The Best Online Therapy Sites of 2020 - Get the Support You Need

Jennifer Fritz

For those who can’t afford to see a therapist, who suffer from agoraphobia or similar anxiety issues, or are hesitant to embrace the experience, online therapy may posit a more accessible path to continued support. 

Read on for our list of the top 8 best online therapy websites.

1. Best overall: Betterhelp

2. Best for couples: ReGain

3. Best for Christians: Faithful Counseling

4. Best for non-urgent anxiety: Online-Therapy.com

5. Best for therapy on the go: Amwell

6. Best for teenagers: Teen Counseling 

7. Best for long-term therapy: Talkspace

8. Best for LGBTQ support: Pride Counseling

9. Best for complete discretion: HealthSapiens



Busy professionals dealing with anxiety
Christians looking for clinical therapy
Teenagers and concerned parents
Long-term remote therapy
Treating non-urgent anxiety
Complete discretion and privacy
Married or engaged couples
Compassionate LGBTQ support
Therapy on the go
$60-$80per week
$60-$80per week
$60-$80per week
$65-$100per week
FREE access
$149/month
$60-$80per week
$60-$80per week
$99-$110per week
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Texting, audio and video messages
Video, phone, text chat sessions
Phone, email, live video
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video sessions
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
Licensed with 3,000+ clinical hours
MA, MS, Psy., State-licensed, fully HIPAA compliant
Licenses in every state for many kinds of professionals
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
Licensed,with master’s or doctoral degree

Our Top 10 Best Online Therapy Services

  • 1

    Betterhelp

    Mental health support from anywhere
    Betterhelp
    • Best forBusy professionals dealing with anxiety
    • Pricing$60-$80per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, message, live chat

    Betterhelp’s mission is to foster easier access to professional therapy and mental health support. With thousands of licensed therapists on call for remote counseling via video, messaging, and phone, they seem to be succeeding.

     Outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and the New York Times have written about Betterhelp, and for good reason: it’s arguably the largest and most trustworthy of online therapy services. To start with, all of its therapists are accredited and licensed therapists. They’re required to have at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. This is an important distinction, as Betterhelp clients know they are receiving care from therapists who are thoroughly trained and experienced in counseling. 

    Signing up entails a short questionnaire about your background and current issues after which you’ll be paired with a counselor. Sessions can be conducted via message, live chat, phone, and video conferencing, all of which take place in a private online “room” dedicated to the client and counselor. Betterhelp’s therapists are trained in a wide variety of issues including anxiety, depression, relationship counseling, and eating disorders.

    Pros
    • Licensed PsyDs, LCSWs, and LPCs
    • Sessions by chat, phone, and video
    • High privacy standards
    Cons
    • Typically not covered by insurance
    • Weekly pricing
  • 2

    Faithful Counseling

    A faith-based approach to clinical therapy
    Faithful Counseling
    • Best forChristians looking for clinical therapy
    • Pricing$60-$80per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, message, live chat

    Blending therapy with some spiritual guidance, Faithful Counseling provides Christians with a full-spectrum, faith-based approach to mental health. 

    Faithful Counseling is a logical avenue for those who want traditional support but want to make sure their faith is part of the therapeutic process. All of its therapists are not only fully licensed and accredited in their field, but practicing Christians committed to fusing clinical therapy with biblical-rooted beliefs. By using evidence-based practices in tandem with biblical wisdom, their goal is to both draw from and strengthen clients’ emotional and psychological wellbeing.

    Sessions may be conducted over the phone or through video, messages, or live chats. Each client and therapist will have their own online “room,” a private portal for sessions, messages, questions, and check-ins.

    Pros
    • Evidence-based therapy from licensed counselors
    • Counselors are practicing Christians
    • Sessions via video, phone, message, and live chat
    Cons
    • Niche target audience
  • 3

    Teen Counseling

    Support for troubled or struggling teens
    Teen Counseling
    • Best forTeenagers and concerned parents
    • Pricing$60-$80per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, message, live chat

    Teen Counseling connects teens aged 13 to 19 with licensed therapists who can help them work through anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other age-specific issues. 

    A partner site of BetterHelp, Teen Counseling is privy to the same sophisticated platform and credentialed therapists. That means that after signing up, the teen is matched with a licensed therapist and provided a designated “room” where they can communicate through video, live chat, phone calls, and messaging. All therapists are vetted and required to have 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. 

