The 9 Best Online Therapy Services of 2022

Img of Dr McHugh
Updated on August 4, 2022

We may receive referral fees from providers listed below. See our full disclaimer.

While some people are still skeptical about the prospect of receiving therapy online, the benefits are really hard to ignore. The convenience of engaging in remote sessions, the cost savings, and the ability to freely text with your therapist are excellent motivators for giving it a try. In addition, the widespread acceptance of teletherapy by the psychology profession has made online therapy even more appealing.

To help you decide which of the providers is right for you, we we set out to research and compare the leading platforms. We reviewed their technical features, reputations, prices and packages, and of course, the qualifications and credentials of their therapists. Below are the findings of our analysis.

2022 ’s Best Online Therapy Services Compared

Calmerry

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Best Overall Provider
Price:
$42 to $90 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Unlimited communication with your therapist
  • Flexible introductory plans
  • Quick access to a mental health professional
  • Most responsive therapists and support staff
  • Highly qualified professional therapists
  • Switch therapists at any time
  • 30% off your 1st month with code: Ecounseling
Cons
  • Therapists cannot prescribe medication

Calmerry is a user-friendly therapy platform with experienced therapists that we found to be professional, responsive and very eager to help. They provide an overall excellent therapy service that’s a pleasure to use.

Unlike every other provider we’ve tested, Calmerry allows you to sign up and get a feel for what you can expect from their platform before committing to a monthly subscription. They do this through their introductory weekly package which costs $64.99 for the week. This plan lets you try out a live video-based session with a therapist, engage chat therapy with them for additional support and enjoy access to their “Reflection helper,” a guided journaling tool you can choose to share with your therapist or keep all to yourself.

It should be noted that signing up for this option is not possible through the regular signup page. You’ll need to engage in the live chat support on the website and ask them for it.

The Calmerry mobile app has all the features you need to continue your therapy wherever you may be. This gives you the flexibility to communicate by chat, or even schedule a live session during breaks at work, while sitting in the car, or when waiting in line at the store.

As with all online therapy providers, your experience is highly dependent on the knowledge and experience of your therapist, how responsive they are to your chat messages and how well your personalities connect.

To that end, Calmerry requires all of its therapists to be trained clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, or licensed professional counselors. They all have a master’s or doctorate degree in their field. In addition, they have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board after completing the required education, exams and practice. The platform also requires its therapists to regularly check-in with users to maximize the engagement and make sure they continue with ongoing dialogue.

When it comes to pricing, Calmerry offers three affordable plans from which to choose. They are billed monthly and designed to accommodate a range of budgets:

Messaging: The cost is $41.99 per week for the 1st month (billed monthly as $167.96), and $56.99 per week after that (billed monthly as $227.96). This includes unlimited therapy via text messaging with a licensed therapist, as well as access to the reflection tools.

Messaging + 1 Live Video: The cost is $51.99 per week for the 1st month (billed monthly as $207.96), and $74.49 per week after that (billed monthly as $297.96). This includes unlimited text messaging and one 30-minute live video session each month with your therapist, as well as access to the reflection tools.

Messaging + 4 Live Video: The cost is $67.49 per week for the 1st month (billed monthly as $269.96), and $89.99 per week after that (billed monthly as $359.96). This includes unlimited text messaging and four 30-minute live video sessions each month with your therapist, as well as access to the reflection tools.

Calmerry’s therapists are trained to provide counseling using a variety of therapy types. The platform is stated to treat patients with mental health concerns and conditions including, but not limited to: depression, anxiety, stress, childhood abuse, chronic illness, easting disorders, emotional abuse, family conflict, grief, trauma, sexuality issues, PTSD, OCD, relationship conflicts, and low self-esteem.

Whether you are new to therapy, or have engaged in counseling in the past, Calmerry is a great choice for finding help.

Read our full Calmerry review.

Talkspace

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Most Reputable Provider
Price:
$69 to $129 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Unlimited counseling with a professional therapist
  • Confidential and anonymous
  • High professional standards for therapists
  • Allows you to start receiving therapy quickly
  • Convenient and easy-to-use mobile app
  • Save $100 with Code: SPACE
Cons
  • Response time depends on the individual therapist

Talkspace is among the most popular and well-recognized online therapy services, reportedly having served over a million users on its platform. They provide their customers with access to live, one-on-one, therapy sessions via video conferencing. They also enable users to conduct an ongoing dialogue with their therapist via text messaging, available through their website and mobile app.

