Acknowledging that you need help is the first step to healing. While you may be able to access therapy within your area, finding a therapist that you can trust and connect with can be hard. The pandemic has made it even harder to find these services physically, and when you can, you may have to take time off your workday to see a therapist—this why online therapy exists.
Finding the best online therapy can save you time and money while you get to speak to professionals from the comfort of your home. In this article, we have compiled a list of the therapists online that you can reach out to.
BetterHelp - Best Livechat sessions
BetterHelp is a leading online therapy site, with over four thousand licensed professionals. They focus on patients with mental issues in the early stages and have reported having helped over one million patients. Their carefully selected team of health professionals are required to have at least 2000 hours of hands-on experience.
The BetterHelp Platform is built to ensure patients remain anonymous throughout the process. As a result, you are required to sign up with a nickname and not your real name. You will also be required to submit emergency contacts just in case there is a need to contact someone around you. You will then take a quick assessment, which will provide information that will be used to match you with a suitable counselor.
Once you are matched, you can still switch to a different counselor if you are not happy with one handling you. A secure chatroom will be provided where you and your therapist can talk to the therapist in real-time. Charges at BetterHelp start from $65 a week during the first month and will go down to between $30 to $80 a week from the second month, depending on the length of your subscription.
As far as Live Chat Sessions are concerned, BetterHelp gets a five star.
Talkspace - Most user-friendly
Talkspace is a 24-hour online therapy site that offers a variety of subscription plans to patients.
The first plan allows patients to contact their therapists anytime via mobile phone. Therapists and counselors check and respond to their messages twice daily, five days a week. This comes at the cost of $260 per month.
Live sessions are only available to premium subscribers. This includes one live session monthly as well as daily responses from therapists to queries you ask. This plan costs $316 a month.
The final plan includes four live phone and video sessions every month as well as therapists responding daily for five days a week to questions you ask. This plan costs $396 a month.
The initial process involves a free consultation with a matching agent who will assess you. You will then choose a plan. Once you have successfully subscribed, you will be assigned a therapist and therapy begin.
Besides the regular counseling services, Talkspace offers tailored services for teens and couples, with a large number of therapists on board, it is easy to find a therapist that will handle your needs accordingly.
Regain - Best for Couples
Relationships can sometimes get rocky, and Regain is the place for you in those trying times. Regain is a site that specializes in online counseling for couples. They focus on various relationship challenges, such as infidelity and communication issues.
In the initial process, you are allowed to state your preferences for the counselor and goals. This could include such preferences as a male or female counselor, younger or older therapist, and so on. Regain will then match a therapist directly to you.
Their team includes trained and licensed professionals with at least three years of experience and two thousand hours of hands-on experience. Every counselor in their team specializes in a specific area of interest in relationship counseling.
Couples create one account where they can both communicate with the therapist. All written communication is open to three parties. You can, however, schedule a private session separately if you wish to do so.
The downside is the chats aren’t in real-time. You will have to leave a message and get a response from your therapist later. Response time tends to vary depending on the counselor. You can also schedule a video or voice call.
Sessions cost between $40 to $70.
7 Cups of Tea - Best for Free Group Support.
7 cups of tea is a unique online therapy site that allows for free talks through chats and videos. The listeners are trained volunteers who you can chat with anonymously. The site also offers support group sessions and chat rooms that deal with specific issues, for instance, depression, anxiety, and LGBTQ+
Another unique feature is that they have listeners specifically for teens. They additionally provide chat rooms for teens looking to join a support group.
The site allows you to speak to your therapist anytime during the day. They will then respond, and both of you should ultimately create a routine. This site works on both mobile and desktop.
You should, however, note that the listeners are not necessarily trained therapists. It is a fantastic site for people who just want to talk.
iCounseling - Most Flexible
iCounseling is a client-friendly online therapy site that gives an all-in-one package of video and live chat sessions with unlimited access to the therapist. A flat fee is charged that can be weekly or monthly, and with that, you can start your sessions.
They have over four thousand licensed therapists on board with at least two thousand hours of hands-on experience. You are free to talk to your therapist via face to face video conferencing, chat room, or phone calls.
Sessions with your therapist can be scheduled for whatever time is convenient for you. To sign up, you can use a nickname for anonymity. You first need to answer a couple of questions and choose a username or password.
Their services range from between $45 to $70 weekly and are billed weekly.
Factors to consider when choosing therapy services online:
Pricing models vary from site to site. Some charge on a weekly, while others charge monthly. Choose a site that has a pricing model that will not be strenuous to you.
Communication models vary from one site to another. Some websites offer video therapy sessions, while others provide chat room sessions only. It is important to note that therapy will only be useful if you can communicate well. Choose a site that has the communication method you prefer at a rate you can afford.
Area of Specialization
Some sites only focus on couples, others on teens, some are general, and even others on the LGBTQ+ community. Get to know the criteria they use to choose therapists, such as years of experience and specific experience in dealing with your needs.
Some general sites will match you to a therapist who offers services to your specific needs, find out about that.
Can you switch therapists?
You may find out after a few sessions that your sessions aren’t progressing as you had anticipated. In such a case, you may want to be connected to a different therapist. Find out before signing up if the platform permits that.
Can you cancel your therapy subscription easily?
It is essential to find out if you can get billed at any point if you choose to discontinue the service. This will allow you to save money if you feel the sessions aren’t useful. This should be possible from your account without the need to contact customer service. The site should clearly state that you can cancel.
Benefits of online therapy
- Efficiency: They are efficient as one can get help wherever they are at any time.
- Confidentiality: Anonymity allows many people who are not brave enough to open up.
- Affordability: You can choose a plan that suits your budget and needs. The cost is often lower than real therapy visits
- No Boundaries: You can get services from psychologists and therapists that are not necessarily from around your area.
Cons of Online Therapy
- Insurance companies may not chip in with the costs.
- Some sites do not provide for real-time response in times of crisis and may online respond when it is too late.
- Some states limit out-of-state providers.
- It may not be useful for advanced psychiatric cases.
- It may not be efficient as it may miss some clues like body language which may be helpful in the treatment process
- In some cases, the systems may not provide the privacy and confidentiality needed.
Finding the site that offers the best online therapy from this list boils down to whether personal tastes and preferences. While your needs and motivation for seeking therapy might vary from other persons, getting the best and wholesome response is what matters.
Each of the sites listed has excellent potential; I’ll, however, gives BetterHelp the win. Their services are wholesome and cater to different needs. The LiveChat sessions give BetterHelp great mileage from the crowd.
Their pricing is on the same price range as some of the other top sites, so service is what sets them apart. I also like that they charge a one-for-all pricing instead of different plans for different clients.