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Therapy Apps

The Best Therapy Apps of 2020

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Few services have been able to transition from physical to digital versions as successfully as therapy. This may sound surprising, but it shouldn’t. Counseling is about communicating personal matters with a professional in an environment that’s free of distractions. Since mobile devices are essentially multimedia communication devices, there’s no reason they cannot supplement, and sometimes completely replace, in-office counseling. Therapy apps provide a platform for users to get matched with therapists and receive counseling via video, chat and audio features, without having to travel to meet in person. They also cost significantly less than in-office therapy. We researched the leading therapy apps and evaluated them based on their features, pricing, therapy options and the overall value they provide.

We may receive referral fees from providers listed on this website. See our full​ disclaimer.

Best Overall
Best For Couples Counseling
Most Downloads
Best for LGBTQ
Show All
Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Largest pool of professional therapists
  • 500,000+ Android installs
  • App Store User Rating: 4.6
  • Google Play Store User Rating: 4.4
  • App Size: 42.3 MB on iOS/ 20 MB on Android

BetterHelp is among the leading digital counseling platforms in the world, with thousands of therapists available to connect and engage in video, phone and chat-based sessions. With the BetterHelp therapy app, you have access to thousands of licensed professionals that they screen based on experience and educational background.

During the signup process, their matching system pairs users with therapists specializing in the areas most relevant for their individual needs. BetterHelp also offers competitive pricing and financial assistance for those that qualify.

Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • All therapists specialize in relationship counseling
  • 10,000+ Android installs
  • App Store User Rating: 4.7
  • Google Play Store User Rating: 4.7
  • App Size: 42.3 MB on iOS/ 20 MB on Android

Regain provides a therapy app that enables couples to receive therapy via live chat, video and phone sessions. The therapists on their platform are licensed and experienced in providing couples therapy, whether that comes in form of a live session with the couple, or just a one-on-one session with one of the partners to discuss their relationship. The convenience of having remote sessions makes it easier for couples to find time at home to coordinate their schedules and attend therapy consistently.

Avg Price
$65 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video
  • Specializes in serving the LGBTQ community
  • 10,000+ Android installs
  • App Store User Rating: 4.6
  • Google Play Store User Rating: 4.3
  • App Size: 42.3 MB on iOS/ 20 MB on Android

Pride Counseling matches people in the LGBTQ community with licensed therapists that can help them with their most pertinent mental health challenges. With this therapy app, users can communicate one-on-one with a dedicated therapist via phone, video, chat or the platform’s secure messaging system. The therapists on this platform are licensed professionals that have the educational background and experience to help members of the LGBTQ community with the unique challenges they face.

Avg Price
$99 per 
week
Mobile App
iOS, Android
Communication
Messaging, Phone, Video
  • All therapists are licensed and background-checked
  • 100,000+ Android installs
  • App Store User Rating: 4.2
  • Google Play Store User Rating: 3.0
  • App Size: 196 MB on iOS/ 60 MB on Android

Talkspace provides an intuitive and use-to-use therapy app that connects users with thousands of therapists on their platform. Their therapist specialize in a diverse array of treatments, allowing them to serve a broad audience of customers. Their users enjoy the ability to choose from multiple communication options when connecting with their therapists, all of whom are licensed professionals.

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

How Effective are Therapy Apps?

Therapy as a whole can be very effective, but is very much dependent on how much work you put into it. Making the most of therapy requires the willingness to open up during sessions, reflecting on what was discussed after they are over, and allowing them to impact your perspective and behaviors.

When it comes to therapy apps specifically, the same set of guidelines apply. If taken seriously, therapy sessions conducted via mobile apps have been found to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. This isn’t surprising given that the majority of therapy apps, and certainly most of those listed above, provide their users with access to licensed, professional counselors and multiple communication features that enable them to experience sessions in much of the same way as if they were in-person. In addition, the ability to attend these sessions from home reduces the need to cancel them when there are scheduling conflicts, making it easier to maintain the consistency required for therapy to be truly successful.

For starters, not everyone necessarily needs therapy to begin with, though they may still benefit from it. But tens of millions of people in the US alone do need therapy to deal with mental health issues. While therapy apps are more affordable and convenient then in-office therapy, there are conditions and individuals that require the more traditional option.

Substance abuse – While there’s much to gain from supplementing in-person programs with online therapy, treatment of substance abuse, and narcotics in particular, should really be conducted in person by an addiction counselor. The need for proactive follow-up by counselor, as well the ability to observe physical signs of substance abuse really require face time.

Eating Disorders – Similar to substance abuse, the stakes with eating disorders are simply too high for therapy apps to be the sole method treatment.

Serious psychiatric illnesses and those that require prescription medication – The therapists participating in therapy apps typically do not have the legally required credentials to prescribe medications.