As with every online counseling provider, the quality of the treatment is subject to the expertise and experience of the therapists and their ability to make meaningful connections with their clients. In order to maximize the efficacy of their service, Talkspace has set the among highest of standards when hiring therapists, requiring a staggering 3,000 hours of clinical experience in order to be accepted to their platform.

In addition to the live sessions and communication that takes place in the secured virtual therapy room, a Talkspace subscription comes with access to their therapy exercises section and online symptom tracker. These tools can be useful with helping you practice what you’ve learned in your sessions and monitoring your mental health over time.

Talkspace offers several mental health services, including individual talk therapy, couples counseling, teen counseling and psychiatric medication management.

Their online therapy packages are priced as follows:

Messaging Therapy: This includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging, and costs $69 per week, billed monthly as $276.

Live Therapy: This plan includes one live 45-minute session per week, and costs $99 per week, billed monthly as $396.

Live + Messaging Therapy: This plan includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging, plus four live 45-minute sessions per month. The price is $129 per week, billed monthly as $516.

Couples Therapy + 4 Live Sessions: This plan includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging for both partners, plus four live 45-minute couples therapy sessions per month. The price is $109 per week, billed monthly as $436.

Talkspace employs a large network of therapists that are able to treat a wide range of mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, eating disorders, relationship issues, trauma, grief, anger issues, substance abuse, family conflict, sexuality issues, mood disorders, and more.

Read our full Talkspace review.

Brightside

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Most User-Friendly
Price:
$75 per week
Mobile Apps:
N/A
Session Types:
Video and Messaging
Pros
  • Unlimited communication with your therapist
  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Accepts insurance
  • Outstanding ease-of-use
  • Access to Psychiatrists
  • Offers prescription medication services
Cons
  • No mobile app

Brightside is unique in that it combines many of the best features and aspects offered by the other providers, and at highly competitive prices.

First, they offer professional online therapy with licensed and experienced mental health professionals. They also offer prescription medication services for treating depression and anxiety that includes monitoring and dosage adjustments by their Psychiatric Care Team. Their platform is incredibly easy-to-use with its intuitive design, usage of Zoom for live sessions and video lessons for teaching and reinforcing skills discussed during therapy.

Outside of the live therapy sessions, you can communicate with your therapist as much as you need to via their text messaging tool. We found their therapists to be responsive and incredibly helpful during live sessions and when messaging.

As with most therapy programs, much of the real progress takes place in between sessions, with the client working on themselves, spending time on self-analysis and introspection and applying their new skills and thought patterns.

Brightside facilitates this process with insightful videos about negative behaviors, managing emotions and more, that you can watch and discuss with your therapist as part of the program.

They also equip you with a symptom tracker which helps monitor your progress and provides your therapist with valuable feedback that they can use to make your sessions more productive.

Brightside offers three distinct packages:

Therapy Only: This plans costs $75 per week, billed monthly at $299. It includes one weekly 30-minute therapy session via Zoom, plus unlimited messaging with your therapist. Although the sessions are slotted for 30 minutes, from our assessment, the therapists are generous with their time and do not cut you off in the middle when the allotted time has passed. Additional sessions can be booked at a cost of $59 each.

Medication Only: They offer psychiatric prescription services for $95 per month. In addition, clients will have to pay an insurance copay or a flat $15 fee for the medication.

Medication + Therapy: This plan includes all of the services provided by the Therapy and Medication packages, at a discounted rate of $87.35 per week, billed monthly at $349.

Mental health issues treated by Brightside therapists include anxiety, depression, phobias, OCD, PTSD and more.

Read our full Brightside review.

Online-Therapy.com

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Best for CBT
Price:
$50 to $110 per week
Mobile Apps:
N/A
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Unlimited communication with your therapist
  • Therapy sessions via video, voice and live chat
  • All counselors trained in CBT therapy
  • Therapist-guided worksheets
  • Special discount of 20% off the first month
Cons
  • No mobile app

Online-Therapy.com is a fast-growing platform that specializes in providing cognitive behavioral therapy online. Their therapists guide users through worksheets and interactive online books via live chat and messaging. In addition, they provide a complete toolbox of resources to empower users to take charge of their mental health.

Most notably, their flexible plans provide up to 8 live therapy sessions per month via video, voice or text chat. Each plan includes unlimited messaging with your therapist, as well as access to worksheets, yoga and meditation videos, a digital journal, an activity plan, and tests. Also included are daily therapist worksheet replies from Monday to Friday.

The plans vary in price depending on how many live sessions you need.

