Very low cost, convenient anonymous, and effectiveness are reasons online counseling is growing in popularity — and works great for moms.

You're stressed.

Feel like you're doing it 100% alone.

Likely lonely.

Maybe depressed.

Therapy might sound good — but who has the time or money?

Plus, depending on where you live, and your situation, it might be embarrassing if your friends, colleagues, neighbors knew you went to therapy.

Thankfully, technology is changing these very real challenges that stand between moms and the counseling the need and deserve (online).

Where to try a therapist for free online

Betterhelp is an A+ Better Business Bureau rated online therapy site, with thousands of certified and licensed therapists to choose from, for your choice of chat, email, video or phone sessions starting at $40/week unlimited. BetterHelp has a free 7-day trial.

Get a FREE 7-day trial with BetterHelp online therapy >>

Why single moms should consider therapy

Therapy is increasingly acceptable, in part, because the benefits can be so great. There are many reasons why therapy is right for you. These include:

  • You are depressed and don't know how to stop being depressed
  • You find yourself stuck in your career, relationships, or life challenges, and can't get unstuck
  • There is turmoil in more than one of your relationships, and you want help finding resolve
  • You feel overwhelmed and don't know how to get a grip
  • Rage. You are angry all the time, for reasons that do not equate with the issues at hand
  • General apathy and fatigue (signs of depression)
  • A sense of guilt of shame colors your life
  • General apathy, sense of unfulfilling relationships, loneliness

The only difference between online therapy and traditional, in-person counseling, is that with online counseling, you communicate with your therapist by phone, text or video, depending on your preference.

That difference can be life-changing. Online therapy reviews confirm that some of the best sessions can happen on your lunch break, or from the comfort of home. But there are other, major benefits, too.

Online therapy serviceCostInsurance?BBB ratingFeatures
HealthSapiens$120/mo. unlimited sessions for Wealthysinglemommy readers (usually $197/mo.)SometimesA-Unlimited, 24/7 immediate access to a therapist. Not for ongoing counseling.
BetterHelp$40-70/week for unlimited sessions + 7-day FREE trialSometimesA+Get matched a Master's or PhD for unlimited text, video, phone or messaging sessions.
TalkSpace$65-99/weekMaybeA+Combination of text, optional live audio or video sessions.

Read on to find out what they are!

Why single moms should consider online therapy

If you’re wondering whether you should go to a therapist’s office or look for online therapy options, here are seven reasons cognitive behavior therapy online might be right for you.

1. Online therapy is more affordable than in-person treatment.

With the best online therapy at your fingertips, you’ll pay less than you would for traditional therapy.

Traditional therapy, paid for out-of-pocket, typically costs at least $60 per hour, or up to $200 per hour in larger cities.

Online therapy with a company like BetterHelp could start at $40 per week for unlimited counseling on some therapy apps. (Read: BetterHelp review)

Most platforms provide different plans to make the service affordable for all price ranges. For instance, chatting back and forth with your therapist in a way that’s like email messaging is less expensive than a phone call or streaming video session.

But some insurance companies, including this plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, include coverage of online treatment programs. Even if the online therapy service doesn’t submit the bill on your behalf, contact your insurance provider to find out about reimbursement. This option means you may get a refund for the funds you pay out-of-pocket, even if some leg work is required on your part.

2. Online therapy sessions can be done anywhere.

Juggling work, school, and daycare schedules is exhausting. Sometimes you can’t find time to stop and take a breath. When that happens, carving out time to drive to a physical location can seem impossible.

Remote therapy can save time. Rather than worrying about how you’ll get to your appointment, your online session can be at the dining room table, while lying in bed, during your lunch break at work, or while you wait in the car during your kids' soccer practice.

Here is our list of top online therapy sites.

3. You don’t have to wait to start online therapy.

The sooner you start online therapy, the sooner you could see the benefits.

If you're thinking of therapy, you likely feel like you need help NOW.

