Online therapy via text, phone and video is used by millions. Low-cost and free options for therapy.

Today millions of people receive the benefit of therapy online. There are several quality online therapy platforms, including free online therapy apps, as well as online therapy paid for by your insurance.

The best online therapy apps help individuals, couples, teens and families with anxiety, depression, addiction, mommy issues, daddy issues, trauma, grief, divorce, parenting, loneliness, career, family, parenting, mental health, relationship and dating challenges — and are low-cost, convenient, and private.

How we analyzed the best online therapy sites:

There are several important factors we used to vet the top online therapy sites to make our recommendations:

Rating and reviewsHow does this online therapy company rate with Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, and client reviews?
Ease of useIs the online therapy company's technology up-to-date with a great app, multiple modes of communication and otherwise great user experience?
Price Which sites are a) most price competitive, b) transparent in pricing, c) offer financial aid
Honesty and transparencyHow is customer service? Are there hidden fees? Is it easy to change therapists? Is canceling straight-forward?

Our #1 online therapy platform choice is BetterHelp, the most widely used online therapy apps that offers therapy via phone, text and video, for fees starting at $35/week. A+ BBB rating. 10% discount for new clients, plus financial aid for those who qualify.

Unlike other top sites like TalkSpace, which also offer quality therapy, all BetterHelp packages include one-on-one therapy — and not just ongoing messaging. Other sites require you pay extra for those sessions.

BetterHelp is also very open clear about its pricing, and makes it easy to cancel, change therapists, and otherwise manage your account. Here is one of the first emails our editor, Emma Johnson, received from BetterHelp when she first signed up for the service:

How to cancel BetterHelp, change therapists.

We like that the upcoming charge was announced well in advance, and the site proactively offered ways to change therapists, cancel and apply for financial assistance. No need to go hunting for this information — much less get a customer service runaround. This made us feel like BetterHelp truly aims to help clients, and offer quality service.

If you are considering online therapy, here are some things you should know:

Reviews of the best online therapy sites and apps

The similarities between traditional therapy and e-therapy end right here.

Because the rest of the sign-up process – the time actually spent on the platforms and in your sessions – is all designed to be as convenient and hassle-free as possible from this point on, starting with meeting your therapist, the cost structure, and changing therapists or canceling.

1. BetterHelp

One of the features that many users like about online therapy company BetterHelp is how much control you have over choosing a therapist, and how and how often you interact with your therapist.

The onboarding process allows you to choose a BetterHelp therapist's qualifications and attributes, including:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • LGBTQ
  • Teens
  • Specialists in various needs, including addiction, eating disorders, trauma, grief, sexuality, anxiety, depression, couples and relationship therapy
  • Therapy types, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Client- or Person-Centered Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, etc.
  • Experience working with various personal, family and mental health issues
  • Communication and personality style

BetterHelp's process starts with a text exchange with an online matchmaker, who will ask you about your therapy history, reasons for seeking therapy, and if there are any special considerations you'd prefer (here's where you'll want to disclose your preference for, say, a female counselor or a therapist specializing in panic disorders, etc.).

You receive a form, similar to a traditional office's intake form, to fill out and send back, and then you're paired with your “primary therapist.”

Because this is all happening in real-time, you will be matched with a therapist within 24 hours.

The timeliness of the process is an especially helpful aspect of BetterHelp — especially for busy moms, or those who struggle with anxiety or depression, or otherwise are eager to start working with a therapist.

BetterHelp members also have access to group therapy sessions for 20 specialty topics — included in your fee.

BetterHelp is less expensive than its competitors with prices starting at $35/week, and a 10% discount for new clients. Financial assistance is available.

Read Wealthy Single Mommy editor Emma Johnson's BetterHelp review, including her own personal experience with the app, or get connected with a BetterHelp therapist now and get 10% off >>

Here is her video review:

Where to find therapy

Our #1 pick for online counseling is BetterHelp, but you can read about all the top online therapy sites and apps in our post here. Your regular therapist, or a counselor near you, likely also offers online sessions.

BetterHelp: Online therapy review

BetterHelp offers a large database of more than 8,000 online therapy that it may match you with. The site states:

“We have found that we are able to provide a successful match most of the time; however, if you start the process and you feel your counselor isn't a good fit for you, you may elect to be matched to a different therapist.”

Each counselor is verified via:

  • Licensing
  • Good standing with their licensing board
  • Video review
  • 100% BetterHelp therapists have a Master's or Doctorate degree
  • Minimum 3 years and 2,000 hours of training.

“The result of this rigorous 4-5 week process is that only about 15% of the therapists who apply to work through BetterHelp are accepted to the platform,” BetterHelp's site states. 

BetterHelp worked with Berkley Well-Being Institute on a study that found BetterHelp to be as effective as face-to-face therapy.  The study found:

  • 98% of BetterHelp users made significant progress
  • 94% of BetterHelp users preferred the service over traditional, face-to-face therapy
  • 70% users reported reduced depression

Listen to Wealthy Single Mommy founder Emma Johnson interview BetterHelp therapist Haesue Jo about anxiety, depression, isolation — and how to find joy, relief and beauty — during the COVID-19 pandemic, on her Like a Mother podcast:

Does BetterHelp offer free online therapy?