Basic Plan: The cost is $50 per week, billed monthly as $200. This plan includes all their interactive features and therapy resources, as well as therapy via chat. However, no live sessions are included in this package. This might be perfectly sufficient for users that just need some guided support, or those that want to test out the platform before upgrading to a plan with live sessions.

Standard Plan: The cost is $80 per week, billed monthly as $320, and includes one live 45-minute therapy session via video, voice or text per week in addition to all the other features.

Premium Plan: The cost is $110 per week, billed monthly as $440, and includes two live 45-minute therapy sessions via video, voice or text per week in addition to all the other features.

Couples Therapy Plan: The cost $110 per week, billed monthly. This includes unlimited messaging with a therapist for the couple, one weekly 45-minute couples therapy session via video, voice or text, as well as access to all the other features.

This service is more affordable than many of the other providers, though it does not come at the expense of providing their clients with access to live therapy sessions, making it a great option for those on a tight budget.

Online-Therapy.com treats people that may be struggling with anxiety, depression, family issues, OCD, PTSD, relationship issues, phobias, grief, trauma, sexuality issues, personality disorders, and much more.

Their entire approach is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, a very popular therapy modality which focuses on changing how our minds perceive the world around us in order to change our thoughts, moods and ultimately our behaviors.

Read our full Online-Therapy.com review.

BetterHelp

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Largest Pool of Therapists
Price:
$80 to $90 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Unlimited communication with your therapist
  • Convenient and easy-to-use mobile app
Cons
  • Response time depends on the individual therapist
  • Not covered by insurance

BetterHelp is among the largest, and certainly most recognized online therapy services in the world. Their platform connects users worldwide with professional therapy via video, phone, chat and messaging tools.

While they are not the least expensive provider, they do offer financial assistance for those that qualify.

As a silicon-valley based company with a more technical orientation, BetterHelp employs the most up-to-date technologies in optimizing their security and usability features.

It should be noted, that while most other platforms offer counseling for a variety of treatment needs, BetterHelp segments their treatment types into different brands within their portfolio. For example, they offer counseling to adolescents via their Teen Counseling brand, and therapy for LGBTQ+ clients via Pride Counseling. As users navigate BetterHelp, they are often directed to one of these other brands that have been designed to address the specific needs of that group.

While they have received considerable media coverage, including celebrity endorsements, it has not all been positive. There has been some controversy surrounding their marketing and data tracking practices, though they have mostly managed to clear their reputation.

BetterHelp boasts many of the same therapy features offered by the other leading brands: video sessions, ongoing conversations with a therapist via messaging, online journaling, digital worksheets and interactive group sessions. What makes them stand-out however, is their enormous pool of therapists which currently stands at over 25,000. Even though they use an algorithm to match you to a therapist, you are presumably more likely to find one that’s a good fit.

What they do seem to lack, however, is prescription medication services and the ability to accept insurance. These are options that are being offered by more and more of their competitors.

When it comes to pricing, their subscription generally costs approximately $80 to $90 per month, billed monthly as $320 to $360. This includes 4 live therapy sessions per month that last 30 to 45 minutes each, as well as unlimited messaging with your therapist and access to all their tools.

Their exact pricing is hard to outline because it changes so often. Sometimes they offer up to 3 types of packages from which to choose, while other times they offer one fixed package. In our testing, we have also seen that the prices fluctuate depending on your location and when you sign up. So, while you should not expect to pay more than $90 per week, there is a small chance the price will exceed $100.

BetterHelp has therapists that can help people deal with a wide range of issues including stress, anxiety, relationship struggles, family conflicts, depression, addiction, eating disorders, trauma, anger, LGBTQ+ matters, grief, low self-esteem, and more.

Read our full BetterHelp review.

ReGain Counseling

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Best for Couples
Price:
$60 to $90 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Specializes in relationship counseling
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Allows couples more flexibility in scheduling sessions
Cons
  • Three-way phone and video sessions not supported
  • Partners can see each other’s messages to the therapist

Regain is a unique online counseling service in that it focuses solely on couples 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.

Regain is owned by the Teladoc subsidiary BetterHelp. While couples therapy is meant to help bring couples together, the sessions themselves do not have to take place with both partners present. Individuals may attend the live sessions on their own to work through their relationship issues if their partner is unable or unwilling to attend.

The cost of signing up with Regain is between $60 and $90 per week, billed monthly as $240 to $360. The price fluctuates within this range quite often. Although insurance is not accepted, they do provide financial aid to those that qualify.

