MDLIVE Counseling (Breakthrough) online counseling review

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If you’re thinking of seeing a therapist but aren’t sure where to start, you may want to consider online therapy instead of in-person counseling. Meeting with a professional for online mental health treatment can make it easier to fit therapy into your busy schedule, and the costs can be lower, too.

Online therapy sites are popping up all over. Read about our Top Online Therapy Platforms for 2020, and learn more about or recommended partner, BetterHelp:

BetterHelpMDLive Counseling
Phone counseling?YesYes
Video chat therapy?YesYes
Text therapy?YesNo
Rx?NoMDLive lists psychiatrists, some of whom can write prescriptions in some states.
RequirementsBetterHelp requires its 11,000+ counselors be licensed, trained, and accredited in their state, and each holds either a masters or doctorate degree, and undergoes 2,000 hours of training or more. BetterHelp claims it accepts just 15% of counselor applicants. Unclear from website
PriceStarting at $35 per week for unlimited messaging and weekly live sessions$108 per session for counseling. $284 for first psychiatrist session, and $108 for follow-up sessions.
How you are matched with therapistCombination of matching you based on your needs and preferences, and you choosing from a listYou chose a therapist from a long list
Accepts insurance?BetterHelp does not accept insurance, though your carrier may reimburse you for some servicesMDLive does accept many insurances; check with your policy.
Better Business Bureau ratingA+A
Financial assistance?YesNo
Free trial?NoNo

The convenience of MDLive Counseling online therapy is outstanding since you can set up a time that fits your schedule without worrying about traffic, finding a babysitter, or taking time off work. MDLIVE Counseling also has the added benefit of billing your insurance, which can minimize your out-of-pocket costs.

Want to know more? Here’s a complete MDLIVE Counseling online therapy review.

Is MDLIVE Counseling online therapy legit?

Meeting with a therapist online is increasingly common. But before you divulge your deepest thoughts, you’ll want to make sure the company isn’t a scam. Luckily, MDLIVE Counseling passes all the tests.

The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, and The Oprah Magazine have all featured MDLIVE Counseling online therapy. MDLive has an A rating and is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

Originally known as “Breakthrough,” the company became part of MDLIVE — which is one of the largest companies to provide telemedicine services — back in 2014. MDLive claims more than 39 million patients, an A Better Business Bureau rating and founding in 2009.

This company also accepts most major insurance, which is a huge benefit. Plus, the web-based platform is HIPAA compliant — which means that it is extremely confidential and secure.

Are MDLIVE Counseling therapists legit?

MDLIVE Counseling therapists are indeed state-licensed and board-certified. The platform reports its therapists average 10 years of clinical experience.

You may be paired with a psychologist, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage/family therapist, or a licensed clinical social worker.

How does MDLIVE Counseling handle privacy and confidentiality?

MDLIVE overall is HIPAA compliant, meaning that you can trust your identity and information are guarded in accordance with state and federal laws that apply to your medical records and visiting a physician in the office.

What is MDLIVE Counseling online therapy?

MDLIVE Counseling is a leading provider of online therapy that treats mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, people also seek counseling for other reasons, such as anxiety or stress management. Therapists affiliated with MDLIVE Counseling treat these and other conditions that lead people to look for professional help.

The platform has a network of licensed therapists and psychiatrists to pick from. You can even sort through the list of available professionals by location, title, specialty, and type of accepted payment before you get started.

Finally, you have the option of communicating with the therapist before you make a financial commitment.

How does MDLIVE Counseling online therapy work?

With MDLIVE Counseling, you can opt to meet with a professional through your computer or on your smartphone with the help of video software. Before you schedule a formal appointment, however, consider contacting the therapist you’re interested in working with to see if the two of you are a good fit.

After you find a therapist or psychiatrist, setting up a time to meet is simple. Your session can last from 15 minutes to an hour, and MDLIVE Counseling's online calendar lets you pick a time that works with your schedule.

Does MDLIVE Counseling have an app for therapy?

There is no separate app for MDLive Counseling, as the service is available through the MDLIVE app, which is available free for Apple and Android. MDLive provides more than 50 non-emergency telemedicine services, including urgent care, dermatology.