The “technologically inept” – While most of these apps have been designed to be user friendly and easy to navigate, they do necessitate the ability to operate an app with audio and video features. Basically, those that struggle to use Skype or Google Hangout on their mobile devices will probably also struggle with most therapy apps.

Though some of the therapy apps we tested we more user friendly than others, they were all straightforward and easy to use. The various apps differ in terms of the communication features they provide, with some of them, such as BetterHelp, offering all possible options (chat, text, voice, or video calls). The communication features offered by the various providers include any or all of the following:

 Video Therapy  These sessions best mimic the experience of sitting face-to-face with a therapist in their office. They operate much the same way a video call would via FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype of Google Hangouts. Not all therapy apps offer this feature, though the ones that made the top our list certainly do.

Voice/Phone Therapy – Some apps include the ability to have audio sessions over the Internet using VoIP (Voice Over IP) technology. These types of sessions can be great for when users want to attend live sessions without having to get dressed.

 Chat Therapy – These types of sessions take place over live chat. There are times when users prefer to communicate without the audio and visual cues inherent in phone and video sessions. They can also take the pressure off of having to come up with immediate responses as with other forms of live sessions, as “dead air” over chat tends to be less awkward.

 Text Therapy – Most therapy apps provide virtual chat rooms in which you communicate with your counselor by leaving private messages whenever you need to, and they respond when they are available.  These rooms function like an ongoing conversation that users can engage in-between their live lessons. You can read previous messages as well as attached files sent by the therapists.

Before choosing which therapy app to download, you need to decide what exactly you expect to gain from the app. For example, if you’re generally happy but need professional help working through some issues, your needs will be different than if you’re trying to cope with depression or PTSD. Also, if this is the only step you are taking to better your mental health, your needs may be different than if, for example, you also have in-person visits with another therapist, regularly practice meditation or generally incorporate reflection and self-care to your day-to-day life. Once you assess your personal situation, you can come to an understanding of what exactly you are trying to achieve by using a therapy app.

Your goals from use of the app should determine the specific features or attributes you’ll need. For example, if you plan to use the app for dealing with depression, you should probably consider an app with video capabilities, such as Talkspace, since your sessions will likely be intense and will really benefit from you and your therapist being able to see each other’s faces. If what you need is Christian spiritual guidance incorporated into your sessions, then you’d be best served by signing up for Faithful Counseling where you are most likely to connect with a Christian therapist.

There are also some other specific attributes you should consider before selecting an app. These attributes are detailed for each therapy app in our reviews.

Usability – Some therapy apps are easier to use than others. If you’re a tech savvy user, you should not expect to run into issues with any of the apps listed above. If however, you’re a little behind the curve in this area, you may want to stick with one of the providers that’s exceptionally user friendly, like BetteHelp.

 Pricing – You can expect a subscription to a therapy app to cost approximately $50-$100 per week. While some claim to be free, after downloading them you will quickly discover that they actually cost money once their free trial expires, or that they do not provide therapy at, but rather access to unlicensed volunteers or digital content. While we all need to be budget conscious, it’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of one of these subscriptions is far less than in-office therapy and will do a lot more for your overall health and happiness than many of the other luxuries or non-essential expenses to which you treat yourself.

Device Accessibility. Another thing to consider is the fact that not all devices support every therapy app. Depending on whether you’re using an iPhone, an Android, or some another mobile device type, you should double check to see if the app that you’re interested in is supported by the mobile device that you’re using. The good news though, is that the apps listed above all work with the major operating systems.

It’s no easy feat to review, catalogue and rate the different leading apps. We invested hundreds of hours of research into this process and continuously update our data.

In evaluating each app, we gave more weight to some factors than others based on our understanding of both mental health and technology. Usability was a major factor for us, as was privacy. Pricing is also all taken into consideration, however being that the providers price their apps very similarly, it does not have much impact on our ratings. The number of therapists on each platform and their credentials, as well as the screening process one must go through before being considered, is certainly a major factor for us. Communication features and usability are weighed heavily as well.

When we started our research, we understood from the outset that every person is different and requires a different approach to therapy. Nevertheless, we also understood the importance of having all this information available in one place, as it’s a great way to cross-check the general differences between various apps. It is our hope that you find this information useful and that you read through both the editor’s and customer reviews prior to choosing which app to download.

Downloading an app isn’t such a big deal. Most people have over 20 mobile apps installed on their devices. However, starting therapy is not something to take lightly. And just as you’d do some research before selecting an in-office therapist, you should take your time in deciding with therapy app provider you should join. The providers are not one and the same, and our research has repeatedly reinforced that outlook. There’s so much to gain from trying out therapy apps, as many users have repeatedly provided us with feedback about how it’s changed their lives for the better, but it’s worth investing a little time, thought and energy into selecting one that best suits your needs. 

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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.