A subscription to Regain includes weekly live therapy sessions via video, chat, or audio calls that last 30 to 45 minutes. The partners must be at the same location in order in join the call together, as the platform does not support multiple devices signing in at once. This seems like a rather important feature for them to have left out, as it makes attending online therapy sessions much less convenient, in particular for couples that are separated.

In addition to live sessions, both partners can communicate with their therapists as much as they want via a message board. However, it should be noted that this board is open to both partners. Meaning, you cannot communicate confidentially with you therapist without your partner seeing everything you write.

The only way to have private 1-on-1 time with your therapist is to use up one of your live sessions and ask your partner not to attend.

The platform was designed to help couples deal with all types of relationship issues. Therefore, when their algorithm matches you up with a therapist, you can rest assured that one of the matching criteria used relates to the particular issue you described in the in-take process.

Read our full ReGain Counseling review.

Teen Counseling

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Best for Teens
Price:
$60 to $90 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros
  • Specializes in counseling teenagers
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Parents communicate with their child’s therapist independently
  • Unlimited messaging with the therapist
Cons
  • Therapists cannot prescribe medication

Teencounseling.com is a therapy platform that specifically caters to teenagers 13-19 years of age. As a subsidiary of BetterHelp, a Teladoc company, users that sign up to Teencounseling.com have access to the same tools and communication features as are available on BetterHelp. The main difference is the pool of approximately 13,000 therapists on this platform that have experience or training in deal with teens.

As with in-person teen counseling sessions, the online therapists on Teencounseling.com must report concerns of self-harm or neglect with either parents or other appropriate authorities. Otherwise, the communication that takes place is secure and confidential.

The pricing on Teencounseling.com ranges from $60 to $90 per week, billed monthly as $240 to $360. The costs vary within this range based on the location of the user and whatever special promotions the company may be running at the time.

This fee includes a weekly live virtual therapy session via video, chat or audio call, as well as unlimited messaging communication with the therapist.

Teencounseling.com was designed to help teens struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, bullying, eating disorders, relationship conflicts and more. Parents who think their teens may be more open to engaging in therapy online due to the convenience and accessibility of it, may find Teencounseling.com to be an excellent solution.

Read our full Teen Counseling review.

Pride Counseling

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Best for LGBTQIA+
Price:
$60 to $90 per week
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Phone, Messaging
Pros
  • Specializes in serving the LGBTQIA+ community
  • All therapists are licensed and experienced
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
Cons
  • Response time depends on the therapist
  • Therapists matched automatically by matching system

Pride Counseling is yet another brand owned by BetterHelp, with features and pricing that are nearly identical to those of the parent company.

The platform matches people in the LGBTQIA+ community with licensed online therapists who can help them cope with many types of mental health issues, whether they are more common conditions such as depressions and anxiety, or challenges specifically relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

On Pride Counseling, members can communicate one-on-one with a therapist via phone, video, or the platform’s secure messaging system. The platform has its own app in addition to the website where users can log on and receive therapy from counselors that have experience with the LGBTQIA+ community.

A subscription to Pride Counseling costs $60 to $90 per week, billed monthly as $240 to $360. The prices fluctuate depending on the location of the user and the promotional offers the company may be offering at the given time. At the moment, they do not accept insurance, though they do offer discounts to users that qualify for financial aid.

A subscription includes one weekly live therapy session via video, audio call or chat messaging, which typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes. In addition, subscribers enjoy an ongoing dialogue with their therapist via the private message board. All these tools can be accessed via the Pride Counseling website and app.

Upon signing up, customers are matched with therapist using the platform’s automated matching algorithm. While some may see this as a drawback and prefer to select their therapist o their own, it should be noted that Pride Counseling allows you to switch therapists at any time.

Read our full Pride Counseling review.

Amwell

Editor’s Rating
Highlights
Great Video Therapy Platform
Price:
$109 to $129 per session
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Phone
Pros
  • Easy-to-use video platform
  • Accepts insurance
  • Quick signup
Cons
  • Few therapists to choose from
  • No unlimited therapy packages offered
  • No chat messaging with therapists

Amwell is a telehealth platform that connect patients with medical professionals, including therapists.  They offer counseling available via their website and mobile app at a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-office visits.

While therapy is not their primary focus, one thing that does make them stand out is that they also offer sessions with psychiatrists.

They do not offer chat messaging with your therapist, which is a feature offered by most of the other providers. However, if messaging is not something you’d be using anyway, and if you are covered for Amwell by you insurance company, then they are definitely worth checking out.

