Last Updated on October 3rd, 2018
It may come as a surprise, but 7 Cups of Tea is probably the largest e-counseling platform by far in terms of actual numbers. They claim to have helped over 25 million people since launching in 2013. So how did they become so large? How is their relatively bare bones service able to compete with today’s leading online counseling brands like BetterHelp and ReGain Counseling? Let’s take a look at why millions of people have flocked to 7 Cups of Tea for help.
How does a company in a very new industry attract so many customers in such a short time span? Simple. Like everything in life, money is a crucial factor. Thus, 7 Cups of Tea started as a 100% free platform while every other e-counseling service charged money. Having a free service to turn to is still a large benefit to countless potential customers. Most people want to evaluate its effectiveness for free, which is understandable given that this is disruptive technology in an area (therapy) that has always been an offline service. Hence the massive growth that 7 Cups of Tea experienced. Furthermore, 7 Cups of Tea is the only e-counseling service that acts as a social network of sorts. While you can speak to licensed professionals with 7 Cups of Tea, they also have a community of ‘listeners.’ These are not licensed professionals; rather, they are average Joe’s who really want to help people live better.
Signing up to 7 Cups of Tea is not as straightforward as other online therapy services. Keep in mind that you must choose what type of service you want. You can choose a free account whereby you speak to a listener or a paid account where you speak to a certified professional. Since I had tried other paid services before, the thought of getting advice from a non-licensed professional intrigued me. So I navigated to the ‘Browse Listeners’ section and chose a listener based on the user ratings this person had received. There is a ‘Chat Now’ button on the page. Once you click on that, 7 Cups of Tea takes you to a dedicated and private chat room. There was no need to sign up for an account or enter in any credit card information. I found this to be particularly beneficial, because many people (myself included) want a trial term to see how the system works and what level of support is provided. As for a paid account with a certified professional: it is similar to every other e-counseling service. You will need to answer a few questions that a 7 Cups of Tea ‘bot’ asks you. Once you have completed that short question and answer session, 7 Cups of Tea pairs you with a professional therapist. You will need to enter in your payment information prior to trying the service. This is standard in the industry. Moreover, with 7 Cups of Tea, there is a 3-day free trial on the paid service so if you don’t like it, you can simply cancel your account at any time.
As mentioned above, 7 Cups of Tea offers two types of support options – a 100% free service with a ‘listener’ or a paid service with a certified therapist. Since the paid service is very new to 7 Cups of Tea (they have been offering their service 100% free until very recently), it is very difficult for potential customers to find any information on their pricing. Go ahead – try to find any information online about 7 Cups of Tea’s price. Good news though – I have this information for you. 7 Cups of Tea charges $150 per month for unlimited chat with your therapist, which is pretty competitive. Additionally, users tend to love them specifically because of its community-based orientation.
Usability (Desktop & Mobile):
7 Cups of Tea provides for one heck of a user experience. This is quite surprising given the fact that it was originally a startup with no real funds for expansion. In the above section, I detailed how simple the free service is. The concept and usability is virtually the same with a paid account. Simply answer a few questions and you are directed to a dedicated chat room that only you and your therapist can access. If you’ve ever used an online messaging platform such as live chat, then this is nothing new for you. Even if you haven’t, the messages are laid out in a plain and simple manner. Your correspondence appears in a chat box while there is a separate box below to type your messages. The same features apply to their mobile app as well.
Counselor Support & Effectiveness:
Naturally, counselor support will vary from person to person, especially if you choose the free version (no certified professional). Moreover, unfortunately, oftentimes you are connected to listeners with no formal education and a limited knowledge of the English vocabulary. Thankfully, this was not the case with me. I browsed listeners and found ‘Lauren’ – a 20-year-old woman based in the UK. Perhaps it was luck of the draw but Lauren was currently studying psychology in the UK. Even though she wasn’t licensed, the truth is I found her to be as helpful as certified professionals on other e-counseling platforms such as BetterHelp. Forget the fact that she was insightful and had stellar communication skills; she genuinely cared about my issues and in fact made a personal connection with me. It did not feel like a therapy session; rather it felt like a conversation with a friend who was trying to help by bouncing different ideas off me. Furthermore, there was a very humanistic approach to it, as she told me about herself as well. In traditional therapy sessions, this is not the case. You don’t get to ask questions about a therapist and if you do, they often times sidestep your questions. Lauren connected with me on a personal level and this made me feel as if she cared for me like a friend. It is also important to note that because this was a free service, I knew her intentions were 100% not financially driven. This had a very big impact on my fondness for 7 Cups of Tea.
