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5 online therapy services to help with anxiety, depression and stress

Young man using online therapy

Research shows that online therapy can be face-to-face.

Amwell / Getty Images / iStockphoto

SMS, phone calls and video conferencing have made it easier than ever to get mental health care wherever you are – gone are the days when you had to sit on a therapy couch for help, especially during the pandemic. Whether you used to meet a therapist in person but no longer do so or if you always wanted to go but never took the time to go, it may now be a good time to talk to a licensed online therapist.

And compared to personal therapyOnline therapy can often be cheaper. “Therapists reduce costs by not having to rent offices and pay other costs for a separate workplace,” said Mark Pines, a licensed therapist and CEO and founder of OpenCounselling, a website that reviews online therapy platforms and helps connect people to free affordable counseling. . “They also eliminate the time and cost of commuting to work. The low cost, availability and extra convenience open up the therapy to a whole new audience.”

But not all online therapy platforms are the same. Below is a basic list of five popular HIPAA compliant therapy services that use only licensed and trained psychologists.


How it works: Onboarding is done with a chatbot, which tells you about the platform and then asks you some very basic questions. To answer, choose from the available answers and then you will immediately receive some possible therapist matches that can help with your specific needs.

Therapists: More than 5,000 licensed therapists, each with more than 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Each has been monitored by Talkspace and trained to use the platform.

Services: Talkspace offers three levels of services. With each one, you can send your therapist an unlimited number of text, video and audio messages and your therapist will respond daily, five days a week. With the more expensive levels, you also get either one or four live video sessions per month, but anyone can add live 30-minute video sessions at an additional cost.

Cost: $ 65- $ 99 per week is billed monthly. If you pay for three months in advance, you save 10% or pay for six months in advance and save 20%. Additional video sessions cost $ 65 per 30 minutes. Couple therapy is $ 99 / week, also billed monthly and entitles to discounts when you pay for a long-term plan.

There are no contracts and you can cancel your plan at any time. For financial support, contact your human resources department. Talkspace works with health plans to provide online therapy to employees through employee assistance programs and behavioral health effects.


How it works: You get a lot of questions that concern your gender identity, sexual orientation, mood and more that only take a minute or two to answer. You will then be matched with a therapist – usually within 24 hours or less. You can read a little about the advisor and then send messages to them or request a new match indicating any preferences, such as gender.

Therapists: More than 4,000 licensed and supervised psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW) or licensed professional counselors (LPC). Each therapist has a master’s or doctoral degree in their field, plus at least 3 years and 2000 hours of relevant experience.

Services: You get access to unlimited text-based messaging and live interactions every week that are planned in advance and implemented via phone, video or chat. BetterHelp provides more than 150 digital spreadsheets and modules to help you with your treatment and also provides free access to more than 20 group therapy sessions.

Cost: $ 80 per week if billed weekly; $ 40 to $ 70 per week if billed monthly; $ 45 per week if billed quarterly and $ 35 per week if billed annually. BetterHelp does not work with any insurance companies or employers. As a result, services are not usually covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, but you should check your specific plan details. You can cancel your BetterHelp membership at any time.


How it works: After creating a free account and adding your insurance information, if applicable, you can navigate Amwell’s entire platform, which in addition to therapy includes emergency and special care, such as dermatology. Click on the therapy tab and you will get a list of licensed therapists in your state with limited information about each one. From there, you can schedule your first meeting.

Therapists: Hundreds of licensed psychologists who have either a master’s degree or a doctorate in their field. Everyone is trained in technology for the prevention and treatment of telehealth. Amwell also offers online psychiatrists who can prescribe medications, as well as a national network of U.S. board-certified physicians to manage other medical needs.

Services: Live video sessions planned in advance. Therapists are available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, 7 days a week.

Cost: $ 85 to see someone with a master’s degree; $ 99 for a therapist with a doctorate. All sessions are 45 minutes. Amwell works with a variety of employers and leading health plans, so you may only pay a copy or whatever is needed to meet your deductible.

Dr. On Demand

How it works: Take a free mental health assessment to see if you would benefit from talking to a therapist or diving directly by creating a free account. Once you have done that, a list of available therapists will appear. Unfortunately, there is no way to search or sort by request. Schedule your first session with the counselor you choose.

Therapists: Hundreds of licensed psychologists and certified psychiatrists as well as doctors who can provide emergency or preventive care.

Services: Live video sessions planned in advance.

Cost: $ 79 for 25 minutes or $ 119 for 50 minutes. Dr. On Demand also accepts insurance and works with more than 400 employers.


How it works: Register for free and choose a reason for your visit. After answering a few questions, a list of available therapists and their bios is displayed, which you can sort by specialty, language and gender. Meetings must be requested; they are not booked immediately.

Therapists: Licensed mental health professionals and board certified physicians, including psychiatrists. All providers receive telecommunications health training and undergo background checks.

Services: Pre-ordered phone or video sessions.

Cost: $ 99 out of pocket. MDLive accepts insurance and also cooperates with a variety of employers and health plans.

Find a therapist the good old-fashioned way

If you do not want to go through a third-party platform, you can still work with an online therapist to access traditional therapy. Many now offer online options, in addition to their personal meetings, through their private methods. If you have insurance, you may be able to search for therapists through your provider’s portal.

Or browse databases such as the one maintained by Psychology Today, which allows you to narrow your choices according to various parameters, including gender, spoken language and whether counselors offer online therapy.

Whichever route you choose, keep these tips in mind when searching:

  • Make sure they are licensed professionals. Make sure the person you are considering is a licensed therapist (in your condition!) With good status. “Therapist and psychotherapist are not legally protected words in most states, which means that anyone can claim to be a therapist and offer services that may appear as therapy,” according to the APA. So ask for a license number and verify it with the license board in your state. A therapist can be a nurse, counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. In addition, there are many different types of therapy, from simple counseling to cognitive behavioral therapy, so you may want to do some research on the types of therapy sessions with an online counselor that benefit you the most.
  • Be honest and specific about what you are dealing with and what type of support you are looking for. “Sometimes customers will send me a description saying I want to improve my self-esteem,” says Kalai. “But that’s not enough for me to know if I’m right [therapist] to you.”
  • Ask your potential therapists questions about themselves and their practice. “Make sure you find a therapist who feels confident in treating your symptoms,” says Kalai. Especially at a distance – not all forms of therapy can be performed online. Stumped about what to ask them? Here is a list of questions to ask a therapist.

More support for your mental health

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goal.

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