The trouble with traditional counselors is that you often wind up waiting weeks or even a month or more to get in for an appointment.

With the best online therapy, full access to the program can occur as soon as your account is set up. The flexibility to begin right away can help you get closer to recovery — ASAP.

4. It's anonymous.

Getting mental health care can feel embarrassing — even shameful. You and I know that it shouldn't, but that doesn't change how you feel.

One of the things that often get in moms' way of seeking therapy is that people you know might find out. A friend or neighbor might see you walk into the counselor's office, or see your car parked in front of their clinic.

Unfortunately, in some cases, parents' custody arrangements can be at risk if their kids' other parent can document they attend therapy.

Online therapy is completely confidential. No one will know you receive the benefits of counseling if you don't tell them.

5. Your information is confidential.

When sharing private details of your life over the internet, confidentiality always comes up. You’ve heard of HIPAA? Short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA sets rules and limits on who can access your personal information.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states doctors, psychologists, and most other healthcare providers must follow HIPAA regulations.

6. You get access to better mental health care.

Not everyone has access to top-notch mental health care in their community. If you live in a rural area, the treatment options aren’t as plentiful. But living in a larger city doesn’t guarantee ease of access since the drive across town could take up to an hour or more.

With online therapy, you’re still getting treatment from certified and licensed therapists. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access mental health treatment from a laptop, desktop computer, or your smartphone.

Plus, since there is less of a financial or time commitment, it is easier to switch therapists if the first or second online counselor is not a good fit.

In other words: Online therapy makes it easier to shop around to find the best therapist for you.

Find an online therapist through BetterHelp >>

7. You don’t have to worry about a babysitter.

With an in-person counseling session, childcare while you attend your appointment is essential. But even the most reliable babysitter might need to cancel at the last minute. And what if your child becomes ill?

Part of the beauty of online therapy is there’s no need to worry about childcare. Your treatment can happen while your kids are at school, while they’re taking a nap, or after they’ve gone to bed for the night.

Or, let's get real: While you put them in front of a screen. We've all been there!

8. Treatment is comprehensive and successful.

Remote counseling is known for using cognitive behavior therapy as a main form of treatment. According to the American Psychological Association, this method restructures thought patterns for more successful long-term results.

Cognitive behavior therapy is proven to effectively treat mental illnesses and issues such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and eating disorders.

Want to know more? Read: Online vs in-person therapy— which is better?

24 questions to ask a therapist before paying for online therapy

According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of people who knowingly suffer from mental illness don't seek treatment.

If you suffer depression, anxiety, overwhelm, relationship or career challenges because of someone in your life is narcissistic, working towards or through a divorce, or you simply need some guidance and support, counseling can help.

ReadBest online therapy companies to get help now

Reasons people do not get the counseling they need include chronic pain, agoraphobia, a busy schedule, lack of money, or the embarrassment and shame of seeking help (especially if you live in a small community).

If you are seeking couple's therapy, coordinating schedules with your husband, wife or partner can also be a challenge, as can budgeting time to drive to and from counseling is also a major barrier — especially for busy moms.

Cost is also a huge factor — as health insurance often does not cover therapy sessions, and the price can be $100 to $200 per traditional, in-person therapy session.

If any of these reasons sound familiar, online therapy might be right for you.

How to choose an online therapist

If you’re looking into online therapy, grappling with your personal preferences is the first step. Being confident in your choice is crucial to establish trust and build a positive relationship with a professional counselor.

How do you know what questions to ask?

Finding an online therapist can seem like a daunting task. There are several leading online therapy websites, and literally tens thousands of counselors. Plus, it is a big investment in terms of time, emotion, money and even spirit in terms of sharing your personal history and very intimate feelings and experiences — only to realize that the therapist is not the right fit, and you must start your search all over.

However, in this guide, we will help you ask the right questions before you commit to a therapist, to increase the likelihood of a quality match with someone who can be an important part of your journey for as long as you need them.

First step: Online search.