Confidentiality & Privacy:
You may hypothesize that 7 Cups of Tea security protocols are sub-standard. However, that assumption would be false. Even regarding listeners who are not licensed professionals, they are forbidden, by law and by the 7 Cups of Tea Terms of Service, to divulge any client information. More importantly, the licensed therapists working within the platform are required to stay HIPAA compliant. Additionally, both the website and dedicated chat rooms are SSL secured. And to top it off, 7 Cups of Tea does not retain any data from your correspondence with your listener or therapist.
7 Cups of Tea Counselor Qualifications:
If you have made it this far into the review, then you understand the counselor qualifications for 7 Cups of Tea. There are listeners who are essentially non-licensed life coaches and there are also certified (clinically licensed) therapists with various degrees. Though they aren’t required to show a certain amount of hands on experience prior to joining the 7 Cups of Tea network, therapists do need to show that they possess malpractice insurance. For the most part, licensed therapists who hold this type of insurance have several years of experience under their belt.
Specialties & Areas of Expertise:
Both listeners and therapists can help in virtually any area you need. Even if you are adamant about using a trained therapist, the ones within the 7 Cups of Tea network cover all areas of help. This includes:
- All Addictions
- Chronic Impulsivity
- Educational Assessments
- Life Transitions
- Social Behavior
- Substance Abuse
- Trauma & Abuse
7 Cups of Tea is certainly a unique company trying to incorporate a sense of community into the therapy industry. The ability to chat with a listener for free, as much as you’d like, in addition to a 3-day free trial for the paid service, makes 7 Cups of Tea a service certainly worthy of consideration.
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a great concept with a seemingly altruistic goal. execution is poor and opens itself to dangerous situations. no vetting of listeners. you never know what or who you're going to get matched with. unprofessional. many problems seemed to be overlooked due to contrived positivity. kinda unethical. profit is made of the backs of vulnerable members and listeners who are mostly looking for support and community. a lot of people in distress with no vetting offering support to people in distress.
One of the best e-counselling services ever. Being a listener myself, I cannot express how fortunate I am to have stumbled upon 7 cups.
This website is specifically tailored to manipulate those who are at their most vulnerable. The "therapists" do not need to provide credentials nor is there training. Therefore the person you are paying to speak to will not only NOT be a therapist, they have the capacity to be HARMFUL.
Various chats on this website have lead to me being told that I don't deserve happiness because I am not religious, that I don't deserve love from my husband because I'm not "a real woman" and various other insults that I cannot fathom.
PLEASE DO NOT GIVE THIS COMPANY YOUR MONEY
I was in a very bad shape when I lost my job. I found 7 Cups of Tea online and was immediately connected with a listener who supported me through a very stressful phase for almost 2 months. I got another job and a big reason is that listener's support in keeping me sane and going. Highly recommended!
I lost my full-time job of 16 years. I was diagnosed with cancer. My wife lost her full-time job. She was diagnosed with cancer. We are underwater in medical bills. We are in bankruptcy. Our house is in foreclosure. I signed up for 7 Cups. I needed a kind ear; maybe a shoulder to cry on. The only advice that I got was "focus on those things in your life that you can control." I misinterpreted the terms, which I feel were not explicitly laid out. After 72 hours, 7 Cups dinged my checking account for $150 that I did not have. My bank paid it and the dominos fell on follow-on payments that incurred huge overdraft fees. Focus on things that I can control? Brilliant! Now 7 Cups is making my bad situation worse. I asked for a refund and was ignored. From my chair, these people are nothing but a bunch of greedy psych hacks practising vague California garage disclipines. Caveat emptor.
I feel obligated to do this review. I think the site is a great idea. I think its a great place to connect and socialize with other people when your not doing well in life and want a ear and to relate to others. In my experience it was very useful to chat with other people struggling and knowing I wasn't alone in the chat rooms. So there I give this site a huge thumbs up. Now with that of course comes the other side. The chat site rooms becomes too personal, a lot of drama and personality conflicts. In other words it becomes a power play after a while with no real supervision other than a report form and screen shots. I honestly feel like this site is a place for people with various mental health issue to hang out and bond and many times turns into something else besides the issues. I wont go deeper but I hope you get the idea. I also feel like this site is more for teens and younger adults. I'm not a fan of points and progress and levels to mental health. I don't feel that's useful. Overall, I think its a lot of people in pain meeting. And that doesn't always turn out right. From my experience on the site there is a lot of unfairness and I don't feel like the admin really wants to correct this. The listeners are really bad and the its not their fault. The training or lack there of is concerning. People come to sites like this in many states and I think its wise to have people you call a listeners to be up to par, trained in a way to be there. I wasn't happy with admin as they just seemed to ignore suggestions and do their own thing. To be honest, it felt like high school to me and I tried my best to get along. Just a lot of people in distress in the rooms and the moderation and all that just let it go. Overall, its a decent site. I think the vision is good but the overall product when it comes down to it online has a lot to be desired.