    Teen Counseling also makes it easy for parents to initiate the process for their children. They can register, speak to and approve the therapist, and stay up to date on any needed interventions. 

    Pros
    • Licensed and accredited therapists
    • Specializes in teen mental health
    • Parents must give permission to begin therapy
    Cons
    • Weekly pricing
  • 4

    Talkspace

    Unlimited access to licensed therapists
    Talkspace
    • Best forLong-term remote therapy
    • Pricing$65-$100per week
    • Modes of communicationTexting, audio and video messages

    With more than 5,000 licensed therapists—and nods from the Wall Street Journal and Glamour Magazine—Talkspace has made a name for itself as a premier destination for remote and internet-based therapy. 

    One major appeal of Talkspace is its fluid platform. Chat rooms, mobile apps, and an unlimited messaging option—including guaranteed daily responses from your therapist—ensure seamless support. Additionally, the site offers specific plans such as couples therapy and a teen counseling service, as well as therapists whose specialties range from cognitive behavioral therapy to psychodynamic, mindfulness, and numerous other approaches.   

    Talkspace’s pricing goes by a flat weekly rate that’s easy to understand and allows clients to choose an approach that best meets their needs and schedules. There are no contracts, and clients can discontinue their plan at any time.

    Pros
    • Weekly subscription plans
    • Variety of therapeutic approaches
    Cons
    • May not be covered by insurance
    • Not as intimate as face-to-face
  • 5

    Online-Therapy.com

    Evidence-based CBT counseling
    Online-Therapy.com
    • Best forTreating non-urgent anxiety
    • PricingFREE access
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, text chat sessions

    Online-therapy.com’s counselors utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and its suite of self-assessment worksheets, activities, and journaling to help clients overcome their mental health struggles. 

    Unlike other online therapy services, this fully HIPAA compliant platform isn’t built solely around therapy sessions. Instead, clients are given CBT worksheets and activities to complete throughout the week, which are discussed during 30-minute consultations with their therapists. While more autonomous than other services, this approach is in line with traditional CBT, which emphasizes independent work in tandem with a therapist to help identify and root out illogical fears and anxieties. 

    Each section in Online-therapy.com’s 8-section program includes a suite of videos, worksheets, and diary-activities. Throughout the process, your therapist is available for feedback and assistance. Therapists are available 8 hours a day on weekdays for appointments and check-ins. Online-therapy.com is currently offering free access to its platform due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Pros
    • Evidenced-based cognitive behavioral therapy counseling
    • Credentialed therapists
    • Supplemental activities and wellness exercises
    Cons
    • Therapists work only on weekdays
  • 6

    HealthSapiens

    Blockchain unbreakable privacy
    HealthSapiens
    • Best forComplete discretion and privacy
    • Pricing$149/month
    • Modes of communicationPhone, email, live video

    Health Sapiens takes the online health industry to a new level, using blockchain technology to provide super affordable healthcare of any kind to anyone in the US, anytime. Private therapy with network availability, privacy, and doctors in almost every field, including licensed psychiatrists and general care physicians, so you can get your prescriptions though the platform too. There are EMR (electronic medical records), speeding up and streamlining your treatment. Each therapist will have access to your previous sessions, notes, and medical information allowing you comprehensive counseling without long wait times or repeat information. 


    All physician ratings are based on a peer-to-peer rating system, allowing patients to rate their experiences with a doctor, publish a review, and share it with prospective patients. It’s super easy to schedule appointments with your chosen practitioner by phone or via the online member portal. A care coordinator will then call you, update your records, and assign you a practitioner. You can speak to a therapist by phone, email, or live video call. 

    Pros
    • Available 24/7 from anywhere
    • Large network of licensed professionals in every state
    • Blockchain privacy ensured
    Cons
    • Can’t choose your own therapist
    • Not specific to only mental health
  • 7
    Online relationship counseling
    ReGain
    • Best forMarried or engaged couples
    • Pricing$60-$80per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, message, live chat

    Regain is an online therapy service dedicated to relationship counseling. Individuals and couples can connect to licensed and accredited psychologists, family therapists, and clinical social workers to discuss any and all issues relating to their personal relationships.

    Though Regain is dedicated to relationship counseling, individuals often partake on their own. If they wish, they can invite their partner to join their sessions. Clients and counselors are given their own online “room” where all communications occur.