Think of finding a therapist like dating: You wouldn’t dream of going on a first date without Googling the person’s name or looking them up on Facebook. This same approach can help you pick a therapist.

All the major online therapy sites have a directory of online profiles. Spend some time reviewing those first.

BetterHelp is one of the top online therapy apps, and they have a dynamic directory of all of their counselors.

Browse BetterHelp's therapist directory, anonymously, now >>

Note their credentials, style, communication method, pricing, and whether your insurance will help pay for costs. Do you have a preference in terms of age, gender, race when it comes to a therapist? There is no shame in that. A directory is a great way to sort by these and other preferences.

For the best online therapist match, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends you talk to more than one potential therapist. Interviewing potential candidates makes sense, considering the vast array of personalities and varying approaches to treatment options.

While you’re reviewing the practitioner’s website, spend time on reviews left by previous patients. Online therapy reviews can be food for thought, and can provide further insight into your prospective counselor.

Keep in mind that dissatisfied clients are more likely to leave negative comments. Don't judge the therapist solely by the opinion of someone else since each patient has unique needs.

In the case of online therapy, you will also be the client of the platform itself, so make sure the site has solid online reviews. You can see customer reviews for BetterHelp here and you can read my BetterHelp review here.

Also, take time to ask about licensing and look them up to uncover potential infractions or disciplinary actions. A state licensing board like this one in Indiana will have this information readily available.

Questions to ask a potential online therapist

Asking about what qualifies a person to work in their profession can be awkward. Still, knowing this information is important. You want to make sure the person you’re trusting your treatment to has the right credentials.

Look at this initial interview like a date. Make a note of how comfortable the therapist is when responding to your questions.

Asking about the counselor’s experience with online therapy can provide insight into their process.

A therapist will recognize that concerns are common when approaching online counseling. Understanding what you can expect during a therapy session can help you feel more comfortable, and a quality therapist will have no trouble discussing their answers with you.

To help you gain trust in your provider and the process, consider these questions to start:

  • Do you have a specialty in (your specific issue)?
  • Are you more direct in your approach to therapy? Or do you guide patients to uncover their own solutions?
  • What type of therapy do you offer? Do the treatment options match what I would like to pursue (cognitive behavioral therapy, client-centered therapy, Gestalt or psychoanalysis)?
  • What are your strongest and weakest areas as a counselor?
  • What times are you available for online therapy sessions?
  • Is there one thing you enjoy most about counseling?
  • What certifications and licenses do you have and when do they expire?
  • Do you have any specialty areas of practice?
  • How long have you been a practicing therapist working online?
  • Have you used online therapy yourself?
  • Who is an ideal patient for online therapy?
  • How many clients have you worked with in online therapy who have similar concerns I have?
  • Do you have many long-time clients?
  • How often do you anticipate seeing someone for online therapy sessions?
  • What is a typical online therapy session like?
  • Do I need a specific computer or computer program for online therapy? What’s required for a successful session

This last question is an important consideration. A few methods include live chats, telephone conversations, using video conferencing technology, and exchanging messages with your counselor in a format similar to an old-school chat room.

Some therapists prefer a particular path of communication. As the patient, priority should be given to whichever channel you’re most comfortable with. After all, you aren’t likely to enjoy online therapy if you can’t easily communicate your struggles.

Questions to ask about the financial side of online therapy

Finances impact everything in life, and this is especially true when deciding about healthcare. Rising costs and confusing insurance policies can be tough obstacles to overcome when seeking online therapy.

Asking the right questions about the financial side of therapy can open the door to treatment options you might not have thought about. An obvious question to start with is does my insurance cover online therapy?

You might be surprised to know that more than 19 states require insurance policies to pay for online therapy, according to leading online counseling provider iTherapy.

Being aware of what your insurance covers and how much you’re expected to pay out of pocket can make the decision easier.

Don’t feel shy about addressing these questions with a potential online therapist. Your healing might be hindered unless you understand the process, and that includes knowing how you’ll pay for treatment.

