The Best Online Therapy Services of 2020

Shannon V. McHugh, PsyD
Choosing the right online counseling service for your needs doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. Though there are over 20 providers offering similar services, the more established therapy companies have continued to improve the features and overall value they offer their customers, outpacing the lesser-known providers. We’ve reviewed the services offered by these providers and highlighted what we believe to be the most important factors in helping you decide which is the best online therapy provider for your needs.
Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Unlimited sessions with a dedicated professional therapist
  • Largest pool of licensed therapists (over 11,000)
  • Convenient and easy-to-use mobile app
  • Fully HIPAA compliant
  • Sessions can begin within 24 hours of signup
  • Response time depends on the individual therapist

BetterHelp is among the largest, and certainly most recognized online therapy services in the world. Their platform connects users with licensed, professional therapists via video, phone, chat and messaging tools. With one simple pricing plan that includes unlimited therapy, BetterHelp offers a counseling service that’s significantly less expensive than in-office therapy, and a better value than nearly all their online counterparts.

Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Specializes in relationship counseling
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Allows couples more flexibility in scheduling sessions
  • Three-way phone and video sessions not supported

Regain is a unique online counseling service in that it focuses solely on relationship counseling. The therapists on this platform are licensed professionals that have experience in working with couples, as well as individuals, on resolving their relationship issues. In addition to being much more affordable than in-office couples counseling, Regain is also more convenient with its multiple communication options and flexible session scheduling.

Avg Price
$45 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Specializes in counseling teenagers
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Parents communicate with their child’s therapist independently
  • Therapists cannot prescribe medication

Teencounseling.com is a therapy platform specifically designed to cater to teenagers 13-19 years of age. The therapists on the site are all licensed and experienced with helping teens cope with the issues unique to adolescence. Though parents can choose to be involved in initially discussing their child’s needs with the therapists, and continuously serve as the points of contact in case the teen is believed to be at risk, the sessions between the therapist and the teen are completely confidential.

Avg Price
$99 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Messaging, Phone, Video
  • All therapists are licensed and background-checked
  • Convenient and easy-to-use mobile app
  • Video session not available via desktop
  • No live chat feature available

Talkspace is easily one of the most recognized brands in online counseling. While many of the customers they service reach them via programs that are subsidized by their employers or health plans, they do offer a robust direct-to-consumer therapy service that includes messaging and live sessions via their mobile app.

Avg Price
$80 per 
week
Mobile App
None
Communication
Chat, Messaging and Worksheets
  • All counselors trained in CBT therapy
  • Weekly 30-minute live chat sessions
  • No mobile app
  • Video therapy sessions not available

Online-Therapy.com is a platform providing online cognitive behavioral therapy. Their therapists guide users through worksheets and interactive online books via live chat and messaging. They provide a complete toolbox of resources to empower users to take charge of their mental health.

Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Specializes in serving the LGBTQ community
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • HIPAA compliant

Pride Counseling matches people in the LGBTQ community with licensed therapists who can help them with their most pertinent mental health challenges. With this online platform, members can communicate one-on-one with a dedicated therapist via phone, video or the platform’s secure messaging system. The platform has its own app as well as a comprehensive website where users can log on and receive therapy in an accepting environment that’s custom-tailored to helping LGBTQ members.

Avg Price
$99 per 
session
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Phone, Video, Chat
  • Video and chat sessions
  • Easy to use appointment scheduler
  • HIPAA compliant
  • More expensive than other options

Breakthrough is great option for counseling online. They have an easy-to-use scheduling system that makes it simple to book live video and phone sessions with therapists. They are owned by MDLive, a large, well established telehealth company with vast experience in enabling people to access professional healthcare online.

More Great Options
Faithful Counseling Logo
Avg Price:
$65 per 
week
Editor's Rating:

What is Online Therapy?

Therapy is a resource that has provided people all over the world with support and guidance for generations and plays an important role in resolving people’s emotional suffering.​
online therapy illustration

Unfortunately, due to social stigma related to seeking help for mental health issues and inaccessibility due to costs and other logistical barriers, therapy is not always used by the people who need it most. Thanks to advancements in mobile and web technologies, online therapy has made it possible for mental health services to try to battle these barriers in an effort to help more people get mental health treatment. People can now seek out and obtain mental health services from their homes or anywhere else they happen to be.