This website/platform is a huge scam. They invite you to get 3 days free and require a cc. Ok. That is fine. If I liked it enough, I would have been happy to pay. 5 min later I get an alert about a charge to our card for $150! They do not make this clear. They are not open about this. This is scammy. They know it. This is why they have huge complaints and so many articles in response to users being upset. So, no thanks. We will see if they actually refund us. I immediately cancelled my account. Never again. And websites wonder why people are so hesitant to enter card info! This is why. They should have waited until day 4 to charge the card and they know that. They try to get out of it by saying you are charged the balance up front. Losers. This is no way to conduct business for those needed help and support. The cancellation process was easy, but let's see if they actually refund us.
I started the free trial as my past experience with therapy has been rough and I wanted to see if this was a better fit. I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't. My therapist gave mediocre responses hours if not days later. Not really good for someone with anxiety. When I cancelled my subscription I was charged the full fee and when I contacted the company they refused to give me a refund. (I remember closing it within the time of the free trial but according to them I didn't. Okay...) Not even a partial refund as they offer financial aid. Now I'm out $150 for a crappy therapist to send me an article about meditation. The company's policies skeeve me out as their goal is supposedly to help mentally ill people. Crappy interface, crappy ethics.
I found 7 Cups of Tea about seven years ago when I was going through a really tough time with relationship issues with my parents and my partner and I lost one of my best friends so I was feeling really lonely and desperately needed someone to talk to in the middle of the night when I felt the loneliest. I think I spoke to three different people, all of them free. I found all of them to be great listeners, when I needed their point of view as an outsider looking at my situation, they were always very kind and thoughtful in their responses. One of them was so helpful to talk to that I ended up donating to him (which back then was an option for free services, I'm not sure if that's changed). But I just really appreciated his help. I always based who I chose to speak to based on the person's rating. I haven't had to use the service since but I wouldn't hesitate to use the site again if I ever did need it. I was a student when I found this site and couldn't afford a local therapist... so I was really glad I found this site.
Not sure why some people criticize 7 Cups so much? I found both the free and paid services to be excellent. Yeah the free service is full of not licensed people but they can still be helpful. They were for me. Also, I feel as if people are quick to judge and give up on something. If you really want help and you know you need it, don’t just give up that easy. The 7 Cups website even tells you this when you are chatting with a listener. They basically tell you that you might not click with your first listener so don’t give up. Here is my breakdown of both services. Even if you find a really good listener on the free service, they will never be as good as a clinical psychologist. Never. This is something everyone should understand. But that doesn’t mean they can't help. It depends on what you need help with. I got to 7 Cups by hearing about them from a friend of mine who uses the free service because he is always thinking about his money situation. He doesn’t actually have a serious mental health issue like me (Dysthymia). He said that simply talking to someone for free has helped him tremendously. Seeing someone else’s point of view was great for him. For me I found it to be very nice and cordial, and the listener was trying to help as much as she could, but she just wasn’t qualified. So she recommended me to the paid service which I tried. Talking to a psychologist was very VERY helpful for me. It’s been only 3 weeks and I feel as if I have mostly overcome my Dysthymia which I have had for close to 3 years now!
very cool website and very easy to use. also found it to be private. you can basically get an idea of how the service will work by talking to someone for free – on the free service. thats what i did before upgrading to the paid plan. from a user standpoint its great. as for really helping me overcome my depression? well it didnt help so much. talking to a psychologist is hard enough, try doing that over sms.