BetterHelp does not offer free therapy, but does offer a 10% discount for new clients — as well as financial assistance to those who cannot otherwise afford counseling.

How much does online therapy cost with BetterHelp?

Online therapy offered through BetterHelp costs between $35 to $70 per week for unlimited messaging with your therapist, as well as weekly phone or video live therapy sessions. The cost of counseling is billed monthly, quarterly or annually.

You can cancel your BetterHelp subscription at any time, and canceling is easy and straight-forward.

Does my insurance cover online therapy with BetterHelp?

BetterHelp states that their online therapy services are not covered through insurance. However, you may receive some coverage depending on the plan you have.

Specifically, BetterHelp shares that you may have to be diagnosed by your therapist with an issue before you can expect reimbursement from your insurance company. Your therapist may also have to send proof of your disorder to your insurance company, including your copies of your medical records.

Does BetterHelp have an app for online therapy?

BetterHelp works equally on its desktop site, as well as apps for Android and iOS/Apple products. You can choose a therapist (or switch therapists), manage your account, schedule and engage in live video, phone, message or chat sessions with your therapist through BetterHelp's secure website or app. Your choice!

How to find a therapist with BetterHelp

To get started with BetterHelp, you can browse the online directory, or start by:

  1. Go to BetterHelp.com, create a profile, and fill out your preferences and needs.
  2. You will be matched with a therapist within 24 hours.
  3. Start messaging with your therapist immediately.

BetterHelp has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Start counseling with BetterHelp now >>

2. Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com's programs are based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been developed on the idea that your thoughts are what cause your feelings and behaviors, not external stimuli like people, situations and events.

Unlike other online therapy apps that are really traditional therapy, but online, Online-therapy.com is an online worksheet and video tutorial program, with therapist support and sessions offered on a tiered-basis.

Online-Therapy.com provides a complete toolbox of resources built on the success of CBT:

  • An online, self-directed, 8-module Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course
  • Worksheets — with daily feedback from your personal therapist
  • Journal
  • Live chat, video or phone sessions with your personal certified and licensed therapist
  • Action plan — where you add activities that bring meaning and joy to your life
  • Meditation videos
  • Yoga videos

Online-Therapy.com: Online therapy review

Online-Therapy.com is a dedicated online-based team of consultant therapists, cognitive behavioral therapists, practitioners and support staff that collaboratively works to help people in need of emotional support.

This online therapy company gives you full access to online therapy program designed for your specific needs with easy-to-follow information and hands-on tools, your daily journal and activity plan, including daily contact with your therapist (Monday-Friday), tests to monitor your progress and access to the forum.

Online-Therapy.com's website is easy to navigate, and with prices that start at $39.95/week.

Read the Online-Therapy.com review or get started now with a 20% off discount to Online-Therapy.com >>

Does Online-Therapy.com offer free online therapy?

No, Online-Therapy.com does not offer free online therapy, but the app does have a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Does Online-therapy.com have an app for online therapy?

Online-Therapy.com does not have an app. Instead, clients log in directly to their accounts via smartphones or tablets.

The online portal allows for text, phone or video appointments.

How much does online therapy cost with Online-Therapy.com?    

Therapy offered through Online-Therapy.com starts at just $31.96 per week when you factor in the initial 20% discount you get the first month. This monthly payment includes access to the firm’s online therapy program plus daily contact with your therapist — but no live chats or video sessions. (BetterHelp's fees are similar, but with all live phone, video, messaging or chat sessions, more like traditional therapy.)

If you want a more robust online therapy program, with more one-on-one sessions with a therapist, there are also two alternate subscription services to choose from that cost $47.96 per month or $63.96 per month.

Does my insurance cover online therapy with Online-Therapy.com?

Online-Therapy.com does not accept insurance as a form of payment, although they state “it may be a good idea to reach out to your insurance company to see if they will cover online therapy.”

If your insurance company covers online therapy sessions, you may be able to submit your bill to them for reimbursement after your sessions.

How to find a therapist with Online-Therapy.com

  1. Go to Online-Therapy.com and create an account.
  2. Start working through the video and worksheet modules.
  3. Schedule your first 30-minute chat, video or call — your choice — with the therapist assigned to you. You also have 24/7 access to the video and guided meditation and yoga videos immediately.
  4. you can ask questions and interact with your therapist, who will also give feedback to the corresponding worksheets daily Monday-Friday.

Check out Online-Therapy.com now, and 20% off, no discount code needed >>

3. Talkspace

For Talkspace users, a therapist is chosen for you by a shrink matchmaker of sorts.

Like BetterHelp, TalkSpace allows you to remain anonymous with your therapist, opting for a nickname or a random username instead.

Talkspace: Online therapy review

During an initial text exchange, a vitual matchmaker will ask you about your therapy history, reasons for seeking therapy, and if there are any special considerations you'd prefer (here's where you'll want to disclose your preference for, say, a female counselor or a therapist specializing in panic disorders, etc.).