 

Read our full Amwell review.

Side-by-Side Feature Comparison

Company Price Insurance Accepted Session Types Mobile Apps Website
Calmerry $42 to $90/week No Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging iOS, Android calmerry.com
Talkspace $69 to $129/week Yes Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging iOS, Android talkspace.com
Brightside $75/week Yes Video and Messaging N/A brightside.com
Online-Therapy.com $50 to $110/week No Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging N/A online-therapy.com
BetterHelp $80 to $90/week No Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging iOS, Android betterhelp.com
ReGain Counseling $60 to $90/week No Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging iOS, Android regain.com
Teen Counseling $60 to $90/week No Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging iOS, Android teencounseling.com
Pride Counseling $60 to $90/week No Video, Chat, Phone, Messaging iOS, Android pridecounseling.com
Amwell $109 to $129/session Yes Video, Phone iOS, Android amwell.com

What is Online Therapy?

Online therapy, commonly referred to as teletherapy, online counseling, or virtual therapy, has evolved over time to mean different things. Whereas all forms of therapy conducted over the internet were once considered online therapy, the term currently refers specifically to psychotherapy treatment conducted by mental health professionals via the web or a mobile app.

The mediums through which treatment is delivered include video conferencing, live chat, private message boards, text messaging, phone calls, and audio messages. The treatments themselves involve the same techniques and therapy modalities one might encounter with an in-person therapist.​

How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?

The factor that determines the cost of online therapy, more than anything else, is how much of the therapist’s time and attention you receive through a given provider. Some services provide hour-long sessions that cost approximately $100 per session. Others allow you to communicate with your therapist only through text messaging, and therefore may cost as little as $40 per week.

That places the price range of a subscription to a therapy platform at anywhere from $160 to $400 per month, subject to how many live therapy sessions you schedule each month, and how many months you can pay for in advance.

Is Online Therapy Effective?

Scientific studies, as well chatter among mental health professionals, seem to indicate that, overall, counseling sessions delivered via online platforms are, in fact, effective. While, as with everything in life, there are some drawbacks, they seem to be overshadowed by the benefits.[1]

What are the Main Benefits of Online Counseling​?

There are several reasons the top online therapy platforms have succeeded in attracting millions of users. Below are some of the more notable benefits reported by users and highlighted by the providers themselves.

  • Saves Time: The time spent commuting back and forth, on top of a session that typically lasts close to an hour, is a big time commitment for many people. Parents, as well those working full-time often find it difficult to consistently attend weekly sessions with a therapist. Online counseling sessions, however, do not require any time for commuting. In fact, sessions can take place during blocks of ‘downtime’ in the weekly schedules of even the busiest people. Since all one needs is a mobile device or computer with an Internet connection, the sessions can take place during a lunch break, while waiting in the car during a child’s soccer practice, or practically anytime during an available time slot that matches up with your therapist’s schedule.

  • Saves Money: In-person therapy sessions can cost anywhere from $75 to $300. This range reflects the location and level of education and experience of the therapist. Some online counseling services provide users with discounted introductory pricing, as well as discounts when committing to long-term subscriptions, starting with subscriptions as low as $40 per week. Some providers even work with major insurance companies, which further reduces your costs.

  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Engaging in online counseling provides users with a similar level of privacy and confidentiality to what they would receive with an in-person therapist. Therapists on the platforms are bound by strict local and federal laws. The counseling sessions, as well as all communication with the online therapists, are protected by HIPAA. The chat sessions on the major therapist platforms, especially those listed above, are secured by encrypted connections. When signing up, users can use an alias and any email account, adding an element of anonymity not available with in-person therapists.

  • Access to More Therapists: In some areas, the availability of local mental health professionals is extremely limited. Those that need therapists who specialize in treating specific conditions or using therapy modalities that they prefer have an even harder time finding help locally. With online counseling, location is less of a limiting factor. Therapists can work with clients that reside in any location in which they are licensed. Many therapists are licensed to work in multiple states, thereby dramatically increasing the number of potential clients they can help. This opens up a world of additional options to those living in smaller towns who may have a smaller pool of providers.

  • Many Options for Communication: Some people are able to communicate well verbally, face-to-face with their therapists, even when discussing the most sensitive of subjects. There are those, however, that have an easier time expressing themselves in writing or over the phone. This may be because it gives them more time to think through what they want to say or because it allows them to avoid having to process and express the physical mannerisms inherent in face-to-face communication. This is an area in which teletherapy really excels as text, phone, audio, and message boards are available through most online therapy providers.

