If you are at the end of your rope with your partner and unsure what to do next (besides searching Google for “free relationship counseling near me”), you're not alone. Many of today's couples are running into roadblocks in their intimate relationships. One of them is understanding how to keep their relationship fire burning long-term.
In this article, we talk about this issue and others to answer the question of why today's couples are seeking a relationship coach and relationship counseling online.
We discuss free and paid mental health and relationship support services online and look at the differences in free relationship advice counseling hotlines and subscription-based therapy services that are now becoming the norm. Let's get started with an introduction to how mental health and relationship support services work online.
Why Today's Couples Are Seeking Counseling Online
The main reason why struggling couples today are seeking free therapy online and free relationship counseling over the phone is convenience. Gone are the days when you had to wait weeks or even months for a few sessions with an in-office licensed professional therapist or in person counselor. Today's busy couples can now arrange for online therapy sessions at the times that best suit their lifestyles.
Couples can schedule late-night or early morning sessions with their preferred therapist or opt for paid features like unlimited messaging therapy where they can contact their therapists 24-hours a day via an online app and SMS messaging.
Couples are seeking confidential therapy online for addressing and resolving challenges that typical couples face like communication issues, marriage and family, career, issues with infidelity, and finances. Another reason that today's couples prefer attending therapy online with a qualified mental health professional versus an in-office therapy appointment is anonymity.
In the past, couples often ended up having to "air their dirty laundry" in public when they decided to attend traditional therapy or marriage counseling. Today's couples have the advantage as their online therapy sessions are always conducted in a private and secure environment where clients can feel free to remain anonymous. Some platforms even offer free trials or free online marriage counseling services to those who qualify.
Individuals and couples are seeking alternatives to free marriage counseling provided by public health-based services that require a lengthy application process, a mental health disorder diagnosis, extended wait times for services, lack of privacy, and a lower standard of care due to volume. Online relationship therapy clients love the personalized one-on-one attention and emotional support that taking part in relationship counseling services online or affordable online therapy options provide.
During counseling, couples often discover that one partner (or the other) has an underlying mental health issue or mental health disorder that is having a damaging effect on the relationship. Attending couples therapy online makes for an easy transition to in person therapy sessions online for those struggling with mental illness or mental health challenges. The partner with the chronic mental illness or mental health disorders can get information for mental health care, medication management and a referral to support groups, free resources and informed professional advice from experienced licensed mental health professionals who are certified within your state of residence.
Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.
Online therapy and relationship counseling online are the gateway to a holistic therapy solution. This offers couples and individuals better outcomes and provides them with insight on their individual and combined well-being to improve their satisfaction levels in their relationships and the overall qualities of their lives.
Relationship Support Services Online – How They Work
When individuals participate in therapy online, they log in via laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. Some platforms offer easy access to counseling and therapy services through a downloadable app. Other online platforms require users to log directly into their sites. The common options for online relationship counseling services are audio, video, and messaging therapy. While most platforms do not offer completely free online therapy or free online marriage counseling, many do offer sliding scale therapy and financial aid.
SMS messaging therapy is the preferred and most common method of online therapy. Sessions with a qualified mental health professional, relationship advocate, online counselor, or licensed therapist are scheduled at the convenience of both the client(s) and the therapist. This is one of the best things about attending couples counseling or therapy online. You find your best match because your therapist can already identify with you.
For example, you may be surprised to find that your online therapist is a night-owl (just like you and your partner). This is a major plus when it comes to communication, providing professional help, creating a treatment plan, and understanding. The variety of available therapists, counselors, and relationship experts online is so wide that you're bound to find the best match for both you and your partner.
When couples attend online sessions together, they typically find a comfortable and private spot in their home where they can connect with their therapists via secure chat, video, mobile phone, or audio for the specified length of their session. Online coaching, premarital counseling, marriage therapy, counseling, paid, and free online therapy sessions typically last about the same amount of time as in-office therapy sessions (with added flexibility for scheduling).
