $40-$70 per week. The price variation depends on how long you pay for in advance. You will pay $70 if you pay week-by-week. The cheapest option is to pay for a year in advance. Any way you slice it, it is cheaper than Talkspace.
Regain is especially geared toward people with relationship issues. Similar to BetterHelp, you can pay $40-$70/week for the service depending on how long you sign up for in advance. One advantage of Regain is that you won’t have to pay any more for couple’s therapy as you would for individual therapy.
Seven Cups of Tea
Seven Cups of Tea started as a free community support group for mental health issues. It recently pivoted into the pay-for-therapy market. You can still talk to people for free but you also have the option to pay to speak to a licensed therapist. For $150/month you can get unlimited chat with a therapist, the cheapest price out there.
Similar to Talkspace, Online-Therapy.com has four different packages with varying levels of services. The site uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) psycho-education model. A basic plan at $32/week gives you CBT self-help resources, some therapist interaction, but no live messaging. The premium package is $64/week and gives you access to two live therapist chat sessions a week but videoconferencing is not part of the program.
Cost of Online Therapy vs In-Person Therapy
Online therapy programs are usually going to be cheaper than traditional in-person therapy – unless your in-person session is covered by insurance. As of now, most online therapy options are not yet covered by insurance but that will likely change as it becomes more popular.
Unless covered by insurance, a therapist who you meet in-person will determine their own rates for a session. A 45-60-minute session can cost anywhere between $100 to $500, depending on the therapist’s credentials, experience, specialty, and location. For example, you might expect to pay much more for a session with a seasoned psychologist in New York City than a counselor straight out of graduate school in a more rural area.
Online programs eliminate that variability. Depending on your plan, you know what it is going to cost, no matter with whom or where you receive your therapy. And, in general, it will be cheaper. Talkspace’s most expensive unlimited plan is advertised as $396/month. That is probably about half of what you would pay for an average month of weekly in-person therapy. Keep in mind, however, that in-person therapy can differ in terms of what is on offer. A weekly in-person session will likely be longer than an online video session but will not have the additional options of text messaging and daily contact. Your choice may come down to personal preference. But if you are seeking an affordable option, and your insurance won’t cover in-person therapy, you can’t beat online therapy.