    Pros
    • Licensed and accredited counselors
    • Focus on marriage and relationship counseling
    • Secure communication
    Cons
    • For couples wanting video sessions you must be in same location
  • 8

    Pride Counseling

    Online support for the LGBTQ community
    Pride Counseling
    • Best forCompassionate LGBTQ support
    • Pricing$60-$80per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo, phone, message, live chat

    Pride Counseling is an online oasis dedicated to members of the LGBTQ community looking for support or therapy. Its PhD/PsyDs, LMFTs, and LCWSs boast 2,000 hours each of hands-on experience and specialize in issues relating to LGBTQ issues. 

    Sessions can be conducted by phone, video, message, or live chat, and take place in designated “rooms” that are only accessible to the client and therapist. Clients can use any of these methods throughout their time with their therapist as long as schedules permit. This flexible platform allows them to send messages, communicate in real time, converse through video, and save conversations for future reference.

    Pros
    • Video, phone, message, and chat
    • Secure communication portal
    Cons
    • Narrow scope of practice
  • 9
    Mental and emotional support wherever you go
    Amwell
    • Best forTherapy on the go
    • Pricing$99-$110per week
    • Modes of communicationVideo sessions

    Though AmWell’s services resemble those of other online therapy platforms, there are some distinctions that set it apart from others in the growing field. 

    To start with, AmWell is a whole-health platform, meaning that in addition to therapists it also hosts online doctors, pediatricians, nutritionists, and psychiatrists. On the one hand this means that the site isn’t exclusively dedicated to therapy, but on the other, it means that there is space for crossover, for instance if you need to consult a psychiatrist you can do so on AmWell, and even get prescriptions to supplement counseling. Additionally, since AmWell is used for medical checkups and other clinical uses, its video platform is HIPAA-compliant, reliable, and has solid privacy and security measures in place. 

    As far as the therapists themselves, AmWell offers licensed practitioners at the doctoral and master’s levels. The therapists specialize in a wide range of approaches, including CBT therapy, support for anxiety, depression, life transitions, LGBTQ counseling, and couples therapy. Sessions run 45-minutes and are done through secured and reliable video technology. Lastly, AmWell offers an exceptional mobile app that allows clients to speak to their counselors even when they’re away from home. 

    Pros
    • Licensed therapists at the master’s and doctoral levels
    • HIPAA-compliant video platform
    • Psychiatric services available as well
    Cons
    • Site isn’t exclusively dedicated to therapy
    • Payment required upfront
Frequently Asked Questions
Is online therapy cheaper?
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Online therapy is significantly cheaper than in-person therapy. Since therapists don't need to charge for office space, they usually offer sessions at a reduced rate, making it a more affordable option that traditional therapy.
Are online therapists legit?
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In general, yes. Most online therapy platforms require their therapists and counselors to have proper licensing and credentials. Online therapists are typically licensed, insured, and qualified to conduct therapy online and in person.
Can I get therapy online?
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Yes. Today's top online therapy platforms offer legitimate therapy and counseling services from licensed therapists. Online therapy sessions are usually conducted via video, phone, and chat.

What Is Online Therapy and How Does It Work?

Like the name suggests, online therapy is a term used to describe mental health counseling that you can receive from the comfort of your own home in front of your PC or right at your fingertips on your smartphone.

Often referred to as “e-therapy” or “internet therapy,” online therapy isn’t meant for people who are in the midst of a mental health emergency or who need urgent medical care. Instead, it’s a way for people to get easy, convenient, and reliable counseling that tends to be much cheaper than in-person therapy. In addition, it can also be a real help for people who have mobility issues or simply live too far away from a licensed therapist for it to be convenient.

Why Experts Are Pushing for a Huge Expansion of Online Therapy

One of the biggest benefits to online therapy is its ability to reach people who otherwise couldn’t make it to a therapist’s office in person. David Kaplan, the chief professional officer of the American Counseling Association, told The Atlantic, “Online counseling can be especially useful with individuals in rural America, as a great many rural counties do not have a single licensed mental-health professional.”  The magazine also mentions patients with agoraphobia, or those whose anxiety limits their mobility, as other potential benefactors of online therapy.

The web may just be catching on to this phenomenon, but the US military is no stranger to the benefits of distance therapy. For more than 20 years, the military has been using a form of teletherapy to help soldiers work through anxiety and PTSD. 