Busy couples can plan and schedule sessions as long as an hour or for as little as 5-10 minutes in a quick refresher, reminder, or check-in. Online therapy options with a licensed therapist online are highly customizable. This is another reason why couples looking to build healthy relationships are choosing this method over higher-cost traditional therapy.
Did we mention the drive time or lack thereof? Busy couples can save hours out of their lives by choosing to attend therapy online instead of driving to traditional in-office therapy appointments without losing their standard of high-quality care.
Free Relationship Counseling Hotlines
There are hundreds of free marriage counseling and relationship counseling hotline services available online. Couples in crisis can find relationship experts, advocates, and counselors easily. Relationship counseling hotlines provide couples with advocacy, informed professional advice, and emotional support. The goal of the free relationship counseling hotline is to offer volunteer listeners available to help couples in crisis whenever those relationship issues or crisis happens to occur.
Couples can use free online therapy and relationship counseling hotline via phone, text, email, and video chat. Popular free online therapy and free relationship counseling services, like 7 Cups of Tea, allow users to remain anonymous while answering some of their most pressing relationship questions and obtaining mental health support from a neutral third party.
Affordable Relationship Counseling Options
Leading mental health counseling platforms like BetterHelp.com offer affordable paid counseling options with licensed and experienced therapists, counselors, and social workers. The services at BetterHelp.com allow couples to find emotional support and answer pertinent relationship issues under the advice and guidance of licensed and degreed mental health professionals.
All therapists and counselors who work on the BetterHelp.com platform are licensed and certified and possess post-secondary degrees. Their licensed therapists are considered experts in their field with over 2500 hours of clinical practice in their area of study.
Affordable relationship counseling services online with licensed professionals start at around $35.00 per week for sites like BetterHelp.com. Other popular online counseling platforms like Talkspace start a bit higher at an average around $65.00 per week.
In some cases, paid online counseling platforms like BetterHelp and Talkspace offer free introductory sessions or online coupons to make the cost of trying therapy for both individuals and married couples even more affordable.
Behavioral health and mental health concerns are now at the forefront of our society as we begin to understand the effects that early childhood trauma, eating disorders, abuse, and other traumatic events affect our overall well-being. Major health insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield are now including behavioral health benefits in their health insurance plans.
While not all online counselors and therapists can accept health insurance benefits as payment, many independent therapists and popular online therapy platforms like the ones mentioned above qualify for health insurance reimbursement with mental health-conscious health insurance providers like Blue Cross.
Free Vs. Subscription-Based Relationship Counseling
Free Relationship Counseling Online
When couples seeking counseling search for free relationship counseling services, free marriage counseling, or free online therapy with mental health professionals, what they often find is relationship coaching sites that provide limited free services for couples. Couples can log in to gain free access to group chats, online forums, web articles, and free relationship counseling over the phone.
Free relationship counseling services online provide couples with a basic introduction to the world of online coaching and professional therapy. Free services are a great way for couples to learn how to use online forums and relationship platforms and how to engage with relationship advocates and support specialists online.
Free services often have a limit to the amount of advocacy and support that they can provide. If couples find that free relationship counseling services are no longer meeting their needs as they grow and develop new coping mechanisms, the next likely step for couples to take is to move on to subscription-based or sliding-fee based online therapy services.
Subscription-Based Relationship Counseling Services
Subscription-based relationship counseling services take couples counseling one step further and provide couples with even more access to related resources and counseling professionals. Today’s subscription-based counseling services provide individuals, couples, and families with an equal opportunity to take part in licensed counseling and therapy services with degreed professionals, such as family therapists, licensed therapists, clinical social workers, and other mental health professionals.
Subscription-based relationship counseling services are an affordable way for clients to get therapy regardless of their income or personal circumstances. Online relationship therapists and counselors are licensed professionals who provide mental health services via audio and video that are called telehealth services.