Which Diagnoses Can be Treated Through Online Therapy?​

While most people think of online therapy as primarily equipped to help those struggling with anxiety and depression, this is far from the truth. A variety of conditions and symptoms can be helped through online sessions. Most of the therapy platforms we reviewed and listed here treat these diagnoses:

  • Mood Disorders: These disorders usually have symptoms involving mood fluctuation, including periods of depression, mania, lack of sleep, risk-taking behaviors, and lack of impulse control.[2]

  • 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. Though not all providers have professionals on their platforms who can treat these types of disorders, some platforms, such as Talkspace and Amwell, do have online therapists with the necessary credentials and experience.[3]

  • 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 that are effective in helping a patient reach sobriety. While therapy should be only one aspect of the treatment plan, it can be provided online with experienced counselors available on many of the leading platforms.[4]

Which Therapy Modalities Are Practiced via Therapy Platforms?

These are some of the main theories that influence the therapy modalities commonly used in online sessions:

  • 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.

understanding reviews of online therapy

What Are the Different Types of Online Therapy Providers?

Providers of online therapy can be classified by how they provide therapy. Most providers fall under one of two categories; those offering unlimited access to therapists and those that are purely session-based.

Providers offering unlimited access allow their users various forms of digital communication with their therapists. This may include phone, text, live chat, message boards, video messages, and audio messages. In addition, they may also offer live therapy sessions via video. Although the therapists might respond only a few hours, and sometimes a couple of days, after the messages have been sent, there is still an ongoing dialogue that allows clients to communicate exactly how they feel in real-time. The therapists then respond and provide support, often referencing previous live sessions or messages.

Those platforms that are more session-based typically do not offer additional ways to communicate with the therapists outside of the actual sessions which are typically conducted via video conferencing software. The sessions themselves can last 45 minutes to an hour, as compared with the 30-45 minute sessions that normally place through platforms offering unlimited access. However, the cost of a weekly session normally costs around $100, considerably more than the $50 to $65 charged by those offering unlimited access.

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Online Therapy Service

  • One Therapist Does Not Represent the Entire Industry: When you sign up for online therapy, the platform will match with a therapist based on several parameters. This matching process is not always perfect. Sometimes, two people are simply incompatible for many reasons. Sometimes, they do get along, but the therapy does not appear to be working. When either of these scenarios happens, it’s important to remember that no one therapist represents the entirety of online therapy, and certainly of psychotherapy treatment as a whole.

    People switch medical professionals all the time, and if you are unhappy with your therapist, you should do the same. Most online therapy platforms allow you to easily switch therapists at any time. If your frustration is as much with the platform itself as it is with your therapist, you can choose a different provider that will meet your needs.

  • Canceling is Easy: If you try out online therapy and come to the conclusion that it’s not for you, canceling your account is easy, and does not involve having an awkward conversation with your therapist the same way it would if you were seeing someone in-person. So, you should not worry about making the wrong decision, as it can be undone with minimal effort. However, keep in mind that receiving a refund for the unused time left in your package may prove to be a frustrating experience.

  • Decide Which Methods of Communication You Prefer: For some, the thought of texting with their therapist might seem a bit too informal. They prefer to have heavy, personal conversations with therapists they can see via video sessions. Others, however, really appreciate the ability to communicate with their online therapist the same way they communicate with nearly everyone else in their lives, via text messaging. There is certainly an age component that might impact which of these methods you prefer, but regardless, you should be prepared to decide which option you need before you sign up so that you choose the right provider and the right package for your needs.

  • Online Therapy Reviews Can Help You Decide: 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 treatment, our selection of the best online therapy providers was impacted by feedback shared with us by users of this site, as well as reviews and independent research by our editorial team.

Summary

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. However, regardless of whether it’s virtually or in-person, the important thing is that if you feel that you need help, you make it a priority to speak with a mental health professional.

online counseling provides many benefits

References
  1. Andrews, G., Basu, A., Cuijpers, P., Craske, M., McEvoy, P., English, C., & Newby, J. (2018). Computer therapy for the anxiety and depression disorders is effective, acceptable and practical health care: An updated meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 55, 70–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.01.001
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 29). Mood disorders — Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mood-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20365057
  3. The U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Psychotic Disorders. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/psychoticdisorders.html
  4. Ho, C., & Severn, M. (2018). e-Therapy Interventions for the Treatments of Substance Use Disorders and Other Addictions: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness. Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.