The goal behind many of the companies providing mental health treatment online is to offer many more people with affordable and accessible services that will help improve their functioning and their lives. Being able to access it from home, often for much less than traditional therapy services, helps those who cannot afford to go to the office of a mental health professional to still obtain support. There are many companies that have begun providing mental health services online, and each of them provides varying features and options for services. Just like finding a traditional, face-to-face therapist, choosing an option may be overwhelming, as it is hard to know what will be the best fit. If you’ve been struggling to figure out where to find the right therapist for you, we’re here to help.

Why People Need Online Therapy?

icon of people connected
Life

Modern-day life has unique challenges. The technologies we use each day create habits that can exasperate feelings of anxiety and depression.
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Stress

77% of people experience burnout in their current job. In addition to family and social pressure, this stress can heavily impact their mental health.
icons of person not having money
Cost & Access

A combination of the high cost, geographical access & lack of knowledge about how and where to obtain in-office treatment are why people are not getting the help they need.

Understanding Our Reviews & Rankings

understanding customer reviews

Therapy is not a quick-fix type of service. It typically involves a long-term process of gradually opening up to the therapist and working on oneself to confront emotions, change bad habits, and eventually overcome complicated challenges. Since the definition of success varies greatly when it comes to mental health treatments, our rankings were heavily impacted by customer success stories. This information was collected based on online therapy reviews submitted on this website as well as others from around the web.

In addition to the analysis of our researchers, we collect feedback from professional therapists and technologists that understand both therapeutic and technological aspects of the features provided by each online therapy service we review. It’s important to note that our reviews and rankings are based on our knowledge and experience of using each service. 

The Main Benefits of Online Counseling​

Many believe that online therapy should not replace in-office counseling. Rather, it should complement your traditional counseling sessions, as it offers a range of additional benefits. Others, however, including thousands of satisfied customers already using online counseling services, boast that the level of connection they are able to make with their therapists online make in-person counseling unnecessary. Some of the most common benefits associated with online counseling are:

Efficiency

If you’re working full-time, chances are you have very little personal time set aside. With online counseling, you can receive help 24/7, or while you are on-the-go. This flexibility allows for complete catering to your availability.

Communication Channels

Gone are the days of having to set pre-arranged appointments and then receiving counseling in person. Online counseling enables you to open your counseling app and get help right away. This includes SMS/chat, video conferencing, and direct phone counseling options.

Privacy/Confidentiality

Using online counseling provides users with complete privacy and confidentiality. Therapists on the platforms are bound by strict local and federal laws. Your counseling sessions are protected by HIPAA. Your chat sessions are secured by various bank-grade encryption levels, which only you and your therapist can access. Lastly, you have the ability to sign up using an alias and dummy e-mail account.

Pricing

Did you know that, on average, just one in-person therapy session can cost $200? Some online counseling services provide users with discounted pricing, starting with subscriptions as low as $50 per week. Some providers even work with major insurance companies, which further reduces your costs.

No Boundaries

With online counseling, there is no longer a need to seek out help within your city limits. You have the ability to connect with a professional that’s not in your area.

Stigmas

Oftentimes people don’t set therapy appointments due to the stigma surrounding counseling. In fact, some people who set appointments won’t show up for their session due to this unfortunate stigmatization. With the increased privacy and anonymity inherent in online counseling, this fear can be greatly reduced.

Diagnoses That Can be Treated Through Online Therapy​

Mood Disorders​

These disorders usually have symptoms of mood fluctuation, including periods of depression, mania, lack of sleep, risk-taking behaviors and lack of impulse control.

Anxiety Disorders​

Anxiety takes many forms, but can involve specific fears, phobias, or worries, OCD or generalized anxiety.