The MDLive app has a 4.7-star rating on Apple and a 2.7-star rating on Android.

What do you do in therapy with MDLIVE Counseling?

The same thing you do in face-to-face therapy: Address the issues that are causing you pain and keeping you from living your best life. People seek counseling for all sorts of reasons, including family problems (divorce-related or not), loneliness, job stress, grief/loss, or simply feeling overwhelmed by the demands of modern life.

How you get that help depends on the kind of therapy you choose. For example, some prefer client-centered therapy, also known as “person-centered therapy.” With client-centered therapy/person-centered therapy, you’re encouraged to talk about any issue without fear of judgment or shame. In other words, you can be fully honest.

Others seek out cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which doesn’t focus as deeply on your past. Instead, it zeroes in on the way you live now, and helps you change perceptions and behaviors that are negatively affecting your life.

The choice of therapist is completely in your hands. Choose based on factors that matter to you.

Finding a therapist: 3 simple steps

  1. First, create an account at MDLive. This takes only about 1 minute, including confirming your account through the e-mail they send.
  2. Next, you’ll be asked to choose what service you want; click on “therapist.” You’ll be asked the reason for your visit and then asked a few health-related questions (such as drug allergies and any family history of behavioral health issues). The site also asks you to choose a pharmacy in case you wind up needing a prescription.
  3. Now it’s time to look for a therapist. You get to choose between male or female counselors, and you can narrow it down further by specialty. For example, you might want to check off both “depression” and “anxiety.” You can also specify a language other than English.

Based on your preferences, the site displays a list of providers and the chance to request an appointment right there on the same page. After that you’re shown how to download the app, and to set up payment. MDLIVE accepts most credit cards and also takes debit cards.

Can MDLIVE Counseling online therapy prescribe medication?

Unlike some other online therapy companies, MDLIVE Counseling has a network of psychiatrists that can prescribe medication. Before they give you a prescription, your psychiatrist must examine and assess you according to your state’s telemedicine requirements. Price is $284 for the first psychiatrist session, and $108 for follow-ups.

Is MDLIVE Counseling online therapy worth it?

Whether online therapy is worth your time and money depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD or some other problem, talking with a professional can help you uncover tactics to cope with situations and events.

If you can’t drive to a physical location, the convenience of meeting with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist online is fantastic. No matter where you are – at home, on your lunch break, or in between appointments – finding time for an online session is a piece of cake.

Here are 8 reasons online therapy is a great, effective option for busy parents.

MDLIVE Counseling reviews

Here are some recent reviews from MDLive Counseling from TrustPilot. The online telehealth and online therapy industry saw a huge influx of new clients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MDLive counseling reviews - is it worth it?
MDLive counseling reviews - is it worth it?
MDLive counseling reviews - is it worth it?
MDLive counseling reviews - is it worth it?

Does MDLIVE Counseling offer free online therapy?

MDLIVE Counseling does not offer free online therapy.

Does MDLIVE Counseling online therapy cost money?

MDLIVE Counseling online therapy recently changed its pricing to a simple $108 per session.

If your insurance will pay for your sessions, you might not have any out-of-pocket costs. Other insurance plans may require a copay every time you see your therapist. Check on MDLIVE Counseling's site to see which carriers they work with, and you may also need to check with your health insurance to understand what counseling or therapy is covered.

If you plan on paying the full price without insurance, the amount you’ll need to fork over depends on the therapist you choose.

To keep things in perspective: Traditional therapy can cost anywhere from $80 to $300 per hour. So MDLIVE Counseling costs more than some therapists but less (maybe a lot less) than others.

But compared with other online counseling sites like BetterHelp, where prices start at $35 per week for unlimited messaging and weekly live sessions, MDLIVE Counseling is one of the more expensive online counselor apps.

Is MDLIVE Counseling online therapy covered by insurance?

MDLIVE Counseling is one of the best providers of cognitive behavior therapy online. Plus, they accept most major insurance plans. For example, the company has therapists that contract with Aetna, Amerigroup, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, TriCare, and Western Health Advantage, just to name a few.

Keep in mind this isn’t an extensive list and that every insurance provider has limitations on their included benefits. Most of the time, you’ll need to call your insurance company to find out if this type of therapy is covered or not.

