Brightside Review

Christian Rigg

In a Nutshell

Whereas other online therapy sites cast a wide net, Brightside stands out thanks to a laser-focus on treating anxiety and depression through evidence-based therapies like CBT and FDA-approved medication as needed. It also includes a bevy of self-care features and resources for learning skills and making steady progress.

pros

  • Focus on depression and anxiety
  • FDA-approved medication
  • Emphasis on evidence-based therapy (CBT, DBT, etc.)

cons

  • Not the cheapest online therapy option
  • No live messaging sessions (asynchronous only)

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Therapist/Counselor Screening Process

Therapists and clinicians hoping to work for Brightside are required to meet a number of criteria.

They must have a doctoral or masters degree in psychology or counselling from an accredited university or program and hold an unrestricted license (minimum one year) to practice in their state of residence. At least 2 years of experience providing evidence-based approaches, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), are required.

 This is important, as evidence-based therapies have been shown to more consistently positively impact patients than those whose methods remain untested in clinical settings. 

 Additionally, candidates must be able to devote at least 4 hours per week to video appointments, which helps ensure that patients can get responses from their therapists in a timely fashion. 

 All psychologists and counsellors must adhere to HIPAA regulations to protect their clients’ personal and medical data.

 Finally, Brightside places an emphasis on having excellent written therapy skills—this may not seem like a big deal, but delivering therapy over text messages and emails can actually differ substantially from doing so in a traditional office setting. This is an important distinction that not all online therapy platforms underscore when hiring. 

Get help with:

Brightside offers therapeutic and medical intervention for individuals suffering from depression and/or anxiety. There is a focus on clinical levels, but not to the exclusion of individuals whose symptoms can not yet be characterized as such. 

For this reason, users with depression and anxiety will benefit the most from Brightside’s platform. Those looking for a more general and informal accompaniment may not find what they’re looking for: relationship and couples counseling, life decisions and other mainstays of e-therapy are dealt with only as they apply to depression or anxiety. 

That said, individuals suffering from anxiety and/or depression will find a well-structured, evidence-based approach with proven efficacy.

Types of sessions available:

Brightside offers 3 main treatment channels. The Self-Care program is accessible to all members, and helps users to build emotional resilience and coping mechanisms via self-paced audio lessons and practice exercises for your agreed-upon therapy. It is meant to be used in combination with the Therapy and/or Medication plans.

Therapy membership includes one 30-minute video chat session per month (with additional sessions available à la carte; see pricing), and unlimited messaging. The messaging sessions, however, are asynchronous. That is, your therapist may not respond as you send your messages, but will answer you later on in the day or week (up to 72 hours later).

Medication membership include access to the Brightfinder™ service that matches users to specific FDA-approved medications with the help of a licensed psychiatrist. You and your therapist will use the Self-Care app to monitor your progress, and make adjustments as necessary. You can check in with your therapist with unlimited messaging, and video sessions as needed (costs extra; see pricing). 

Pricing & Special Offers

The Therapy plan costs $249 per month, with one video session included per month and additional sessions at $59 each. You also get unlimited messaging with your care provider and access to the Self-Care platform.

The Medication membership costs $95 per month, plus your pharmacy copay for those who have insurance or else $15 per medication. Your medication is delivered to your door each month. You also benefit from unlimited messaging and Self-Care access, with video sessions available at $59 each.

You can combine both plans for $299 per month ($45 savings), plus pharmacy copay or $15 per medication. 

Refunds are rarely issued, although you can cancel your monthly subscription at any time. What’s Unique About Brightside?

As previously mentioned, Brightside has made the decision to focus on depression and anxiety. While much can be said in favor of the broader approach others have taken, Brightside’s commitment to addressing the issue of depression and anxiety in the general population is admiral and also makes a good deal of sense.

By pooling the resources of clinical experts, psychiatrists and psychologists, Brightside has developed a formula that combines traditional evidence-based therapy with online FDA-approved prescriptions that works for a large portion of its users. Indeed, according to the website, 83% of users feel better within 12 weeks. That’s quite impressive compared with traditional therapy and is no doubt due in part to this decision to specialize.

Brightside also puts a lot of emphasis on monitoring one’s symptoms, which is a powerful tool for better understanding depression or anxiety and how it responds to treatment. This goes hand-in-hand with the company’s preference for evidence-based treatment and will enable your care-provider to closely follow your progress and adjust your treatment as time goes on. 

What Users Are Saying About  Brightside

“I am so very grateful to have found Brightside. This is the most hopeful I have felt in maybe two years. Brightside isn’t just working for me, it saved me. Brightside really turned my life around.” - Rachel B, user.

 “My life is so much better after starting with Brightside. My doctor truly cares about my well being and I’m just so grateful for this.” - Tyler K., user.

 “I finally feel like I’m in control of this process. I still have a lot of things to work on in my mental health, but this has been incredibly helpful, and I’m doing much better already.” - Mercedes B., user.

Scheduling live chats/video chats

Live video chats can be scheduled at any point during the month, and then continue on a monthly basis. 

You can schedule or reschedule an appointment from the Brightside Portal following subscription. Note that appointments must be rescheduled at least 24 hours in advance.

Brightside’s focus on long-term, evidence-based therapy, combined with the Self-Care app and personalized, self-paced audio lessons and exercises more or less precludes the need for frequent or spontaneous video-chats. You will typically communicate with your therapist via messaging, and keep a regularly-scheduled appointment once per month. 

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Customer Support

You can reach customer support by email or by telephone during business hours. If you need immediate assistance, text HOME to 741-741 or call 911. 

Bottom Line

Depression and anxiety affect tens of millions of people worldwide, and can sometimes feel insurmountable. It’s important to remember that both respond well to treatment, especially those that combine evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with medication. Brightside’s focused approach on treating depression and anxiety enables it to do just this, all with the convenience and accessibility inherent in online therapy.


Christian Rigg is a freelance writer who spills ink on everything from finance and technology to data science and writes for top10.com. Born and raised in Canada, he currently lives in the south of France.

We invest a lot of resources into bringing you high-quality content. However, the information on this site should not be treated as professional advice, be it medical or any other. Before choosing an online therapy service, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Please do not use this site if you or someone you care about are in a crisis or may be in danger. These resources can provide you with immediate help.

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