Personality Disorders​

People who are diagnosed with personality disorders have long-term, fixed patterns of behavior that are extreme or rigid and inflexible. Narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and others are common diagnoses related to personality disorders.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are severe mental health conditions that are characterized by abnormal and odd thoughts and perceptions. Distorted reality is common for those in a psychotic state, often experiencing hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and others are common diagnoses.

Trauma-Related Disorders​

Trauma-related disorders present themselves when a person experiences an event that causes them to feel excessive fear, often involving fear that they will die as a result of the experience. These include chronic abuse, rape, incest, neglect, car accidents, medical traumas, and many others

Substance-Abuse Disorders​

Substance abuse is an issue that has been prevalent for decades and continues to be a contemporary problem in our lives. Alcohol and drug dependence are medical conditions that have specific treatments which are effective in helping a patient reach sobriety.

different people getting therapy illustration

Therapy Modalities

These are some of the main theories that influence the styles of therapy currently used to help patients:

Psychodynamic Therapy (Psychoanalytic)

Patients gain insight into the unconscious ways they process things and how they affect current behaviors. Patients learn how their past may be behind their anxiety or depression, and work-out how to undo these patterns and develop healthier, more sustainable ones.

Behavioral Therapy​

Derived from the early work of Pavlov, famous for his work with dogs, and Skinner who pioneered shaping behavior, therapists help patients overcome fears, phobias, or anxieties by desensitizing their worries. Through gradual exposure to stressful experiences and using coping skills, this approach shows a person can change their perceptions and behaviors in the process.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)​

Patients are taught to recognize how their thoughts are contributing to their distress, and through cognitive and behavioral approaches, are challenged to apply coping skills in situations where they are exposed to stress.

Cognitive Therapy​

Patients become able to notice their thoughts and how these thoughts affect their feelings and ultimately their behavior. Therapists will help their patients recognize that challenging their thoughts and using coping skills to tolerate them and change how they feel about whatever is causing them stress.

Humanistic Therapy​

Patients work toward self-actualization involving helping them find meaning and make choices that are in their best self-interest in combination with support and consideration/respect for others to help them achieve their goals.

Integrative or Holistic Therapy​

Therapists work with different approaches depending on patient need and their personal expertise and training.

Which Online Therapy Service Should I Choose?

When reading our reviews of the best online therapy services, it’s important to understand that these rankings are very general and thus may not address the features most important to you. As we’ve noted above, outcomes and people’s needs vary. Every online therapy service has its own set of features and approach to counseling, and some may be more relevant to you than others. In addition, most providers cater to either the broader population or to specific segments that have different needs.
Therapy in General
General
Issues such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar, grief, etc.
icons of lgbtq flag
LGBTQIA+
Therapy catered towards the queer community & gender issues.
icon of different religious symbols
Religion
Religion is a major part of many people’s lives.
icon of a relationship
Relationships
Help heal your interpersonal relationships.

Conclusions on Online Counseling

Online therapy provides a wealth of benefits, including convenience, privacy, and affordability, to name a few. It’s therefore no surprise to see millions of people transitioning from in-office to online sessions. If you’re looking to make the switch to online therapy from in-office appointments, make sure your needs are clearly defined so you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

Having a trusted relationship with a mental health professional gives you a place to vent and express your innermost thoughts and struggles. You could be struggling with mental health conditions, relationship problems, trauma, or a myriad of other challenges. A professional can help you arrive at the answers on how to cope with your life. It can be so hard to deal with the stress of life without support, and even when we do have the support of our loved ones, we can feel misunderstood and alone.

Online therapy has provided an easy and cost-effective way for people to give therapy a try and see if it works for them. No matter which way you get in the therapy door, whether physically or virtually, it is a great option to try when you are looking for a little support and guidance on how to navigate life’s greatest challenges.

The information presented here has been complied by our editorial team, and although we make every effort to keep it up-to-date, misrepresentations and inaccuracies in the data are possible. We recommend that you contact the providers listed below directly, to verify any information that may be of interest to you. Some of the providers listed pay referral fees to this website and even provide us with additional access to their platforms, which may at times impact the order and manner in which they are presented. We take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information listed below; though we do update it regularly. This information is subject to change at any time.