Any professional therapist worth considering won’t hesitate to disclose the financial side of treatment options.

To know what coverage and costs you’re getting into, consider asking these questions.

  • Is online therapy covered by insurance?
  • How much does online therapy cost without insurance?
  • How can I get my insurance to pay for online therapy?
  • Is online therapy worth the money and does treatment really work?

Overall, the growth in online therapy trends is overwhelmingly positive. The American Psychological Association reports that more than a dozen new online therapy clinics have opened in the past few years.

But that doesn’t mean online therapy is for everyone.

As great as it is, you’ll want to take a hard look to determine if virtual counseling is worth your time and money. You’re not a failure if online treatment doesn’t work for you. Other solutions exist, and online therapy is only one option on your journey to mental well-being.

Questions to help set goals for online therapy

If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve determined that online therapy might be best for you. Seeking help is a huge accomplishment in itself. But your work is just beginning. The driving purpose behind cognitive behavior therapy online is to help you live a better life.

Getting to a point where you can turn something negative into something positive is an excellent way to overcome personal issues.

To do that, you’ll set and work to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Thinking about how your life could improve can get you on the right track. Once you have an idea of what you want your life to look like, setting benchmarks can help you accomplish your objectives and make your vision a reality.

Working with your counselor is nonnegotiable with this step. They’ll direct and guide you on the path to mental wellness.

No matter where you’re at in life, the best online therapy includes discussions about goal-setting.

Questions to ask your new therapist:

  • What are counseling goals for my online therapy?
  • Will we discuss goals right away?
  • Do I have a say in the goals that are set as part of my treatment plan?
  • How will you measure progress toward my goals?
  • How often will we check in on my improvement?
  • How should I prepare for my first online therapy session?
  • How often do your clients meet their goals?

To find optimal mental health, you don’t always walk a straight line. You’ll have times of growth and your share of setbacks. Spend some time preparing for each session, including your first, to increase the mileage of your online therapy sessions.

Taking your time to find the right therapist is crucial, and reading online therapy reviews can help. Your personality and preferences are just as important as the qualifications and strengths of the counselor.

When you’re ready to take the next step, creating goals and working through hurdles with online therapy can help you live a better life. Try BetterHelp's 7-day free trial to see if it is a fit for you. Plus, BetterHelp has thousands of certified, licensed therapists to choose from if your first counselor is not a good fit. Try BetterHelp now >>

Therapy questions – what you can expect your therapist to ask in the first session

If you are new to therapy, the first one to three sessions typically include a lot of questions about your history of mental health, family structure, current family, career, personal and health situations. Here is a list of typical questions your therapist may ask you.

Remember: You are paying for this, and you are not obliged to answer anything you don't want to answer! However, the more information your counselor has about you, the more they can help you. You are also free to say: “I don't want to answer that now,” or, “Can we talk about that later?”

  • What brought you to therapy?
  • How do you cope with these problems, or stress in your life?
  • What is your version of events regarding this issue?
  • What is your past experience with counseling?
  • How is your mood now?
  • Do you ever think about hurting yourself?
  • What was your childhood like?
  • Do you feel connected to people in your life?
  • What do you hope to get out of therapy?

Our 2020 list of best online therapy companies

Online therapy vs. face-to-face—which is better?

Online counseling, which connects you to a licensed therapist through phone, text, video or voice is gaining popularity thanks to technology from companies like BetterHelp, TalkSpace and Online-Therapy.com. 

But how does online therapy compare with face-to-face therapy? What are the pros and cons?

If you’re feeling lonely, depressed or stressed, therapy might help you regain balance. Maybe you have relationship issues, are divorced from a narcissist or have trouble with your teenager. Counseling or therapy has been proven by many studies to help. When you feel like your best self, everyone benefits — including your children.

