Because of its convenience, affordability, and flexibility, online therapy is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to connect with mental health professionals. It’s a good option for people who otherwise can’t get professional mental health support because of location, finances, or scheduling conflicts. And multiple studies have shown that online therapy sessions are just as effective as traditional in-person ones.
If you need therapy, there are plenty of online therapy platforms offering paid and free options. But not all of them are created equal, and choosing the right platform for your specific needs can seem daunting. To help you find the best online therapy provider, we’ve created this list of popular therapy services that only employ licensed mental health professionals trained in a variety of evidence-based techniques.
Here are our top 5 picks. Any of them can be a good choice whether you’re looking for the best therapy for depression and anxiety or need a therapist who can help you cope with self-esteem and relationship issues.
- Individual and couples therapy
- Licensed therapists with experience in different fields
- Unlimited text messaging and live video sessions
- Quick matching with therapists by Calmerry staff
- Multiple subscription plans to choose from
- User-friendly website with lots of good resources
- Friendly support team is available 24/7
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS
- Free self-help tools: mood tracker and journaling app
- Therapists can’t prescribe medication
- No free trial
Calmerry is a relatively new subscription-based online therapy platform that offers quality support services for a wide range of mental health problems. Calmerry clients can communicate with their therapist via text and audio messaging and live video sessions. Although you are matched with your therapist by Calmerry staff, you can switch to a different provider at no cost.
Calmerry providers are licensed in their states and trained in a wide variety of evidence-based therapies. They can help you address such mental health conditions as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other mental health concerns like relationship issues, grief and loss, and more. Calmerry is a good option for people who need depression therapy or are searching for a therapist experienced in addressing LGBTQ+ issues.
After you create an account, you get access to your personal portal. It’s a private space where you can message with their therapist, process your sessions, manage your subscription, and track therapy performance. All Calmerry users get access to their Reflection Helper. It’s a free chatbot designed to help you track your mood and create journal entries to self-reflect on your online therapy journey.
- Individual and couples therapy, teen counseling
- Multiple therapy options: text, audio, video sessions
- High professional standards for therapists
- Psychiatry options
- Medication management services
- Resource library
- Accepts some insurance plans
- Employee assistance programs available
- No group counseling
- Can only choose a therapist from algorithm-selected matches
Talkspace is one of the most popular online therapy sites. Its online counseling services include individual therapy, couples counseling, teen counseling, psychiatric services, and medication management. Talkspace partners with several health insurance plans and employee assistance programs (EAPs). That means that users can talk to a counselor online without breaking the bank.
The online platform offers access to more than 3,000 licensed mental health professionals who specialize in treating the most common conditions. They can provide support for people with different conditions or concerns, including burnout, stress, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, eating disorders, mood disorders, OCD, chronic illness, substance abuse, and more.
After users sign up and choose their subscription plan, they can pick their therapist from recommended suggestions. Each therapist has a bio that outlines their specialty, experience, and methodology. This information can be useful in deciding which one to pick. If an online provider isn’t a good match, switching is easy, and there are no additional fees. Users can communicate with their therapist in a private therapy room, which is open 24/7. The communication options include weekly 30-minute live video therapy sessions and exchanging unlimited audio, text, and video messages with an online therapist.
- Individual, couples, and teen counseling
- An extensive network of licensed counselors
- Therapists’ bios displayed on website before you sign up
- Multiple communication methods: video, audio, live chat, and unlimited messaging
- Users may request financial aid
- Mobile apps available for Android and iOS
- Switching therapists is easy
- Weekly group therapy sessions (optional)
- Therapists can’t prescribe medication
- Is not covered by insurance
Founded in 2013, BetterHelp touts itself as one of the world’s largest and most well-known online therapy providers. At the moment of writing, the platform’s network of therapists included more than 26,700 licensed online therapy providers who can help users with a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, relationships problems, trauma, grief, addiction, eating disorders, and more. Users can talk to their therapist however they feel comfortable via text messaging, phone calls, synchronous online chat, or live video sessions.
Prior to signing up, clients can browse through the detailed bios of the therapists that work with the company. This allows them to feel confident that they’ll be able to find an online provider they can build a therapeutic relationship with. Although the BetterHelp services are not covered by insurance, clients can apply for financial aid as they sign up.
There’s only one subscription plan that includes unlimited text or audio messaging with your online therapist and weekly 30- to 45-minute live video sessions. The online platform also offers more than 20 live interactive group seminars each week. All users have access to an online journal with some prompts where they can write down their thoughts and feelings.
- Online program based on cognitive behavioral therapy
- Unlimited messaging with your therapist
- Therapists respond to messages within 24 hours, Monday through Friday
- A toolbox of self-care resources you can use outside of session
- Users can pause their subscription
- 20% discount first month
- Doesn’t take insurance
- Limited to 30 minutes of live sessions per week
- No medication management services
Online-Therapy.com offers services focused exclusively on providing quality cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) online along with a useful suite of self-care tools. The company’s therapists use CBT to treat different mental health conditions, including anxiety, phobias, bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, insomnia, relationship issues, and more.
There are three subscription plans that differ in the number of interactive features. Still, all of them give users access to free self-care tools called a “toolbox” of resources. The toolbox includes self-led worksheets with daily feedback from your provider, an online journal with prompts to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, activity plan, different tests, yoga and meditation videos. You can communicate with your therapist during a 30-minute weekly live chat and via messaging.
As there is no set time limit for completing this online therapy program, you can work on your own pace. Your online therapist will provide you with feedback on your progress after you finish any of the interactive activities in the portal.
- Individual, couple therapy, and access to psychiatrists
- Schedule live video sessions
- Some therapists are available nights and weekends
- Medication management services
- It’s easy to schedule appointments
- Cost can vary depending on the provider
- Accepts some insurance
- No messaging options
- No free consultation sessions
Amwell is a digital healthcare platform that offers doctor consultations, medical guidance, and prescriptions as well as therapy and psychiatry services via video visits. Amwell’s online therapy services are available in all 50 states. Online therapy sessions at Amwell are 45 minutes and can be scheduled on weekends, holidays, or at night. The cost is the same no matter when patients talk with a therapist. Amwell uses an advanced encryption standard to keep its patients’ and therapists’ sessions and personal information private and secure. Amwell says it’s the same standard the US military uses to lock down its data.
The company’s online network of therapists includes more than 350 psychologists, social workers, and other mental health disciplines with a wide variety of specialties. All therapists on Amwell are licensed to practice in their state and trained in treatment techniques via telehealth. They provide care and counseling for a number of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma and PTSD, grief, panic attacks, insomnia, life transitions, LGBTQ counseling, and couples therapy.
There’s also a team of psychiatrists who provide online psychiatric assessments, evaluations, and treatment for people with anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, etc. Amwell’s psychiatrists have the ability to coordinate with a client’s primary care physician and other providers, helping them avoid duplicating tests and prescriptions and ultimately saving them time and money.
Online therapy allows you to connect with a licensed mental health professional from the comfort of wherever you are and get emotional support when you need it most. Online therapy platforms vary in what they offer so it’s important to know what your most important needs are. And in many cases, choosing a good online therapy platform is all about finding the right therapist you click with and who can provide you with guidance to help you achieve your goals.