Telehealth services are equivalent to in-office mental health and medical care. Clients are now able to login to attend online medical-related appointments for general checkups, urgent care, and behavioral health appointments.
If you’re curious about the effectiveness of counseling, a study has shown that it’s as effective as face-to-face therapy. In some cases, couples found online therapy more productive because they were able to focus on their issues more intently. They also experienced feeling less judged than they would have with traditional therapy. Overall, although there was a screen between them and the therapists, clients had a more positive experience with online therapy. This study also indicated that online therapy is also effective for treating mental illnesses, such as PTSD.
Now that you've read our guide, you should have a better idea of what your "free relationship counseling near me" search results will yield. We've talked about why today's couples are seeking relationship help through couples counseling online and how to understand the differences in free and paid therapy. Now that you have an idea of what a typical online therapy session looks like and what you and your partner learn about your family dynamics in paid or free online therapy you're more prepared to decide for yourself which option is best for your relationship.
Are you ready to give free relationship counseling online or fee online therapy a try? Or would you like to go the telehealth route and find a licensed mental health professional or counselor who can offer guidance and advice on how to develop new coping skills to facilitate better relationships to manage a mental health disorder?
The choice is yours to make. Remember that nothing changes — unless you do. If you're ready to unleash your full relationship potential by getting professional advice from a licensed counselor or therapist, contact a BetterHelp relationship expert today.
Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
My counselor is Doctor Nena Kircher. I want to say this in a way that you'll believe me, because as a dude, therapy sucked to get into. I want to give you the extra push to try this app. I've seen 4 other therapists before trying BetterHelp, none of which really took the time to understand what I was saying, they just wanted to jump in the middle. What I mean is, as an emotionally stunted person, I didn't have words to describe my inner life. None. It was like a separate language that I'd never even heard. They were trying to get me to open up to them when I didn't even know where the door was. Kircher was my second BetterHelp therapist, and I literally told my wife that if she didn't work than I wasn't going to do therapy at all. Kircher stayed simple for me, she gave me worksheets, and she was more interested in listening than solving. Which is exactly what I needed. I legitimately cannot day enough about this platform, and about my therapist specifically. Also, if you need to change therapists, do it.
Cameron has helped me navigate some incredibly challenging things within my relationship. With his help I’ve developed confidence to be a more assertive person. Therapy had helped me understand myself and my partner much better, in addition to implementing practices and taking action to improve a situation whereas I otherwise may feel stuck or hopeless. I really loved that he took the time to get to know me and my history before trying to “tell me what to do.” I feel like he really understands how my mind operates and therefore can give great, valuable advice, in addition to being a comforting sounding board.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there any free online therapy?
Although free online therapy is not readily come by, there are ways to find affordable therapy, or distance therapy that is initially free through trials ranging from 3 days to two weeks. Some free online therapy services may even offer advice, therapy, and a simple session once, to give you an idea of what to expect, and require you to put your payment information in after the first session.
Online therapy from a qualified mental health care professional may not be standard, but there are some internet-based counseling sites that will use trained volunteers who can help with small issues deserving of couples therapy or can provide guidance, without the expertise provided by people who have gone to school for counseling or distance therapy.
Is ReGain free?
Although ReGain is not a free counseling platform, it does provide some different pricing options for people in romantic relationships seeking online help from a mental health professional, including changes to pricing based on your income, and individual therapists may be willing or able to waive a fee until you determine that the two of you are a great fit for each other. ReGain is among the best online couples counseling sites currently in operation, in part because it does offer differences in price based upon the couples’ income.
Though ReGain may not be free, it can be a valuable service for self confidence, mental health and relationships. While going to therapy to save your relationship is fairly common, few people recognize how mental illness and physical health affects relationships and attending counseling can help improve how health affects relationships and improve personal and relationship health by help you and your partner learn important relationship skills, such as trust, intimacy, and effective communication.