Our choice for online therapy is BetterHelp, which lets you choose from thousands of licensed, certified counselors, starting at $40/week for unlimited text, voice, video or email sessions. Free one-week trial. Better Business Bureau A+ rating. Learn more about free online therapy with BetterHelp >>

Online therapy vs. face-to-face

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes psychotherapy as a combination of techniques used to identify problematic behaviors, emotions and thought processes and replace them with actions that promote healthy, stable and productive lifestyles. 

Also known as ‘talk therapy’, online psychotherapy is fast becoming a solid alternative to face-to-face therapy. A study by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute determined that online therapy for adult depression from online therapy leader BetterHelp was as effective as face-to-face counseling.

But sometimes you prefer face-to-face interaction.

Technology gives us more options to heal. The flexibility of online therapy, stability of face-to-face counseling or a carefully timed mix may be the ticket. 

Is counseling online as good as face-to-face?

Online therapy is great for single moms because it provides coveted flexibility. 

Working with a licensed therapist online can be comparable to face-to-face psychotherapy, but ask yourself:

  • Are you comfortable online?
  • Do you like apps, email or messaging?
  • Are you comfortable with streaming video chat?

Your comfort level with technology, individual needs and session expectations will play a huge part in determining if online therapy fits.

Not sure where to start? Here is Wealthysinglemommy's list of Top 7 online therapy sites.

Advantages of face-to-face therapy

Face-to-face therapy provides a personal experience and additional benefits such as:

  • Predictability – An office visit secures a designated time and place to receive therapy and may help with establishing a routine for care. 
  • Visual cues – Clients experience the therapist’s body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. If you lean toward sensory interaction or are extroverted, this may help.
  • Safety – Mental health conditions in which a person may be in crisis or a danger to themselves or others may benefit from face-to-face counseling.
  • Variety – Some therapeutic approaches require in-person meetings such as animal-assisted therapy, expressive arts therapy and music therapy. 

Disadvantages of face-to-face therapy

Therapists must protect your privacy, but there is the very real possibility that you could run into someone you know while walking into, or out of your appointment. This may be especially troubling when dealing with custody issues if your ex-spouse is looking for fuel to deny or limit access to your child.

Other disadvantages include:

  • Expense – According to GoodTherapy, an online therapy resource site, an in-person session can cost $65 and up, per hour. Online options tend to be much more affordable. 
  • Waiting – Instead of getting therapy right away, you must wait until your scheduled appointment time. Depending on the client load of a therapist, that could be weeks or even months in the future.
  • Scheduling – Typically in-person counseling requires scheduling an appointment during business hours, or otherwise working around the counselor’s availability. This may mean taking off work early, or otherwise creating inconvenience for you.
  • Travel time – Traditional therapy requires you commute to the appointment, which adds time on either end of the session. Most of us are busy! 

Advantages of online therapy

There are many benefits of going online to help you sort things out. First, it is often less expensive than traditional face-to-face therapy. 

How much does online therapy cost?

While the cost of face-to-face therapy varies by therapist and location, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $200 per session. It is typical to have more than one session per month. 

Online therapy offers unlimited plans for a lower price point:

BetterHelp ranges between $40 and $70 per week for unlimited sessions, with a free 7-day trial.

TalkSpace plans start at $65 per week for unlimited access.

Online-Therapy.com has plans starting at $31.96/week.

7 Cups has a free listening community, as well as paid therapy online for $150/ month.

These plans are often billed monthly and have no contractual obligation. 