A recent study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy compared the effects of remote therapy compared and traditional face-to-face counseling. Researchers chose 132 military veterans with PTSD and provided each with 10-12 prolonged exposure therapy sessions. Half of the veterans were given face-to-face counseling at a VA center while the other half’s sessions were conducted by video conference from the comfort of the patients’ homes. 

“Our effects with PTSD were just as good in person vs. home based telehealth,” psychologist Ron Acierno, who led the study, told the Huffington Post. While those who were given at-home treatments were less prone to completing the program than those who visited the VA center, Acierno and his colleagues were surprised and inspired by the lack of success between the two modes of therapy. 

There’s been less pushback than you might expect from the psychology community, given that online therapy services could pose a real threat to traditionalists in the field. The American Psychological Association (APA) has covered the topic extensively, offering a hopeful, yet cautious endorsement of what it sees as a new avenue to helping those who need it find support. 

With some caveats, the Internet continues to be extremely useful for disseminating health and mental health information,” the APA said back in 2001. A more recent APA article, titled “A Growing Wave of Online Therapy,” celebrated online therapy’s potential and stated that “the onus is on psychologists to make sure they comply with federal and state laws.”

How Can You Connect With Your Online Therapist?

Most online therapy companies offer 3 main types of counseling: real-time chat, video chat, and phone chat.

Email and text message counseling is popular with people who want to be able to think out their questions and write them out before asking. These tend to not be free-flowing conversations like with phone or video chats, but being able to write out what you want to say can be preferable. Typically these chats are done through your personal email to a special, secure email provided through the site, which can help safeguard your anonymity.

Video chat will require a reliable internet connection and will allow you to speak with a counselor face-to-face, if not in the same room. It’s intimate, personal, and allows you to establish a rapport that can be more difficult with the written word.

Real time chat puts you into a secure line and allows you to chat back and forth with a counselor in real time. Think of it like having your own personal, private chat room with a counselor who’s there to listen to what ails you.

When you sign up for an online therapy service, you’ll typically be asked to take a short quiz to determine which sorts of issues you’re dealing with, which can be used to help the service match you with a counselor who may specialize in your concerns. If you’re seeking out online counseling for your child, the quiz will ask you a lot of questions about what you think the child needs help with, before sending the child an invitation on your behalf.

How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?

The prices vary by company, but typically online therapy services charge a monthly fee to use the service, and don't charge by minute or hour or text. For instance, BetterHelp , one of the bigger names in the industry, charges a flat fee of between $40-$70 per week, including all messaging, chats, phone, and video sessions.

These memberships tend to be quite flexible, and allow you to quit at any time.

Most online counseling is not covered by insurance, so while it’s cheaper than in-person therapists, you will typically have to pay out of pocket.

Choosing Your Therapist

There are several important things to ask your therapist when you are first introduced to each other. Some of these questions might include: 

  • When and how often do you typically respond?
  • Do you work evenings and weekends?
  • What is your therapeutic approach?
  • What are your areas of expertise?

So what should you do if you get matched with a therapist that you don't like? If you don’t feel connected to your therapist, most sites give you the option to request a new one. While you shouldn’t necessarily play switcharoo each time you dislike or disagree with your counselor’s input, you should make sure you are working with someone you trust — and who you can relate to. It shouldn’t take too long to be comfortable, but it does take some time to build a working, reliable and dependable relationship with your therapist.   

However, therapy takes work and commitment, so remember that it is your counselors’ job to challenge you sometimes and hold you accountable to yourself. The process can be uncomfortable, and that oftentimes means you are making progress. Be sure to distinguish the difference between someone who is inspiring you to confront what you need to work on while holding you accountable with someone who you are unable to connect with. 

Choosing the Right Online Therapy Service for You

Before you sign up for an online therapy service, do a little research. Take a look at how the company screens its counselors and if their certification checks out. You can also look at online testimonials by customers to get an idea about the quality of service.

You’ll want to decide which types of counseling you want—chat, video, or email—and if they’re available through the service. If you’re interested in using the service on your smartphone, see if the company has an app and if you’re allowed to have sessions with your counselor by chat on your phone.

In addition, check what type of security they provide and if your chats will be encrypted, and if you’ll have the ability to remain anonymous to your counselor.

Look at the price also, and see if it fits your budget. In addition, see if you can quit the membership at any time, or if its binding.

Jennifer Fritz
Jennifer Fritz is a Licensed Social Worker. She received her MSW and PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has been an online therapist for several years. She specializes in areas such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, self-esteem and abuse.