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Virtual therapy has some pretty sweet perks. It offers the same mental health benefits as a face-to-face therapy sesh with the added bonus of staying in bed. Since finding the right therapist can feel overwhelming, we did the research for you.
Here’s a rundown of the top 10 virtual therapy services of 2021.
- virtual reality device (yes, really)
- video chat service (e.g. Zoom or Skype)
Whether you already benefit from in-person therapy or you’re looking to set up your first appointment, virtual therapy could be a good fit.
It’s extra helpful if you’re trying to social distance during a pandemic (oh hi, 2020) and a great resource for folks who have disabilities, chronic illness, or limited access to psychotherapists due to geographic location.
The perks of going virtual
Cost. Virtual therapy can be cheaper than in-person therapy. In fact, some services are free! You’ll also save on travel costs.
Convenience. You don’t have to leave your house (or even change out of your PJs). Plus you won’t stress over running late, traffic, etc.
More options. You don’t have to stick to a provider who lives in your area. You can choose from a much wider range of therapists! (Though you do have to choose one that’s licensed to practice in your state).
In short: Yes! Most research shows virtual therapy is just as effective as face-to-face therapy. A 2014 study found there was no significant difference between online and in-person therapy. Both forms of therapy resulted in significant symptom changes in patients.
Other research also suggests remote therapy is equal to face-to-face therapy. A 2018 study found online therapy had high rates of satisfaction among participants.
PSA: Everyone is different. Some peeps prefer face-to-face therapy and that’s OK!
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to #TeamTherapy or a seasoned pro. Finding the right therapy platform can be daunting. This top 10 list will help you narrow it down.
1. BetterHelp virtual therapy
Price: $40–$70 a week
BetterHelp matches you with an ideal therapist based on a questionnaire. Each therapist must have at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of experience. The app offers phone sessions, video sessions, texting, and live chats. You can switch therapists until you find the perfect fit.
Sign up for BetterHelp virtual therapy.
2. Talkspace virtual therapy
Price: $65–$99 a week
Talkspace offers a variety of plans to choose from. You can pick from video calls, texting, audio, or a combo of the three. You don’t need to stick to one session at a time either. You can text your therapist questions as you think of them. They’ll reply within a certain timeframe.
Sign up for Talkspace virtual therapy.
3. Bloom: CBT Therapy and Self-Care virtual therapy
Price: $59.99 a year
Bloom also features 100+ exercises based on CBT and a personal well-being tracker. Every therapy session has been designed and developed by a team of trained mental health professionals.
Sign up for Bloom virtual therapy.
4. Pride Counseling virtual therapy
Price: $60–$80 a week
Pride Counseling offers support to LGBTQ+ folks. It’s an amazing resource if you’re having a hard time with unsupportive family or friends, mental health issues, or identity. But it’s also great if you just want a safe space to talk.
Pride matches you with a counselor who fits your unique goals or needs. They offer messaging, live chat, phone calls, and video conferencing. 🏳️🌈
Sign up for Pride Counseling virtual therapy.
5. AmWell virtual therapy
Price: $85 per session
AmWell offers therapy and psychiatry for many disorders including:
- obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- eating disorders (e.g. binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia)
Psychologists, doctors, and counselors are available to speak via video call. They work in 45-minute sessions.
Sign up for AmWell virtual therapy.
6. ReGain virtual therapy
Price: $40–$70 a week
Sometimes a relationship needs some TLC. It’s totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. ReGain is a great option. They offer couples therapy at an affordable rate.
Each couple is given support from a licensed therapist who’s specialized in relationship counseling. You can talk to them with your partner or one-on-one.
Sign up for ReGain virtual therapy.
7. TeenCounseling virtual therapy
Price: $40–$70 a week
This app is for teens ages 13 to 19. It connects you to a licensed counselor. Texting is a popular option but you can also schedule audio or video calls. A parent or guardian is only notified if a risk is identified (e.g. self-harm).
Bonus: It’s available 24 hours a day. You can use it as much as you want.
Sign up for TeenCounseling virtual therapy.
8. LARKR virtual therapy
Price: $85 per session
LARKR is a tele-psychology app. They offer unlimited access to trained therapists through instant messaging. Every therapist is licensed and must meet a rigorous set of standards. That includes maintaining high client feedback ratings.
Con: It’s only available for iPhone.
Sign up for LARKR virtual therapy.
9. MDLive virtual therapy
Price: $69–$259 per appointment
This app offers appointments with board-certified physicians. It’s not just a mental health app — They offer a wide range of doctors for all sorts of ailments. That includes licensed therapists and psychiatrists.
You can schedule an appointment at a time and day that’s convenient for you. But you can also get an on-demand video call in around 15 minutes.
Sign up for MDLive virtual therapy.
10. Doctor on Demand virtual therapy
Price: $129–$179 per session
Doctor on Demand basically (sort of) works like face-to-face therapy. The only difference is that you have a video call instead of an in-office visit. You schedule an appointment in advance. They offer 25- or 50-minute seshes.
It’s also a good option if you need psychiatric medication as there are MD/psychiatrists who can prescribe.
Sign up for Doctor on Demand virtual therapy.
We did a lot of research to pick the top virtual therapy services. We favored services that have:
- fair prices
- good reviews
- user-friendly platforms
- flexible hours of operation
- security and confidentiality
- live sessions with therapists
We also picked a wide variety so there’s something for everyone.
Keep in mind: It could take some trial-and-error before you find the best service for you.
Worried about the web? You’re not alone. The internet can be a scary place, but virtual therapy services take great steps to make sure your info is secure.
Just make sure you stick to apps that use licensed therapists. We also recommend only using services that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Virtual therapy is a safe and effective way to give your mental health some lovin’. It offers the same results as face-to-face therapy, and you might like it even more! Don’t be afraid to give it a go because you can always switch to in-person appointments if online isn’t your thing.