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By now we’ve all probably heard that therapy is a thing that could be good for us. But anyone who’s looked into it also knows 1) therapists don’t come cheap and 2) it can take ages to find the right person and time slot.

That’s why the recent explosion in online therapy platforms is such a game-changer. Virtual care is simply more accessible.

These services are generally cheaper than in-person therapy (not to mention the money you save by not traveling to appointments), and since it’s all done online, flexibility and ease are built in. Plus, research has shown that in most cases teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy.

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Photo via Alina Kvostikova / Stocksy

With all the lofty promises and clever marketing, how do you know which service is the best online therapy option for you?

Our medical team created a detailed rubric that scores teletherapy companies in four main categories.

Scoring system

  • Medical accuracy and integrity (#/20): This category assesses whether the health claims the company makes are supported by the current body of scientific evidence.
  • Objective indicators of trust (#/30): This score judges whether the company accurately validates the safety and quality of its services.
  • Industry and ethical standards (#/30): This score determines how medically reputable and accessible (to folks of all backgrounds and abilities) a company’s services are.
  • Company reputation (#/20): This score assesses the company’s overall reputation.
  • Overall score: Each company receives an overall score out of 100. We only recommend companies that “pass,” meaning they score at least 75 points.

On top of this, we break down the pros and cons of each service so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

Amwell

The uber-popular site Amwell prides itself on being easy to use — you can even schedule your first appointment day-of. Amwell accepts some insurances and offers both telemedicine and teletherapy. So if you need a dermatology checkup in addition to your therapy appointment, you don’t have to go far to find help.

Med team score: 90/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 30/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 20/30
  • Company reputation: 20/20

Pros

  • Providers receive a 4.9 average rating and 97 percent satisfaction from clients
  • Requires board licensed providers
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Accepts insurance
  • Also offers psychiatric care
  • According to reviews, it’s convenient, easy to use, and quick, and the therapists are high quality and good listeners

Cons

  • No known medical advisory board
  • No monthly subscription option
  • Some reports of poor customer service
  • Price seems to be climbing, based on past reviews
  • Seems to be more suited for short-term clients, as the site says the average length of treatment is 6 weeks

Quick facts

Price $99–$110/session without insurance
# of therapists on staff350+
Provider qualificationslicensed doctoral-level psychologists and master’s-level therapists (they also have additional training in telehealth practices)
How they match you search a database of providers
Communication platformsapp, website, phone, or video
SpecialtiesN/A

MDLive

MDLive is primarily a telemedicine service but also offers teletherapy. Your first session can be scheduled within days, and all sessions are secured using a sophisticated encryption method. MDLive accepts some insurances, and you can easily make appointments with psychiatrists, too, if medication is part of your treatment plan.

Med team score: 90/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 30/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 20/30
  • Company reputation: 20/20

Pros

Cons

  • No known medical advisory board
  • Cost without insurance may still be too high for some
  • No monthly subscription option

Quick facts

Price $108/session; $99 or less with insurance
# of therapists on staff1,000+
Provider qualificationspsychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage/family therapists, licensed clinical social workers
How they match you choose from a database of available therapists
Communication platformsaudio or video via computer or app
SpecialtiesN/A

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is a mainstay in online therapy due to its reasonable pricing and huge network of providers. Whether you need individual or couples’ counseling, you can find the right provider to help you — plus, you can chat in between sessions.

We should mention a 2020 article on the website Jezebel reported that BetterHelp shares personal data with social media companies. But it appears this practice isn’t unique to BetterHelp, and the company is quoted as saying all its data practices are legal.