You receive a form, similar to a traditional office's intake form, to fill out and send back, and then you're paired with your “primary therapist.”

The speed of registering is an especially helpful aspect of Talkspace — especially for busy moms, or those immobilized with anxiety or depression.

Does Talkspace offer free online therapy?

TalkSpace does not offer a free trial, or any free online counseling. By comparison, BetterHelp offers similar services for fees starting at $35/week, as well as a free, one-week trial.

Does Talkspace have an app for online therapy?

Earlier versions of Talkspace app had several bugs, including crashing at start-up. Updates in February 2020 have addressed these issues.

You can use the app to connect with a licensed therapist via unlimited messaging. Live video is also an option.

The Talkspace app has a 3-star rating on Android and a 4.2-star rating on Apple.

How much does online therapy cost with TalkSpace?

TalkSpace online therapy starts at $49 per week, or $196 per month, for messaging-only therapy, with live therapy is $65 per 30-minute session. An unlimited plan with LiveTalk therapy is $316 per month.

Couples therapy is also offered for $79 per week or $316 per month. You also have the option to add on live video sessions to any plan for $49 per 30-minute session.

Does my insurance cover online therapy with TalkSpace?

TalkSpace partners with several U.S. health insurance plans, although individual insurance plan participation varies. In other words, you’ll need to check with your insurance provider to see if online therapy is covered and what you’re expected to pay out-of-pocket — and which online therapy companies your insurance works with.

Talkspace also shares that many of their customers pay for their therapy with a credit card or Paypal then submit their bills for reimbursement through a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

Read: Talkspace online therapy review

How to find a therapist with Talkspace

  1. Go to TalkSpace.com and set up an account
  2. Share your preferences and needs via a chat session
  3. Get matched with a counselor within 24 hours and start communicating via chat, message, email, video or phone.

TalkSpace has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Start counseling now with Talkspace >>

Best online therapy site: BetterHelp

BetterHelp is our #1 best online therapy platform for these reasons:

  1. High-quality therapists. 100% of the site's 8,000+ counselors have a Master's or Doctoral degree, and minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours of experience
  2. Better Business Bureau A+ rating
  3. Affordable prices, starting at $35/week, unlimited
  4. Lots of control for you: You choose whether you want to communicate by phone, video, messaging or chat.
  5. Financial assistance
  6. Secure: Fully secure therapy app and website, and you can choose to be anonymous to your therapist.
  7. Access to group therapy sessions for 20 specialty topics — included in your fee.

BetterHelp offers a 10% discount for new clients >>

Best online therapy app: BetterHelp

BetterHelp's secure app is just as dynamic as its desktop website, and helps make therapy even more accessible, since you can conduct live sessions from your office, car, on walks — wherever works for you.

To get started, you can browse a list of BetterHelp's therapists, read client reviews, and start the process of feeling better.

Real moms review BetterHelp for online therapy

So, is online therapy worth it? I asked members of my closed Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms, what their experiences have been:

BetterHelp helped me make big changes in my life and stop dragging my feet in my divorce. I was honest with my therapist and she helped tell me see the reality of things. I am forever grateful! As a stay at home mom, the convenience meant everything. — Ruthie, San Antonio, TX

I’m working with a therapist through BetterHelp. I love her a ton. She’s helped me out so much. It only costs me $45 a week, which is much cheaper than normal therapy. – Shawna, Salt Lake City, UT

Best online doctor platforms and apps — reviews, cost and tech

Other online therapy sites

Get our complete list of online counseling services, and understand whether you need counseling.

Other online counseling services include:

MDLive and Amwell counseling – as part of those telemedicine companies

Regain (BetterHelp's brand for couples)

7Cups – an active listening community with a paid therapy component

Online therapy platform for therapists

Many therapists are turning to third-party online therapy platforms to replace or supplement their private practices. While the pay can be on the low side, the upside is there is a huge demand for work, and you spend most of your time serving clients through actual counseling services — as the app platform takes care of the marketing, invoicing, collecting payment.

Which online therapy platforms are HIPAA compliant?

These online therapy services are HIPAA compliant:

  • Talkspace
  • BetterHelp
  • MDLive Behavioral Health
  • ReGain, Teen Counseling, Pride Counseling and Faith Counseling (BetterHelp sister sites)
  • Amwell

Best online therapy platform for therapists

GlassDoor reports that BetterHelp pays its contract therapists $29-31 per hour, and is having a “hiring surge.”

The benefits of working with a site like BetterHelp as an online therapist include:

  • Work at home or any other location
  • Flexible hours
  • Built-in technology — you interact with clients via the online counseling platform, so no need to set up or troubleshoot Zoom, Facetime, Skype or other tech
  • 100% HIPAA compliant
  • The therapy site manages billing, bookkeeping and other admin tasks, so you can focus on serving clients
  • High and increasing demand from clients around the country — no need to market your services

Learn more about becoming an online therapist with BetterHelp >>

Share in the comments:  Have you used online therapy sites? What has been your experience?

About Emma Johnson

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder  Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

2 Comments

  1. Kristin on November 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Is the HealthSapiens discount just for the first month or every month?

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