Using 7 Cups Of Tea for me was good but a bit weird. One of my cousins uses the paid service but I was too cheap to sign up for the paid service. So I tried the free service which sucked. The listener was atrocious. But my cousin told me that if I really wanted to see results that I should stick with the paid service only. $150 per month is a lot of money for me, but there was a free trial which I tried. It was weird talking to a therapist over chat but somehow someway there was this strange feeling of comfort and satisfaction that came over me. Unfortunately my money situation isn’t great so I canceled after two days. But at least I can say that I didn’t call it quits because the service was bad. Overall it was helpful
I saw 7 Cups of Tea reviews both here and on Reviewopedia, many of which make the claim that it's a scam. THIS IS NOT A SCAM! Like, seriously. Do you not read the terms of service? And, it's not like most other sites that have long and drawn out terms. It's very clear from the beginning what you will be paying for. And anyway, cancellation is easy. I mean, I even received an email mid month from the 7 Cups of Tea team asking how things were going and if I'd like to cancel I can do so at any time!!! And though many people have a point about the 7 Cups of Tea listeners being awful, so grow a damn pair and put your money with your mouth is. Go straight for a paid subscription with an actual psychologist like I did! The only difference between 7 Cups of Tea and any other tier one online therapy service is the actual platform. But other than that, they are the same. Licensed psychologists are pretty much the same. They're all licensed and trained no matter which therapy service you use. You may click better with one psychologist over the other, and if you don't like yours, then request a change. I don't see why people are bashing 7 Cups of Tea. It's been an absolutely fantastic service for me. My psychologist is excellent.
Even if you just want someone to talk to on a semi regular basis which is what I was going for, this isn't the place. Their listeners are beyond bad. I went through at least 5 people and every single one of them made my day a whole lot worse.
After seeing many 7 cups of tea reviews about their free listeners I decided to skip that and go straight for a psychologist. Truthfully it was the best decision. Online therapy is new and perhaps a little strange/takes time to get used to but in the end it has been working for me so far. Good and responsive therapist. Billing is accurate which is not a given with many sites. I have heard horror stories about other people being charged additional fees with other therapy services. This is not the case with 7 cups of tea. It has done what I thought it would and I am sticking with it.
its been a rough few weeks for me. besides having little family and scattered all over i have no friends where i just moved to. im a single mom whos recently divorced and needed someone to talk to specifically about my financial problems. and thats how i found 7 cups. when i connected with someone they were TERRIBLE and basically said i should not have gotten married in the first place. literally...it made me worse. much worse. and to top it off this person then disconnected from our chat...which i guess was a blessing in disguise. thankfully im not quick to give up so i tried another listener (same result)...and another...and another. until i finally got to someone who honestly seemed like he cared. i dont think he was as good as a professional would have been but at least he tried. the whole 7 cups experience has been pretty awful even with the last listener putting in alot of effort.
I use the 7 Cups paid service and I was beyond pleased. Great support, great system, overall excellent. The only downside is the price. My 7 Cups therapist costs $150/month. I shouldn't complain since going to a therapist in my neighborhood costs around that per session. But when I see lower pricing from larger online therapy companies like Betterhelp and Talkspace, it makes me think about switching. I haven't done so yet b/c 7 Cups is working for me now. But perhaps I will try another service. I need help but I'm also not willing to pay an increased amount just because.
i just needed someone to talk to. i didnt feel like talking to friends or family about some of my social problems. so i started using 7 cups of tea. the bottom line? it really helped me. if you need someone to talk to online especially for free about minor things this is definitely the place to be. if you need therapy for depression or stress or anxiety and things of that nature i dont know if 7 cups of tea is the right place as i didnt use it for this.
There are two types of services 7 Cups of Tea offers: free and paid. The free service is a community of strangers that simply want to help. The paid service is therapy with a designated certified therapist. I have used both and my personal experience is that the paid service is better than the free one. First of all, finding a stranger is extremely time consuming. Then when you finally find someone, most of the time they stop communicating after 2 or 3 messages. I have found a good listener but it's very hard to come by. Also, 7 Cups of Tea offers live chat rooms which may seem like an added benefit but I felt like it was AOL circa 1995/6. It's hard to follow conversations and it's definitely hard to receive the help I needed. On the other hand, the paid service was much better. I got a designated therapist that helped as you would expect. But with that said, I should say that even though there was no comparison in regard to the paid service being better than the free, it was an interesting experience to say the least. I'm not sure I will stick with online therapy long term.
i literally had a 2 hour conversation with a listener named jennifer from the UK. 21 years old, studying psychology (no degree yet). im 38 years old so of course i laughed when i heard her age and credentials, or lack thereof. but i gotta give it to her - she not only listened but used some of her knowledge in what she had already learned in school and applied it in our session. ive never gone to a therapist before so i cant comment accurately on how much worse (or better) jennifer was than a licensed pro. but, she really helped me and honestly made me look at a few things differently. whenever i go back and feel myself regressing, i try and keep my conversation with jennifer in mind. so far it has helped. oh yeah, this was completely free so that was a huge positive for me lol. the fact that she gave so much time for free is mind boggling but hey i didnt question it!