Best Online Therapy Services 2019

Jennifer FritzByJennifer FritzOct. 24, 2019

Many people struggling with mental health issues are unable to receive the support they need. The reasons range from affordability to social stigma to simple proximity to adequate therapist availability. The advent of online therapy, however, has changed that, creating direct access to compassionate, licensed counselors, minus the obstacles that have historically kept many away.  

As 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 in-person sessions to be convenient.

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 top 10 online therapy providers.

Busy professionals dealing with anxiety
Married or engaged couples
Christians looking for clinical therapy
Teenagers and concerned parents
Long-term remote therapy
Compassionate LGBTQ support
Treating non-urgent anxiety
$40-$70per week
$40-$70per week
$40-$70per week
$40-$70per week
$65-$99per week
$40-$70per week
Starting at $32per week
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Video, phone, message, live chat
Texting, audio and video messages
Video, phone, message, live chat
Messages, live chats, worksheets
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
Licensed with 3,000+ clinical hours
PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC
MA, MS, Psy., State-licensed

Our Top 10 Best Online Therapy Services

  • 1

    Betterhelp

    Mental health support from anywhere
    Betterhelp
    • Best forBusy professionals dealing with anxiety
    • Pricing$40-$70per 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
    Read Betterhelp Full Review
  • 2

    ReGain

    Online relationship counseling
    ReGain
    • Best forMarried or engaged couples
    • Pricing$40-$70per 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
    Read ReGain Full Review
  • 3

    Faithful Counseling

    A faith-based approach to clinical therapy
    Faithful Counseling
    • Best forChristians looking for clinical therapy
    • Pricing$40-$70per 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
    Read Faithful Counseling Full Review
  • 4

    Teen Counseling

    Support for troubled or struggling teens
    Teen Counseling
    • Best forTeenagers and concerned parents
    • Pricing$40-$70per 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
    Read Teen Counseling Full Review
  • 5

    Talkspace

    Unlimited access to licensed therapists
    Talkspace
    • Best forLong-term remote therapy
    • Pricing$65-$99per 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
    Read Talkspace Full Review
  • 6

    Pride Counseling

    Online support for the LGBTQ community
    Pride Counseling
    • Best forCompassionate LGBTQ support
    • Pricing$40-$70per 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
    Read Pride Counseling Full Review
  • 7

    Online-Therapy.com

    Evidence-based CBT counseling
    Online-Therapy.com
    • Best forTreating non-urgent anxiety
    • PricingStarting at $32per week
    • Modes of communicationMessages, live chats, worksheets

    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 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. 

    Pros
    • Evidenced-based cognitive behavioral therapy counseling
    • Credentialed therapists
    • Supplemental activities and wellness exercises
    Cons
    • No video or phone options
    Read Online-Therapy.com Full Review

How Does Online Therapy Work?

Most online therapy companies offer 3 main types of counseling: live chat, video chat, and phone chat. This is in addition to the texting/writing that you can do anytime you want, day or night. Writing things out is popular with people who want to be able to think out their questions before asking. These tend to not be free-flowing conversations like with live chats, phone calls, or video sessions. Typically these chats take place in your personal therapy space or room, or via a special, secure email provided through the site, which can help safeguard your anonymity. 

Live chats are held when both the client and therapist are online at the same time. You write back and forth to each other in a secure space and see the entire conversation as it is playing out. It is similar to a video or phone call in that you are both live, but you are just writing to each other in real time.  

Video chat will require a reliable internet connection and will allow you to speak with a counselor face-to-face via video. It’s intimate, personal, and allows you to establish a rapport that can be more difficult to attain with the written word.

A phone session is processed through the service provider’s system, so phone numbers are not exchanged. It allows for a similar intimacy, but if you don’t want to sit at a computer or prefer not to be seen, a phone session may be a preferable live option. Phone sessions typically range from 30 to 55 minutes.

When you sign up for an online therapy service, you’ll typically be asked to take a short survey about yourself and what brought you to therapy. This is used to help the service match you with a counselor who may specialize in your areas of concern. If you’re seeking out online counseling for your child, you’ll answer some questions about what kind of support your child needs before sending him or her an invitation on your behalf.

How Much Does It Cost?

The prices vary by company, but typically online therapy services charge a monthly fee to use the service, and don't charge by the minute or hour or text. Prices tend to run from $40 to $70 a week for some, while others charge a monthly fee which can be as much as $120.  

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.  

How to Choose the Right Online Therapy Service

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 make sure they’re available through the service. If you’re interested in accessing the service on your smartphone, double check that the company has an app and that 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. Also find out if you’ll have the ability to remain anonymous to your counselor. Each site has a Q&A section, so make sure to read it carefully.  

Finally, an important thing to always remember is this: If you start working with a counselor that is not a good fit, find another! This is your journey and you need to make it work for you. 

Jennifer FritzByJennifer FritzOct. 24, 2019
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.