Benefits of online therapy

Besides cost effectiveness, other great reasons to consider going online include:

  • Cost savings – Online therapy companies typically charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to counseling, starting at $40 per week with BetterHelp. This is far, far less expensive than traditional in-person therapy which can start at $70 per 50-minute session.
  • Time saving – Instead of spending time commuting to your therapy session, you can do a chat, video or phone session at your kitchen table after your kids’ bedtime, on your lunch break in the car, or waiting for the clothes to dry in the basement. No driving or travel required. 
  • Immediacy of access – With 24/7 access to your account you can get help now, instead of waiting several weeks to get an in-person appointment through traditional therapy. Inquire about real-time chat availability if you favor back and forth interaction. 
  • Control – If you have social anxiety or agoraphobia, you don’t have to feel trapped in a physical place to get help. You decide what place feels right and can access your account at any time. 
  • Anonymity – No one will know that you’ve used online counseling unless you share. There is no risk of running into anyone inside or outside of a therapist’s office.
  • Privacy – Reputable sites adhere to regulations set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA protects how your personal information may be accessed or shared. 
  • Expanded choices – Access to the Internet and a desktop, laptop or smartphone gives you your pick of thousands of licensed professionals — no matter where you live. This is especially helpful if you live in a small or rural community, where there may not be a lot of counselors to choose from. 
  • Flexibility – Switch therapists easily if the first one isn’t a match (it often isn’t). 
  • Convenient. Whether you are a busy mom, are using couple's counseling (even if you're not married) online therapy is far easier to schedule.

24 important questions to ask before paying for online therapy

Finally, some online counseling services use proven techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, which is recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA).

CBT treats a range of mental issues such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and anxiety by restructuring thoughts and yields long-term, positive results. Check with your online provider to inquire if CBT is offered. 

Disadvantages of online counseling

Some studies laud the effectiveness of online therapy, but the technology is relatively new and may not be suited to every situation. It depends on the person and the level of care needed. 

Another consideration is that health insurance may not cover online therapy. Costs may be out-of-pocket, but this is increasingly true for all therapy.  

As online therapy choices increase, some states like California, Georgia and Texas are requiring insurance companies to cover online counseling services according to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). The ATA is a Washington D.C.-based non-profit focused on advancing the reach and changing the perception of telehealth services, such as online therapy.

Some online therapy companies that work with insurance providers include:

  • Breakthrough
  • Amwell
  • Thriveworks

While online counseling companies like BetterHelpTalkSpace, Faithful Counseling, iTherapy, and Online-Therapy.com don’t take insurance directly, you can still check with your insurance provider about reimbursement for sessions or consider using a flexible spending account.

To determine access to insurance coverage of online therapy, sometimes referred to as telehealth or online mental health services, contact your insurance provider. If you are covered by Medicaid you may have access to WellCare — a portal to access free, online therapy.

If you require documentation from court to show completion of therapy, you must check to see if the online counseling site will comply and whether the court will accept it. 

And, since anyone can set up shop on the Internet, be sure the service verifies the licensure of participating psychotherapists, and complies with federal HIPPA laws.

Reputable companies including BetterHelp, TalkSpace, 7Cups and Online-Therapy.com screen the credentials of therapists they partner with. You can view their information and do your own verification. One good resource is the Psychology Today therapist lookup tool

Ready to get started with online therapy? BetterHelp, which gives you access to thousands of certified counselors for the convenient, secure, and affordable help you deserve, starting at $40/week for unlimited access to text, phone, video or email therapy. Free one-week trial.

Connect with a BetterHelp online counselor >>

Is online therapy right for me?

As a single mom, your children depend on you — and that can be a big weight to carry. Emotional setbacks are nothing to feel ashamed of. Nearly 60% of adults know someone suffering from mental illness, based on a survey by the American Psychological Association.

Online therapy serviceCostInsurance?BBB ratingFeatures
HealthSapiens$120/mo. unlimited sessions for Wealthysinglemommy readers (usually $197/mo.)SometimesA-Unlimited, 24/7 immediate access to a therapist. Not for ongoing counseling.
BetterHelp$40-70/week for unlimited sessions + 7-day FREE trialSometimesA+Get matched a Master's or PhD for unlimited text, video, phone or messaging sessions.
TalkSpace$65-99/weekMaybeA+Combination of text, optional live audio or video sessions.

With the help of cognitive behavior therapy online, you can improve your mental well-being and find balance in everyday life.

Give online therapy a try today >>

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.

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