Med team score: 78/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 25/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 18/30
  • Company reputation: 15/20

Pros

  • HIPAA compliant
  • Therapists accessible between video sessions through the messenger feature
  • Financial aid available
  • Convenient monthly billing
  • Offers webinars on self-care topics

Cons

  • No medical review team
  • Clinician vetting process is not very strong, according to our medical team
  • Users report financial aid is temporary
  • Does not accept insurance

Quick facts

Price $80/week, billed every 4 weeks ($320)
# of therapists on staff11,000+
Provider qualificationspsychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and board licensed professional counselors
How they match you After completing a questionnaire about your preferences and what you need help with, you will be matched with a provider. If you want to switch, you can choose from a database of available therapists.
Communication platformsvideo, audio, and texting via computer or app
SpecialtiesN/A

Talkspace

Founded in 2012, Talkspace is one of the most recognizable brands in teletherapy — more than a million people have used it. Whether you’d prefer to chat with your therapist by messages only or through a combination of audio, video, and live sessions, there’s a Talkspace plan for you.

Med team score: 85/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 25/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 25/30
  • Company reputation: 15/20

Pros

  • Regardless of the plan, your therapist will respond to messages daily, 5 days a week
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Accepts some insurance, and insurance may cover the full cost
  • Providers are vetted by NCQA standards (a third-party org that makes sure healthcare companies provide affordable, quality care)
  • Features within the app let you track clinical progress and goals

Cons

  • No medical advisory board
  • You don’t get to browse as many therapists before you choose one
  • Under review by the Clinical Social Work Association due to ethical issues with online therapy and inaccurate terms

Quick facts

Price $260–$396/month (depending on the type of plan)
# of therapists on staff7,000+
Provider qualificationslicensed in their state of practice and have at least 3 years of clinical experience
How they match you You’ll chat with a Matching Agent who will ask you some questions and then give you a few therapists to choose from.
Communication platformsvideo, audio, and texting via computer or app
SpecialtiesN/A

ReGain

Looking for some help with your relationship? This platform specializes in couples’ therapy. You’ll share a “room” with your partner and therapist where you can send unlimited messages in between your live weekly sessions.

Med team score: 90/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 30/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 20/30
  • Company reputation: 20/20

Pros

  • 4.7 out of 5 star average rating in the Apple App Store and Google Play store
  • Uses a highly secure encryption method to protect users’ data and information
  • Counselors are trained in couples’ therapy
  • No extra charge for two-person counseling

Cons

  • Since the service’s specialty seems to be couples’ counseling, it might not be the best option if you’re looking for individual counseling
  • No medical advisory board
  • The platform doesn’t support three-way calls or videos, so the couple needs to be physically together for those sessions
  • Seems very mono-normative and may not be suitable for people with multiple partners
  • Does not qualify for court-mandated couples’ therapy

Quick facts

Price $80/week, billed every 4 weeks ($320)
# of therapists on staff4,000+
Provider qualificationspsychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors
How they match you questionnaire
Communication platformsvideo, audio, and texting via computer or app
Specialtiescouples’ therapy

Dr on Demand

Dr on Demand is similar to Amwell and MDLive in that it offers both behavioral health and physical health services. Within behavioral health, there are options for therapy and psychiatry, in case you need medication management.

Med team score: 90/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 30/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 20/30
  • Company reputation: 20/20

Pros

  • Patients rate the service 4.9 out of 5 stars
  • You can get an appointment within a few days
  • Therapists have an average of 15 years of experience
  • Some insurances accepted

Cons

Quick facts

Price $129 for a 25-minute session, $179 for a 50-minute session
# of therapists on staffnot specified
Provider qualificationslicensed in the state they practice in
How they match you with a therapistbrowse a list of providers
Communication platformsvideo via computer or app
SpecialtiesN/A

7 Cups

This platform is a mix of online therapy and peer volunteer-based chat. The company calls itself “The World’s Largest Emotional Support System” and has more than 300,000 trained “listeners.”

Chatting with volunteers isn’t a substitute for seeing a trained therapist, but at $33 per week, this is a very affordable way to seek emotional support. Users seem to be more pleased with the true online therapy than with the peer chat functions.