How do you get free Counselling?
Free counseling sessions are not typically available from qualified mental health professionals like therapists, counselors, or psychologists, or to treat a mental health disorder, but some programs can exist in communities that provide advice, therapy, and other mental health services for free, initially, before charging a fee. Some communities offer general counseling sessions to county or city members through community centers or clinics. Schools and churches might also offer counseling services to students of church members. Although free counseling is not the norm, there are ways to find free relationship counseling, even if it is not perpetually free, and exists only as a small trial.
Is online marriage counseling effective?
While it may not be traditional, online marriage counseling has been evaluated in mental health care studies to determine its efficacy, and those studies determined that online marriage counseling with a sound treatment plan for relationship issues was no less effective than traditional in-person marriage counseling services. At first, online counseling can feel strange or awkward, but this is also true of marriage counseling services rendered in person. Learning to trust professional therapists is a process, and at first, divulging your thoughts and ideas to a stranger can feel uncomfortable or weird. Learning to navigate the therapist-patient online relationship is an important part of any therapy, and while it may seem strange, online therapy is just as effective as other forms of therapy, with the addition of convenience.
Online therapy is also far more inclusive than just using a video conferencing service; most online couples counseling platforms provide audio messaging, text and email, and video sessions, depending on a client’s individual needs. Online marriage counseling is effective because one of the primary goals of any couples counseling is to create open lines of communication in an intimate relationship, develop healthy coping skills, and learn how to be better partners.
What is the #1 cause of divorce?
Finances are considered the most common cause of divorce, though that can take on numerous forms and cause relationship problems in a number of ways. For some, financial disagreements stem from how to utilize money that comes into the home—whether it should immediately go into savings, whether spending money on a regular basis is allowed or appropriate, and more. For others, financial disagreements have more to do with control, wherein one party wants to be the authority over money in the relationship, and the other is expected to seek permission or help in money matters. For still others, financial matters involve how much money one or both parties bring into the relationship, and partners may feel resentful or angry toward one another where money is concerned.
Although money is the most common cause of divorce, not all couples who experience financial differences will end up getting divorced. Couple’s counseling and individual counseling can help alleviate relationship problems around money management and communication and can help avoid the end result of divorce. Should you want to save your relationship that is plagued by financial arguments, it is wise to reach out to professional counselors for help. These individuals are trained in conflict resolution and will know how trauma and mental health affects marriages and finances and can help improve communication and control issues in this area.
What are the signs of a broken relationship?
The paramount sign of a broken relationship is broken communication, which often results in a lack of trust, intimacy, and connection. Communication and trust are the foundations of any good, lasting relationship, and the lack of either signals the presence of relationship problems. Stonewalling, withholding, and manipulating are all hallmark signs of damaged or ineffective communication, while suspicion, fear, and the desire to control are all hallmark signs of a lack of trust in relationships.
Although a lack of trust and communication indicates a broken relationship, it does not indicate that a relationship is incapable of reconciliation. Therapy can help couples regain a sense of equanimity and strength in their relationship and can teach healthy roads to trust and effective communication.
There are some instances when you want to save your relationship, and couples counseling can assist. There are some situations in which a broken relationship is far more in need of reaching out to a domestic violence hotline. Although wanting to save your relationship is certainly noble and reasonable, if your partner shows any symptoms of being a toxic or abusive individual—or you find yourself exhibiting toxic or abusive behaviors, therapy is likely to be a better idea than saving the relationship.
How do you get the spark back in a broken relationship?
Getting the “spark” back in a relationship depends on the reason behind the break in the relationship. If communication issues are at the root of a broken relationship, starting to communicate with one another in a loving, caring, and considerate way can help reignite a spark. If neglect is the reason your spark has fizzled, dedicate specific time for one another, through a weekly date night, a dedicated morning routine of having coffee or tea together, or a steady stream of checking in with one another. Typically, reigniting a relationship spark requires you to identify why it is that the spark has died. Sex, communication, shared interests, and a devotion to the same cause can all be the reason for a spark and coming back to those initial connections or interests can help recapture the relationship’s initial spark.