MDLIVE Counseling vs. BetterHelp — which online therapy site is better?

If you’re looking for online therapy, both MDLIVE Counseling and BetterHelp are both solid choices. With either one, you can use video chat for convenient face-to-face sessions. But communication with your therapist is limited with MDLIVE Counseling since they don't let you text your counselor any time of the day or night like BetterHelp does.

Cost is a huge advantage with BetterHelp, where the cost is a flat rate starting at $35 per week for unlimited messaging and weekly live counseling sessions, whereas MDLIVE Counseling charges $108 per session, and $284 for the psychiatrist session, followed by $108 for followup sessions.

MDLIVE Counseling doesn’t share that it has any evaluation process for their therapists, including a licensing requirement. BetterHelp, on the other hand, requires its counselors be licensed, trained, and accredited in their state level, and each holds either a masters (MA or MS) or doctorate (PhD) degree.

Read: BetterHelp online therapy review

MDLIVE Counseling does have an advantage in that you can connect with one of its psychiatrists who, depending on their and your state laws, may be able to prescribe medication — whereas BetterHelp therapists cannot provide this service. If this is important to you, MDLIVE Counseling may be a fit.

BetterHelpMDLive Counseling
Phone counseling?YesYes
Video chat therapy?YesYes
Text therapy?YesNo
Rx?NoMDLive lists psychiatrists, some of whom can write prescriptions in some states.
RequirementsBetterHelp requires its 11,000+ counselors be licensed, trained, and accredited in their state, and each holds either a masters or doctorate degree, and undergoes 2,000 hours of training or more. BetterHelp claims it accepts just 15% of counselor applicants. Unclear from website
PriceStarting at $35 per week for unlimited messaging and weekly live sessions$108 per session for counseling. $284 for first psychiatrist session, and $108 for follow-up sessions.
How you are matched with therapistCombination of matching you based on your needs and preferences, and you choosing from a listYou chose a therapist from a long list
Accepts insurance?BetterHelp does not accept insurance, though your carrier may reimburse you for some servicesMDLive does accept many insurances; check with your policy.
Better Business Bureau ratingA+A
Financial assistance?YesNo
Free trial?NoNo

How to get started with MDLIVE Counseling

First, check out all your online options. Here is our list of the best online counselor sites to choose from.

If you’re ready to get started with online therapy, you’ll be happy to know that MDLIVE Counseling streamlines the sign-up process. You can browse the list of therapists and psychiatrists to find a match based on what is important to you. Then begin the application process online, from the comfort of your home.

Knowing the platform accepts several insurance plans can bring peace of mind, although the price you pay can vary based on the therapist you choose. Once you’re matched with someone, your appointments can be as short as 15 minutes or last up to an hour, and making your first appointment is easy thanks to the online scheduling process.

How to schedule a therapy appointment with MDLIVE Counseling

Once you’ve chosen a counselor, use the site’s interactive calendar to pick a date and time. If the therapist is booked, they’ll send other possible dates and times. Choose one and you’re good to go.

Note: Most states specify that the initial assessment be done through video. After that, you can talk with the counselor about whether phone or video chats (using smartphone or computer) will work best for your needs.

Does MDLIVE Counseling have same-day psychiatry appointments?

Most online therapy providers do not offer psychiatry as an option. MDLive Counseling is one of the few exceptions.

MDLive Counseling cannot promise a same-day appointment. However, the website notes that while it can take weeks to see a psychiatrist for the first time, with MDLive Counseling, it takes “only days” to get that initial psychiatric appointment.

MDLIVE Counseling

$108 per counseling session
8.5

Overall

8.5/10

Pros

  • Phone counseling
  • Video chat
  • Affordable live medical consultations and online therapy from anywhere — with or without insurance

Cons

  • No texting
  • Accreditation for therapists is not required
  • Not for every medical situation
  • Online therapy more expensive and less dynamic than other platforms

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.

One Comment

Me and my husband signed up for therapy with Mdlive through rethinkmytherapy.com and it’s only 90 a month for therapy for the both of us. They have different levels 60 for 1 person, 90 for 2, 120 for 4.

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