Med team score: 80/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 25/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 20/30
  • Company reputation: 15/20

Pros

  • Quick emotional support from peers
  • Ability to support others yourself
  • HIPAA compliant
  • One of the most affordable options
  • Therapists respond once or twice a day, Monday through Friday

Cons

  • Mixed reviews online — some people say the program was unhelpful and actually harmful
  • Peer chats do not equal therapy
  • No medical advisory board
  • Small network of professional therapists to choose from

Quick facts

Price $150/month
# of therapists on staff180
Provider qualificationsnot specified
How they match you with a therapistnot specified
Communication platformstext messaging via computer or app
SpecialtiesN/A

Pride Counseling

If you’re a part of the LGBTQ communities and looking for a counselor who really understands you, this is the online therapy platform for you. The sign-up process includes questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, and pronouns.

Med team score: 95/100

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: 20/20
  • Objective indicators of trust: 30/30
  • Industry and ethical standards: 25/30
  • Company reputation: 20/20

Pros

  • Counselors are knowledgeable about LGBTQ issues
  • Affordable compared to other options
  • Uses a highly secure encryption method to protect users’ data and information

Con

  • No medical advisory board
  • No therapy available for minors
  • Counselors can’t provide a letter of support for HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for their clients, which is a critical issue for some trans people

Quick facts

Price $60–$80/week, billed every 4 weeks
# of therapists on staff3,000+
Provider qualificationspsychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors
How they match youquestionnaire
Available communication platformsaudio, video, or text via computer or app
SpecialtiesLGBTQ

Our med team identified the following sites and search engines as other reputable ways to find a therapist, depending on who you are and what your specific needs are.

Therapy for Black Girls

This online space is dedicated to helping Black women find therapists who understand them. The site actively works to break the stigma surrounding Black women seeking therapy.

It has an easy-to-use directory for both online and in-office visits, including an insurance filter. It also has an online community called “The Yellow Couch Collective” that acts as a support group for Black women.

Open Path Collective

This directory is super handy for finding affordable therapy. Individual sessions cost between $30 and $60. You can look for either in-office or virtual options, and all the therapists have a license from an accredited institution and pass a peer-reviewed application process.

Maven Clinic

This directory caters specifically to women and families. It has a wide range of clinicians to choose from, with multiple specialties and languages. At $70 per session, it’s priced lower than most traditional appointments. But you can only schedule appointments 1 week in advance.

Therapy Den

This site has a comprehensive listing of therapists and an easy-to-use filtering system so you can search by specialty, location, insurance, and other factors. It also offers a variety of services, including individual therapy for both adults and children, couples’ therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.

Zencare

This women-led company offers a variety of services, including individual therapy, premarital counseling, art therapy, and couples’ therapy. It also has a handy filtering tool that makes it easy to find someone who lines up with your needs.

The biggest downside is that this service is available in only nine U.S. states.

There are many reputable online therapy options with literally tens of thousands of therapists to choose from. With so many options, you’re sure to find the best online therapy fit for you.

Remember, you can always try another therapist or even another therapy platform if the first one doesn’t work out. It’s possible for you to feel better — we promise.

CompanyPriceSpecialty # of therapists on staffCommunication platforms
Amwell $99–$110/session; less with insurancebroad350+app, website, phone, or video
MDLive$108/session; $99 or less with insurancebroad1,000+audio or video via computer or app
BetterHelp$80/week, billed every 4 weeks ($320)broad11,000+audio, video, or text via computer or app
Talkspace$260/month, $316/month, or $396/monthbroad7,000+audio, video, or text via computer or app
ReGain$80/week, billed every 4 weeks ($320)marriage and couples’ therapy4,000+audio, video, or text via computer or app
Dr on Demand$129 for a 25-minute session, $179 for a 50-minute sessionbroadN/Avideo via computer or app
7 Cups$150/monthbroad180text messaging via computer or app
Pride Counseling$60–$80/week, billed every 4 weeksLGBTQIA+ 3,000+text, audio, or video messaging via computer or app