What are the signs that you are not in love anymore?
Being in love and being in infatuation are two very different things, but they are often mistaken for one another. Someone who has fallen out of infatuation with someone, for instance, might find that they no longer think of their paramour at every moment of the day, or no longer wake up each morning, ecstatic to catch a glimpse of their name on their phone. Those are clear signs that you are no longer infatuated with someone. The signs that you are no longer in love with someone are often far less dramatic, and creep up over time. A gradual loss of interest in what the other person has to say, a gradual feeling of disdain or discomfort with the person, and a lingering feeling of things just not being “right” can all indicate that love is no longer in place.
Why do most relationships fail?
Relationships often fail as a simple result of neglect. Although relationships should not be extremely difficult, they do require consistency, care, and maintenance. Without these, relationships will falter at first, and then fail, as one or both parties beings to feel bereft and resentful. Some relationships fail because people are largely incompatible. Some relationships fail because two compatible people are not at the right time in their lives to maintain a relationship. It is important to note, though, that relationships that fail can be rectified, if both parties are interested in willing, and that even permanently failed relationships are opportunities for learning and growth.
What are the 5 stages of dating?
The five stages of dating include the following:
Why do men withdraw?
Withdrawing behavior is usually linked to one of three things: disinterest, fear of vulnerability, and fear of commitment. In the case of disinterest, a man may feel more comfortable simply withdrawing from the relationship and disappearing, rather than having to have an uncomfortable or unpleasant conversation. If fear of vulnerability is at play, withdrawing can act as a coping mechanism that allows him to feel as though he is not in danger of being too vulnerable or too open with a potential partner, and therefore not as easy to be rejected. If fear of commitment is involved, the aforementioned two components may merge, and the man in question might not want to cut off the relationship entirely (he likes the person he is involved with, or enjoys the relationship), but might not be ready to be in a serious relationship and wants to keep his options open.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is any relationship that is primarily characterized by guilt, control, obsession, and a lack of partnership. Toxic relationships are different from abusive relationships somewhat, in that toxic relationships may not as clearly have a delineation between the abuser and the abused; instead, toxic relationships might involve two parties who are unhealthy for and inappropriate toward one another. A toxic relationship can involve partners, friends, or family members. Toxic relationships are relationships that are in some way persistently unhealthy and emotionally unsafe. Mental health affects relationships substantially, and people who do not carefully attend to their mental health may find that they are more likely to enter into toxic relationships.
What are red flags in a relationship?
The most substantial instance of a red flag is abuse of any kind. Although it may seem straightforward to suggest that abuse is an enormous red flag, not all abuse presents itself early on or in a way that is immediately identifiable, and the meaning of abuse is far different today from what it might have been considered 40, 30, or even 10 years ago. Abuse is far from experiencing physical violence alone, though physical violence is no less traumatic and damaging than other forms of abuse. Instead, there are several recognized types of abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and psychological abuse.
Physical abuse is any type of abuse that culminates in physical violence. That can be hitting, kicking, burning, or harming in any other way, but can also be physical intimidation, such as refusing to let someone leave by blocking exits, holding someone down against their will, and physically forcing someone to engage in an action or activity they do not want to do or do not feel safe doing. Someone who throws their partner in a lake when that partner is terrified of water and cannot swim, for instance, could be identified as perpetrating physical abuse.
Sexual abuse is any type of abuse that forces sexual acts or behaviors without consent, or bullies, demeans, or otherwise harms someone in the midst of a sexual encounter. Sexual abuse can also be identified as any unwanted physical advances that are physical in nature. This type of behavior is most often identified as sexual assault, but sexual assault is effectively sexual abuse, and is a significant red flag in a relationship.
Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that harms you emotionally. Emotional neglect, manipulation (often through guilt), and withholding love and affection can all be identified as indicators of emotional abuse. Although emotional abuse is often described primarily between parents and children, romantic partners and friends can also be emotionally abusive.
Mental abuse is a type of harm that involves exercising control over someone else with or without a mental health disorder. Someone who is mentally abusive might demand to know where you are at all times, may insist that they “check up on you” by receiving access to your emails, texts, and other forms of communication, and may suggest that you begin to pull away from friends or family. In some cases, these signs are more covert, and a controlling partner may be cause going through your emails uninvited, showing up at places you are visiting without an invitation, or blocking communication between you and your loved ones.
Psychological abuse can be linked with mental abuse, but there are some important differences; namely, psychological abuse is a form of abuse that negatively impacts your mental health through manipulation. Gaslighting is one of the most common types of psychological abuse, and consistent manipulation via gaslighting can lead abused partners to question their sanity, and develop intense levels of anxiety, depression, and a mental health disorder, such as paranoia.
Although abuse is not the only symptom that a relationship is not likely to stand the test of time, the different types of abuse are usually the most significant and substantial red flags that can be identified in a new or existing relationship, and each of these signs warrants reaching out to trusted loved ones, and even the intervention of mental health professionals. A domestic abuse hotline can provide some next steps and offer advice, therapy recommendations, and next steps to anyone in a dangerous or abusive relationship and contacting your local domestic violence hotline can be a positive step away from your relationship and toward safety.
What an unhealthy relationship looks like?
Unhealthy relationships are most commonly characterized by unhealthy relationship dynamics involving control and manipulation. One or both parties do not necessarily recognize they are perpetuating these dynamics, as control and manipulation tactics are often learned from parents and other authority figures who exhibit those traits in their own relationships. Refusing to communicate or communicating primarily in heated arguments can be an example of an unhealthy relationship. One partner always being expected to compromise can also indicate the presence of an unhealthy relationship. Unhealthy relationship dynamics are often perpetuated by long-held ideals and examples and learning how to recognize them can be a lengthy process. In essence, though, any relationship that involves feeling a lack or loss of physical, emotional, or mental safety is an unhealthy relationship, as is a relationship with uneven power or control dynamics.
The effects of mental health care cannot be understated, and unhealthy relationships often create something of a landslide in terms of ill effects and other mental health disorder or mental illness issues. If you want to save your relationship, whatever relationship it may be, getting professional help in the form of counseling can be enormously helpful; couples counseling, individual counseling, family counseling, and group counseling can all help improve communication and healthy habits and can significantly diminish the negative effects of unhealthy relationship dynamics. Professional counselors can be utilized in all of these respects to improve mental health issues, and there are numerous options, including online therapy, remote therapy with an existing licensed professional counselor, or in-person therapy.
Why do I fight a lot with my girlfriend?
Fighting can be attributed to many things, including very different perspectives on life, different belief systems, feelings of safety or instability, and the desire to control one’s partner. Fighting with your girlfriend can indicate that you are feeling slighted or neglected. It can also indicate that you do not actually like your girlfriend, and you are arguing in an attempt to change her thought processes or behaviors. Fighting with your girlfriend can indicate a host of things, some of them largely on your shoulders, and a few of them on your girlfriend’s. To determine what is at the root of your constant arguments, ask yourself a few questions:
Answering these questions can provide insight into why you are arguing, and whether those arguments are primarily due to differing viewpoints, feeling like you are not adequately seen or heard, or feeling as though arguing is the only way the two of you are able to connect or exhibit passion. If you fight a lot with your girlfriend, but you want to save your relationship, you can consider therapy with your girlfriend and a licensed therapist in order to improve trust, intimacy, and communication, and minimize fighting. A licensed professional counselor can offer relationship advice, professional help, therapy techniques to improve relationships patterns, and more, and save your relationship from itself.